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Dr Luke Hopper

Senior Lecturer

Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 8234
Campus: Mount Lawley  
Room: ML14.112  

Luke is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow and coordinates the ECU Motion Capture Studio at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.


Dr Hopper’s research is centered around the scientific and creative analyses of human movement. Luke’s work in the ECU Motion Capture studio originated by applying advanced biomechanical methods to injury prevention in dance and has expanded to incorporate animation and creative motion capture performance leveraging modern 3D game engines. Luke’s postgraduate research pioneered 3D motion capture methods for the biomechanical analyses of dance. This applied research has continuously involved collaboration with industry partners including Harlequin Dance Floors and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Luke is a 2019 Churchill Fellow and has an international professional network spanning the arts and sciences.

The multi-disciplinary nature of Luke’s work has engaged with health, engineering and the creative arts. A founder of the Simulation and Immersive Digital Technology Group at ECU, Luke has extensive experience working with industry partners and across multiple academic domains. This work addresses real world problems based upon existing academic knowledge and the subsequent translation of high-quality research into new evidence.

Professional associations

  • Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare; Executive Committee (2014-2020), President (2016-2019), Vice President (2019-2020)
  • International Association for Dance Medicine and Science; Student Committee (2007-2009), Promotion Committee Chair (2012-2016), Board of Directors (2015-2017)

Awards and recognition

National and International awards

  • 2018 - Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow

University and National Teaching awards

  • 2019 - Vice Chancellor’s Staff Award, Inspiring Teams; Edith Cowan University
  • 2016 - Vice Chancellor’s Staff Award, Rational Inquiry; Edith Cowan University
  • 2013 - Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence; University of Notre Dame Australia
  • 2011 - Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence; University of Notre Dame Australia

National and International Research awards

  • 2022 - Research and Innovation Project of the Year; WA Incite Awards
  • 2020, 22, 23 - National Field Leader; Drama and Theatre Arts. The Australian, Research Special Report
  • 2019 - Highest Skills Transformation of Large Teams; iAwards, Australian Computer Society
  • 2019 - Most Transformative Impact on Education; Incite Awards
  • 2009 - International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Student Research Award
  • 2007 - International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Student Research Award

Research areas and interests

Luke’s current research focus involves the exploration of creative technologies for use in the digital evolution of live performance. He is also involved in several collaborative projects spanning arts health, digital simulation training for health professionals and generative AI driven interactive avatars.

Academic disciplinary expertise includes:

  • 3D motion capture
  • biomechanics
  • animation
  • motor control
  • arts health


  • Graduate Certificate in University Teaching, University of Notre Dame Australia, 2013.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia, 2011.
  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours Human Movement, The University of Western Australia, 2008.

Research Outputs

Journal Articles

Journal Articles

  • Hill, M., Flanagan, B., Mills, B., Hansen, S., Hopper, L. (2023). Paramedic training, experience, and confidence with out-of-hospital childbirth (OOHB) in Australia. Australasian Emergency Care, 26(2), 119-125.
  • Nicholas, J., Mills, B., Hansen, S., Bright, S., Scott, J., Ridout, I., Watson, J., Boyd, H., Brook, L., Hopper, L. (2023). Sideffect GamePlan: Development of an alcohol and other drug serious game for high school students using a systematic and iterative user-centred game development framework. Computers in Human Behavior, 145(Article in press), Article number 107774.
  • Attwell , C., McKay, A., Sim, M., Dugan , C., Nicholas, J., Hopper, L., Peeling, P. (2023). Timing is everything, but does it really matter? Impact of 8-weeks morning versus evening iron supplementation in ballet and contemporary dancers. European Journal of Sport Science, 2023(Article in press), 8 pages.

Journal Articles

  • Blevins, P., Moyle, G., Erskine, S., Hopper, L. (2022). Mindfulness, recovery-stress balance, and well-being among university dance students. Research in Dance Education, 23(1), 142-155.
  • Hendry, D., Campbell, A., Smith, A., Hopper, L., Straker, L., O’sullivan, P. (2022). Movement quantity and quality: How do they relate to pain and disability in dancers?. PLoS One, 17(44686), article number e0268444.
  • Hill, M., Miles, A., Flanagan, B., Mills, B., Hopper, L. (2022). Out-of-hospital births and the experiences of emergency ambulance clinicians and birthing parents: a scoping review protocol. BMJ Open, 12(5), article number e062313.
  • Attwell, C., Dugan, C., McKay, AK., Nicholas, J., Hopper, L., Peeling, P. (2022). Dietary Iron and the Elite Dancer. Nutrients, 14(9), article number 1936.
  • Nicholas, J., Mills, B., Hansen, S., Bright, S., Boyd, H., Brook, L., Watson, J., Hopper, L. (2022). Developing an alcohol and other drug serious game for adolescents: Considerations for improving student engagement. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 46(5), 682-688.

Creative Arts Research Outputs

  • Hopper, L., Nicholas, J., Watson, J., Brook, L., Hansen, S., Scott, J., Bright, S., Mills, B. (2022). Sideffect Gameplan: A gamified, branching narrative experience for alcohol and other drug education. [Online gamified branching narrative]. ECU Simulation and Immersive Digital Technology Group, Sideffect Australia.

Journal Articles

  • Sato, N., Hopper, L. (2021). Judges’ evaluation reliability changes between identifiable and anonymous performance of hip-hop dance movements. PLoS One, 16(1), Article number e0245861.
  • Walsh, A., Mills, B., Hansen, S., Hopper, L., Singh, F. (2021). Graded exercise Stress Test Scenarios and Incidences for Exercise Physiologists: Is there a scope for training and assessment via virtual reality technology?. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 24(6), 47-61.
  • Hendry, D., Napier, K., Hosking, R., Chai, K., Davey, P., Hopper, L., Wild, C., O'Sullivan, P., Straker, P., Campbell, A. (2021). Development of a Machine Learning Model for the Estimation of Hip and Lumbar Angles in Ballet Dancers. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 36(2), 61-71.


