John Paul College’s elite athletes take to the barre

John Paul College’s elite athletes take to the barre

They run, swim, jump and throw, but now John Paul College’s elite athletes will be taking to the barre as part of a new unique training program with Queensland Ballet.

The six-week program called FleX will see up to 22 of JPC’s high performance athletes between the ages of 13-17 take part in hybrid ballet classes.

The first of its kind, both JPC and Queensland Ballet are confident the ballet-focused program will complement and enhance the sporting disciplines of the participants, including cricket, rugby, cheer and swimming.

It’s no secret ballet dancers have refined strength and endurance, with the artform requiring dancers to be in peak physical condition all year round.

Queensland Ballet Education Teaching Artists will lead the students through a combination of foundational ballet steps and strength building fitness exercises, certain to challenge and inspire students.

Queensland Ballet Academy and Company Physiotherapist, Louise Drysdale, assisted in the development of the course and says she hopes we will find the athletes benefit from the program.

"The program will focus on using traditional ballet training to develop the student’s flexibility, coordination, strength, endurance and power through participation in ballet," said Ms Drysdale.

"It will be interesting to look at the student measures at the end of the FleX program and analyse them to see whether there have been any physical changes and whether they consider ballet as a type of cross-training they enjoy."

"The nature of this project is quite exploratory. What we aim to do is start to look at things like enjoyment, attendance, and making sure there are no declines in performance," she added.

Mr Mark Zietsch, Deputy Principal – Operations JPC, is excited to have collaborated with Queensland Ballet. 

"It is wonderful to have teachers from Queensland Ballet working with our high performance athletes (HPA). The physicality of ballet and the elite habit environment of QB compliments what we are trying to instil in our athletes to become the best they can be. Our HPA students have enjoyed the challenge of FleX classes so far with many finding new muscles they didn’t know they had!" said Mr Zietsch.

Queensland Ballet Head of Strategic Engagement, Genevieve Dunn says the pilot program is the first of its kind for Queensland Ballet.

"We are excited to deliver this program in collaboration with John Paul College and already we have seen positive outcomes from the athletes," said Ms Dunn.

"The students have been so committed every week to learn new skills, ballet technique and sequences, pushing many beyond their comfort zone.

"They are displaying true elite mindset through their commitment, supporting each other to take on the challenge with a positive attitude," she added.

Year Nine student, Liam Vickers, is really enjoying the program so far. 

"The program is going well. It is a fun and different way to improve a variety of fitness aspects. After this program is completed, I would like to have improved varies fitness components that ballet targets such as, calf strength, balance and flexibility," said Liam.

Queensland Ballet and JPC await the outcomes of the program and are excited to see what trends and patterns shine through.