A clever partnership

Innovative and exciting research insights are emerging from an exclusive partnership between La Trobe University’s world-leading sport and exercise scientists and The Australian Ballet’s internationally respected injury prevention and rehabilitation team.

Professional ballet is one of the most physically demanding art forms, but research on injury prevention techniques and rehabilitation programs is limited. This partnership’s research program will investigate the athletic capacity of leading ballet dancers, with the aim of optimising dancer performance and health, and informing injury prevention and rehabilitation programs throughout the community.

The partnership gives La Trobe students exclusive access to research projects involving the 77 elite dancers of The Australian Ballet. La Trobe’s partnership provides a real career advantage and valuable industry insights for those wanting to develop a career in ballet, performing arts or sport.

‘This new partnership is a reflection of the two organisations’ shared values of excellence, community inclusion and global leadership. It aligns the expertise of Australia’s national ballet company with La Trobe’s world-class research and our commitment to sport, exercise and rehabilitation. Students at La Trobe will now have exclusive access to working with The Australian Ballet’s sports medicine research programs, providing industry experiences that are second to none.’

Professor John Dewar, La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor

Why La Trobe?

Excellence in health and sports research

  • La Trobe is ranked one of Australia’s top universities for research in Physiology and Victoria’s best University for Other Medical and Health Sciences research.*
  • La Trobe’s Human Movement and Sports Science research team has been ranked ‘well above world standard’ in four successive Excellence in Research Australia surveys undertaken in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2018.
  • La Trobe’s academics are leaders in the field, ranked ‘well above world standard’ in 23 fields of study including Physiology, Nutrition and Dietetics, Human Movement and Sport Science, and Psychology.*
  • Leading the ballet research programs is La Trobe’s Professor Jill Cook, an internationally regarded expert in musculoskeletal health with close to 330 published articles, and presentations to Olympic and FIFA conferences in 2017.
  • *Australian Research Council, 2019, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Outcomes 2018

World-leading research expertise

  • La Trobe’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) research expertise extends beyond the physical health and wellness of athletes and the community. The centre examines the broader social and economic impact of sports participation, events and organisations through real world research and engagement with industry and government.
  • Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation is one of La Trobe’s five Research Focus Areas (RFAs). This RFA builds on existing research strengths in Human Movement and Sport Science. Made up of over 100 researchers, the team includes leading experts in exercise physiology, physiotherapy, sports medicine, nutrition and sport management.
  • The Gait Laboratory is a state-of-the-art research facility within La Trobe’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre. The laboratory facilitates research into the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, and causes, prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disease. This is the largest lab of its type in the southern hemisphere, and features a motion analysis system comprised of ten high-speed cameras that collect detailed precision information about physical movement.

Why The Australian Ballet?

Experts in preparing elite athletes for the stage

  • The Australian Ballet is one of the busiest dance companies in the world, with demanding national and international touring schedules requiring dancers to maintain peak performance year-round while mastering and performing the rigours of a diverse repertoire.
  • The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Health Team includes physiotherapists, myotherapists, a strength and conditioning coach, a dancer welfare and development coordinator, psychologists, sports and exercise physicians and general practitioners. They provide essential support to keep performers strong and healthy and are recognised as world leaders in injury prevention and management.
  • The company has an extraordinarily low rate of injury and highly sought-after expertise by Olympians, elite athletes and other international ballet companies.

Experts in dancer health

  • Director of Artistic Health and Principal Physiotherapist, Dr Sue Mayes AM, has more than 25 years’ experience treating elite dancers from around the world. She completed her PhD entitled Hip Joint Health in Professional Ballet Dancers with La Trobe in 2017 and is now an Adjunct Research Fellow of La Trobe University. She was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018.