Helping elite athletes improve performance

La Trobe’s reputation in sport is world-renowned, with our sports programs ranked in the world’s top 501 and our research into human movement and sports science rated ‘well above world standard2’.

La Trobe University and The Australian Ballet have come together in an exciting research partnership to improve ballet training, injury rehabilitation, and wellbeing and development programs. The research aims to reduce injury rates and successfully rehabilitate injured dancers, with research findings that can make a real impact in elite sports and the general population.

Powering elite athletes through innovative partnerships

When we think of elite athletes, we often think of footy, tennis or basketball players. It’s not often that ballet dancers come to mind. However, ballet is physically demanding, combining flexibility and strength to power movements that achieve diversity in movement and aesthetic quality in their performances.

While ballet is technically an art form not a sport, The Australian Ballet dancers are high-performance athletes. They repeatedly put their bodies under great stress, which means their musculoskeletal tissues are vulnerable to overload and injury.

The collaboration between The Australian Ballet and La Trobe seeks to explore dancer health and wellbeing, with collaborative studies including posterior angle impingement, foot pain, hip muscles and movement, cognitive fatigue, and wellbeing monitoring and mindfulness.

The partnership brings together the best of two worlds: La Trobe University’s sports and exercise medicine researchers with The Australian Ballet’s internationally respected injury prevention and rehabilitation team to optimise dancer performance and health.

‘Compared to the rest of the world, The Australian Ballet has an extraordinarily low rate of injury, resulting in no hip surgeries in the company for a decade’ says Professor Jill Cook, La Trobe’s international musculoskeletal health expert.

‘By combining our expertise in sports medicine treatments with La Trobe’s excellence in research, we aim to further shape the way our country’s dancers are conditioned to perform and recover.’

The Australian Ballet’s Executive Director Libby Christie said the evidence-based practices developed under the partnership will improve the technique and endurance of dancers.

‘We are [embarking] on an exciting collaboration which will optimise dancer performance and recovery, and help us gain new insights into the prevention of dance related-injuries.’

‘Together we will become leaders in the science of dance fitness, and share the outcomes of the research for the benefit of the dance community, and even sporting communities worldwide.’

Sport industry partnerships that deliver

Through deep and rewarding industry connections, La Trobe collaborates on a wide range of sports-related research.

La Trobe’s industry partners such as The Australian Ballet, Carlton Football Club, Melbourne City FC and Melbourne Rebels can benefit from La Trobe’s impressive Sports Park project, which boasts the La Trobe Sports Stadium, football pitch, AFL oval and pavilion.

The Sports Park is a key part of La Trobe’s $5 billion dollar investment into transforming the Melbourne Campus in Bundoora into a University City of the Future.

Industry partners can also take advantage of La Trobe’s highly skilled students and recent graduates, with La Trobe offering the most sport-related courses in Australia.

Our connections with industry and emphasis on real-world learning means that our industry partners can benefit from a pool of passionate student talent, such as The Australian Ballet’s Principal Artist Benedicte Bemet, who is featured in our latest advertisement campaign.

Bene is a Bachelor of Psychological Science student and part of La Trobe University’s Elite Athlete Program, which supports elite athletes like Bene to balance their academic and sporting commitments through study flexibility and entry pathways, access to fitness programs and facilities, and dedicated scholarships and grants.

What kind of impact could you make knowing you’re backed by a globally recognised university for sports? Get started by studying sport at La Trobe.


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