INTERVIEW: Zoe Wozniak on Co3’s week at WAIS

Last week we embarked on a new partnership with the West Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Service Centre (WAIS). Under our Artistic Director, Raewyn Hill, Co3 has been able to work with athletes and trainers to implement innovative and varied approaches to training and improving elite performance outcomes.

Alongside regular dance rehearsals, Co3 opened up their daily yoga classes to WAIS as well as movement sessions for athletes. Over the course of the week the dancers observed some of WA’s best athlete’s in training, making use of the extraordinary facilities and expert staff.

Co3 dancer, Zoe Wozniak, gives us an insight into what they got up to at WAIS and how dancers and elite athletes are not so different.


Who did you work with at WAIS?

We had a huge week working with different athletes and observing their training.  We had lessons in the pool with the synchronised swimming team and a session with the swimming coach.  We had time in the pool with the diving coach and were able to observe the divers practicing.  We also took the gymnasts through a short ballet class and then they took us through their circuit training.  We were very busy indeed!  There were always athletes working out in the gym near us and the pole-vaulters and javelin throwers would train in the day as well.  It was awesome to be able to watch the athletes train and even more so to get the opportunity to get in the pools or on the floor with them and their trainers!


Did many athletes take part in the open yoga classes?

Yes!  Each morning when we started the day with our warm up yoga class, both athletes and WAIS coaches joined us.  It was really nice to have them share that time with us and join in on a practice that is very important to Co3 and the way we work.


What was their reaction to having a dance company at the facility?

I think everyone was very interested and curious about what we were doing there.  Our tarkett was set up in the main area of the basketball court so we really had a sense of being immersed in the facility with lots of training happening around us.  From having conversations with the athletes and coaches who took class with us or who we spoke to in the building, they asked lots of questions about who we were and what we were doing, so in this sense it was really exciting to be able to share with them what Co3 is and the reasons for our partnership with WAIS.  They were extremely supportive and we felt very welcome in their space.


How do you think dance and sport overlap?

Dance and sport both take commitment, passion, resilience and discipline.  I believe that they both take a lot of time and practice and it’s something in which we find our joy, challenges and incredible rewards.


Why is it important for Co3 to go to WAIS and train like athletes?

It was quite an incredible week for all of us and it marked the start of a special partnership and conversation with WAIS.  For myself personally it was amazing and important for Co3 to be in the WAIS environment surrounded by people who train at the highest level, it was really inspiring actually.

It made sense for us to be there and as Co3 has such a strong passion to change the conversation around the dancer who is both an artist and an athlete, so WAIS is the perfect environment to cultivate this relationship.

Both Co3 and WAIS have something to offer and share with each other.  It is not only about the training, but also a huge part of the conversation is about recovery.  WAIS has a recovery centre, which was a major part of our time there at the end of each day, dedicating time to use the recovery pools.  As dancers we do not have these facilities at our fingertips in our studios, so it was such a treat to use these and our bodies felt the benefits.


Images by Emma Fishwick.