Year of Graduation
Identity Crisis of Creative Workers: Occupation Changes and Emotional Adaptation (on the Example of Former Ballet Dancers)
Faculty of Sociology
The given Master's thesis is aimed at studying the emotional adaptation of ballet dancers to an identity crisis caused by their early retirement or switching to a fundamentally new type of professional activity. The following research methods are chosen – series of semi- structured depth biographical interviews with retired ballet dancers well-known within their professional field in Russia, and a content-analysis of media sources related to the research question. It is proven that 1) the identity of the professional ballet dancer is established at an early age by virtue of a number of reasons, such as (a) early socialization of the individual in the profession through the membership and intense integration in professional communities, and (b) the absorption of the private sphere by the public one; 2) the ballet dancers start the emotional adaptation to the crisis of their professional identity long before its active phase – and mainly because of (a) an early awareness of both the capacities and limitations of their bodies, (b) the “subjectification” of age boundaries, (c) the development of emotional maturity by overcoming pain, (d) positive individual deviation carried out in parallel with the main professional activity through the rationally chosen socialization in the non-ballet spheres, like getting a new specialty, creating a family, etc. The paper concludes the societal necessity of creating a complex system of adaptation and re-integration of ballet dancers when they are still in profession – i.e. long before they start suffering from an identity crisis, rooted in early retirement or inevitable leaving the profession because of injury or other circumstances.