Watch our journey
The La Trobe University and The Australian Ballet partnership draws on the strengths of both organisations. Each recognises the exciting potential to create a world-leading centre of excellence and generate new and recognised knowledge, skills, and rehabilitation and training programs. This mutually beneficial partnership will offer innovative new research insights and provide La Trobe students with exclusive access to industry experience.
How it all began
La Trobe and The Australian Ballet have informally collaborated on research since 2015, with the official partnership announced in March 2017. The unique collaboration capitalises on La Trobe’s research strengths and The Australian Ballet’s world-renowned injury prevention and rehabilitation teams.
The partnership evolved through a collaboration between La Trobe’s professor in musculoskeletal health, Professor Jill Cook, and The Australian Ballet’s Director of Artistic Health and Principal Physiotherapist and Adjunct Research Fellow, Dr Sue Mayes AM. Both are leading international experts in their respective fields. The research partnership now forms part of La Trobe’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM).
Opportunities for La Trobe students
As the Exclusive Research and Learning Partner for The Australian Ballet, the partnership will offer La Trobe students unique opportunities to gain experience with The Australian Ballet. These opportunities will encompass both working with the ballet’s elite athletes and experiencing the ‘behind the stage’ business world of creating spectacular performances.
Research growth and development
Since our partnership began in 2017, we’ve expanded our number of research projects, broadened our focus and increased the diversity of our research collaborators.
Four research projects were launched in 2017, primarily driven by Professor Jill Cook and Dr Sue Mayes. The four projects aimed to investigate key concepts linked to musculoskeletal health in dancers.
Now, three postgraduate students are conducting research as part of the partnership and a dedicated Partnership Research Fellow has been appointed. We’ve developed strong, external research collaborations with elite sporting clubs and various La Trobe departments, and our research focus has broadened to incorporate dancer wellbeing.
Our early research outcomes
Hip Joint Heath in Professional Ballet Dancers
Supported by La Trobe’s Professor Jill Cook, Sue Mayes AM completed her PhD, Hip Joint Heath in Professional Ballet Dancers, in early 2017 and completed a follow-up study in 2019. To date, 11 papers have been published in high-quality sports medicine and radiology journals.
Sue’s original findings have been presented worldwide to educate dancers, ballet teachers and health professionals who care for injured dancers and athletes. The research findings and The Australian Ballet’s approach to hip injury prevention were presented at conferences such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport, in Monaco, France; International Dance Medicine and Science Conferences; a Swiss Sportsphysio conference; and an ASICS Sports Medicine Australia Conference.
*Photos by Ren Pidgeon
Watch the motion capture animation below: