Student assignment on stage at Queensland Ballet

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Student assignment on stage at Queensland Ballet


Published on 1 February 2012

An assignment by a University of the Sunshine Coast student is being used by one of Australia’s leading dance companies to help reduce the risk of injury for its dancers.

Queensland Ballet’s Development Team is using the work of USC Bachelor of Health Promotion student Pamela Marsden to apply for grants for its Dancer Wellness Program.

For her assignment, Mrs Marsden, 64, of Maleny, examined ways to reduce the high incidence of dancer injury which is a major financial burden on performing arts companies.

“My daughter is involved with Queensland Ballet and I thought that a ballet company would provide an interesting setting for my assignment,” Mrs Marsden said.

“When I was doing my research I discovered that ballet companies often have an 85 percent injury rate, which means that 22 out of 27 dancers in the Queensland Ballet could face the possibility of being injured each year.

“This could reflect in a very high workers compensation bill.”

Queensland Ballet CEO Anna Marsden said her mother’s assignment had impressed the Company’s Development Team.

“The assignment was sent to me for information and I forwarded it to our Development Team who then used it as a base for funding applications,” she said.

“The funding will support Queensland Ballet’s Dancer Wellness program which provides tailored wellness programs for each dancer to assist them to reach their potential without compromising their health.”

USC public health lecturer Dr Jackie Holt said Mrs Marsden was really enjoying her study having overcome her initial fears that she may be, in her words, “better suited to staying home and baking cookies”.

"However the practicality of the program plus the ability to see how this work can make a real difference has boosted her confidence," she said.

"You really are never too old to learn and make an impact in the community".

Mrs Marsden’s decision to begin studying at USC in 2009 was prompted by a feeling of having missed out on attending university when she was younger.

“I love studying at USC,” she said.

“At this stage of my life I am really not looking to make a career out of it but the course offers a lot of flexibility so I have been able to study other subjects of interest, like history, for my electives.

“I also find studying part-time gives me the time and flexibility to enjoy other aspects of my life.”

— Michelle Widdicombe

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