Physical domain of potential – Zahra

Learn how Zahra’s talent is developed across the physical and creative domains in a rural setting.

Covered in this illustration of practice are the key actions:

Watch Physical domain of potential – Zahra's story (05:40) exploring how to create opportunities for talent development in a rural setting.

Learn how to create opportunities for talent development in a rural setting.

[Intro music plays]

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Zahra’s story – talent development across domains in a rural setting

High potential and gifted education


Hi, my name is Zahra. I'm 11 years old and I live in Broken Hill.


Zahra became interested in dance when she was like one year old. She, when she learnt to walk when she was 9 months. Well, she ran, well she danced, I think! More like danced. Yeah. I remember her dancing through when she saw birds. She used to dance around them. Zahra's faced a lot of obstacles. Living in Broken Hill with dance. Remoteness is probably one of the biggest ones. Like we're six hours from Adelaide, three hours from Mildura. I think we're about 13 hours from Sydney. It's yeah, remoteness is one of the biggest thing for us.


One of the hardest things for me during my dance career is probably not having a dance school in Broken Hill as after COVID, the dance, the old dance school that used to be there is not there anymore. So, I do all my classes on zoom, I learn all my solos, even group pieces on zoom, and it's hard to not have that face-to-face connection with your dance teachers and friends.


Sorry about your toe. Beautiful feet. Good. Go, go. Hit. 1, 2, 3 and grab.


I practice in my shed as dad has allowed me. He did allow me to use half of the shed, but now I've kind of crept my way forward and almost taken the whole thing. But we just got some lino. We put that over concrete floor, so I don't have a sprung floor, but it's enough just for me because my mum and dad are already paying a lot of money for dances. So, it's really good that I do have that space at home. Then mum realised that I was really passionate about dance. She started to get me on zoom with all these teachers from all over Australia and the world.


Even though we are so remote, it's sort of like we're not as well. It's like because she still gets these amazing opportunities even though it's through a screen, but they are still working for her and it's definitely showing through what she's doing at the moment. The school has helped Zahra reach a potential in dance by just being so supportive. There's been one teacher in particular that has just been like, amazing with her.


One of my teachers from school, she runs like this SRC thing, and she was telling mum, oh, you should audition her for School Spectacular. She would be amazing at it. And then just from there, it kind of all pieced together.

Joanne King

I'm one of the dance directors for School Spectacular, and as a dance performance officer, we offer a range of opportunities for students like Zahra to engage in our programmes. So, Zahra will be a part of the combined dance category for School Spectacular with a with a feature role to play in within that. We have students from across New South Wales in our regional segment, and also this year for the first time, we have a regional and metro segment combining. The Arts unit has many components or facets to it, which offer opportunities to students across public schools. In the dance team, we offer a range of face to face and online opportunities for students across New South Wales. Obviously, students have more access to online if they're from a rural and remote area, but we do travel staff out to those areas to offer workshops and opportunities to enhance their chance to grow in the world of dance.


The Arts Unit has just been amazing. It just opened up like, all these opportunities for Zahra. She had no idea that these things even existed in the Department of Education.


Zahra is clearly passionate. She's a student who really knows where she wants to go and what she wants to achieve. I think she's got a lot of support from her family, which certainly helps to foster that. But internally, she's very driven. She's got a natural talent for dance. She's very skilled. Naturally she's quite flexible, but her emotive state and her passion to strive and achieve and grow is just innate in her. It's beautiful.


The Arts Unit have also gave me an amazing opportunity, as I am currently dancing at the Sydney Dance Company because I'm lucky enough being able to be selected in the New South Wales Junior Dance Ensemble and I'm very grateful for that. And I just think this is a step into what I want to do in my life when I get older, so I'm very passionate that I get to do this.


Zahra being involved in the Arts Unit, Dance Ensemble and being around other like-minded people like her, her tribe, as she calls them, has just been a dream come true. She's looking forward to what the future holds.

[Outro music plays]

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Find the high potential

Develop the talent

Make the difference

NSW Government

© State of New South Wales (Department of Education), 2023

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Professional learning questions for school leaders

  • Zahra demonstrated characteristics of potential in the physical domain at a young age. What processes are in place to actively find high potential in the physical domain in your context? How do you find high potential for younger students?
  • Zahra’s school was aware of opportunities offered through the department such as the Arts Unit. What procedures are in place to inform teachers and the community about departmental and other talent development opportunities?
  • What procedures, programs and practices are currently in place to support talent development for high potential and gifted students (HPGS) in the physical domain in your context? What opportunities are there to (Remove: Is there anything you could ) implement or further develop procedures and practices in your context?
  • Zahra completed primary schooling shortly after the making of this film. What processes does your school have in place to facilitate successful transition for students with their talent development progress in mind?
  • Teachers might believe that if they are not a sport or PDHPE teacher, they are not responsible for the physical domain of potential. As a school leader, what would you say in response considering:
    • the physical domain refers to natural abilities in muscular movement and motor control in any subject area.
    • the HPGE Policy refers to all 4 domains of potential for every student, in every school.
  • The physical domain discussion paper has practical strategies for finding high potential and developing talent in the physical domain. How might you use this resource with your staff?

Professional learning questions for teachers

  • Zahra demonstrated high potential in the physical domain at one year old! How do you identify potential in the physical domain in your students?
  • Zahra completed her primary schooling shortly after the making of this film. If you were her teacher, what information and with whom would you share to facilitate a successful transition into high school?
  • How crucial is support from others during talent development in the physical domain? What makes you say that?
  • How did Zahra's school assist with overcoming barriers to talent development? How might you recognise barriers to talent development and support students?
  • Zahra was nominated for the School Spectacular program by a teacher. What opportunities beyond school has your school nominated students for in the physical domain? Where could you find out about opportunities? The physical domain discussion paper contains further information about this on p23.
  • The physical domain discussion paper has practical strategies for finding high potential and developing talent in the physical domain. How might you use this resource in your classroom?


  • Teaching and learning


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  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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