Academy Visit The Royal Ballet

Academy Visit The Royal Ballet

  • Wigan Warriors Under-19s train at The Royal Ballet School

  • Warriors have recently started training with local community project Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes

  • Players invited down to spend the day at The Royal Ballet School

The Wigan Warriors Academy team spent time at The Royal Ballet School, London this week as they swapped the rugby field for the dance studio.

The Warriors Academy team that features Under-19s players at the Club, some of whom have already played for the Wigan First Team, has recently collaborated with Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes, a ballet community project for boys founded by Alan Gregory and Donna Harrison that helps young men find a route into ballet.

Players have a weekly training session with Alan and Donna aimed at improving posture and balance whilst also preventing injuries.

Following the success of the partnership both the Wigan Academy team and Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes were invited down to The Royal Ballet School, London to observe a lesson before taking part in one themselves led by Artistic Teacher and Programme Manager, Jay Jolley.

Wigan Warriors Head of Youth Performance, Matty Peet, said:

“We’re always open to new ideas at the Wigan Club. The first team visited several different sporting environments during pre-season and this is an extension of that.

“We like to think outside the box and the coaching staff were keen to add something different to the players’ training programme to supplement the strength and conditioning that they already do on the running track in the gym. We were looking for an activity that challenged our players to move differently and in doing so also improved their balance and co-ordination which should transfer to their rugby.

The players watched on as students at The Royal Ballet School were put through their paces

“We were then approached by Alan and Donna from Pies, Pianos and Pirouettes during the close-season who highlighted the techniques that ballet dancers use in training and the positive effect it can have. Not only does it challenge the players to move differently and improve their balance and co-ordinations it also strengthens key muscle groups around the ankle and knee, which we hope will protect the lads from injury.

“The players have taken really well to it. They appreciate the strength that it takes to perform ballet and have been really enthusiastic and we believe it’s helped improve their fitness too.”

The players then took part in a session themselves led by Artistic Teacher and Programme Manager, Jay Jolley

Christopher Powney, Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet School, said:

“It has been a pleasure to introduce the Wigan Warriors to our ballet training here at The Royal Ballet School and we hope they enjoyed their visit. There is great mutual benefit for these young people in the seemingly different disciplines of the arts and sports to find commonality, share knowledge and expertise in training approaches and learn from each other.”

Alan Gregory, co-founder of Pies, Pianos and Pirouettes, said:

“It’s been great working with the Academy boys at Wigan Warriors, and we are looking forward to expanding soon to other clubs. We are also introducing a brand new syllabus for use in schools, combining the best of ballet and sports training. We look forward to welcoming sports science trainees, to our Monday Sessions soon, from Wigan and Leigh College after discussions last week, and we of course must thank The Deal, Wigan Council’s innovative funding scheme, for backing us in the first place.”

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