  • Hopper, L., Watson, J., Nicholas, J., Hansen, S., Bright, S., Ridout, I., Cashman, S., Mills, B. (2021). The Development of On line Substance Awareness Educational Content. Australia. Sideffect Australia.

Journal Articles

  • Mills, B., Dykstra, P., Hansen, S., Miles, A., Rankin, T., Hopper, L., Brook, L., Bartlett, D. (2020). Virtual Reality Triage Training Can Provide Comparable Simulation Efficacy for Paramedicine Students Compared to Live Simulation-Based Scenarios. Prehospital Emergency Care, 24(4), 525-536.
  • Hendry, D., Chai, K., Campbell, A., Hopper, L., O'Sullivan, P., Straker, L. (2020). Development of a Human Activity Recognition System for Ballet Tasks. Sports Medicine - Open, 6(1), article number 10.
  • Hendry, D., Leadbetter, R., McKee, K., Hopper, L., Wild, C., O'Sullivan, P., Straker, L., Campbell, A. (2020). An Exploration of Machine-Learning Estimation of Ground Reaction Force from Wearable Sensor Data. Sensors, 20(3), Article number 740.
  • Blevins, P., Erskine, S., Moyle, G., Hopper, L. (2020). Student and teacher attitudes towards overtraining and recovery in vocational dance training. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 11(1), 5-24.
  • Hopper, L., Blevins, P., Erskine, S., Hendry, D., Hill, R., Longbottom, R. (2020). Sustaining dancer wellbeing through independent professional dance careers. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 11(4), 470-486.
  • Cripps, A., Banyard, H., Woods, C., Joyce, C., Hopper, L. (2020). Does the longitudinal development of physical and anthropometric characteristics associate with professional career attainment in adolescent Australian footballers?. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 15(4), 506-511.
  • Blevins, P., Erskine, S., Hopper, L., Moyle, G. (2020). Finding Your Balance An Investigation of Recovery-Stress Balance in Vocational Dance Training. Journal of Dance Education, 20(1), 12-22.
  • Duncan, R., Wild, C., Ng, L., Hendry, D., Carter, S., Hopper, L., Campbell, A. (2020). Dancers’ Joint Strategies for Achieving Turnout in Low and High Friction Conditions. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 35(2), 96-102.

Journal Articles

  • Hendry, D., Straker, L., Campbell, A., Hopper, L., Tunks, R., O'Sullivan, P. (2019). An Exploration of Pre-Professional Dancers’ Beliefs of the Low Back and Dance-Specific Low Back Movements. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 34(3), 147-153.
  • Sato, N., Nunome, H., Hopper, L., Ikegami, Y. (2019). Ankle taping can reduce external ankle joint moments during drop landings on a tilted surface. Sports Biomechanics, 18(1), 28-38.
  • Carter, SL., Bryant, A., Hopper, L. (2019). An analysis of the foot in turnout using a dance specific 3D multi-segment foot model. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 12(2019), article no.10.
  • Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C. (2019). Can coaches predict long-term career attainment outcomes in adolescent athletes?. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 14(3), 324-328.

Journal Articles

  • Carter, S., Duncan, R., Weidemann, A., Hopper, L. (2018). Lower leg and foot contributions to turnout in female pre-professional dancers: A 3D kinematic analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(19), 2217-2225.
  • Hopper, L., Weidemann, A., Karin, J. (2018). The inherent movement variability underlying classical ballet technique and the expertise of a dancer. Research in Dance Education, 19(3), 229-239.
  • Carter, S., Sato, N., Hopper, L. (2018). Kinematic repeatability of a multi-segment foot model for dance. Sports Biomechanics, 17(1), 48-66.
  • Chan, C., Hopper, L., Zhang, F., Pacey, V., Nicholson, L. (2018). The prevalence of generalized and syndromic hypermobility in elite Australian dancers. Physical Therapy in Sport, 32(July 2018), 15-21.

Conference Publications

  • Sato, N., Hopper, L. (2018). Reliability of the evaluation of humanoid animation as a visualizing tool in hip-hop dance. 36th Conference of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Proceedings (199-202). International Society of Biomechanics in Sport.
  • Hopper, L., Sato, N. (2018). Integrating Biomechanical and Animation Motion Capture Methods in the Production of Participant Specific, Scaled Avatars. Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, AIVR 2018 (237-240). IEEE.

Journal Articles

  • Carter, SL., Bryant, AR., Hopper, L. (2017). Lower-Leg and Foot Contributions to Turnout in University-Level Female Ballet Dancers. A Preliminary Investigation. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 107(4), 292-298.
  • Meyer, K., Chan, C., Hopper, L., Nicholson, L. (2017). Identifying lower limb specific and generalised joint hypermobility in adults: validation of the Lower Limb Assessment Score. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18(2017), Article Number: 514.
  • Hopper, L., Chan, C., Wijsmann, S., Ackland, T., Visentin, P., Alderson, J. (2017). Torso and Bowing Arm Three-Dimensional Joint Kinematics of Elite Cellists: Clinical and Pedagogical Implications for Practice. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 32(2), 85-93.
  • Cripps, A., Joyce, C., Woods, C., Hopper, L. (2017). Biological maturity and the anthropometric, physical and technical assessment of talent identified U16 Australian footballers. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 12(3), 344 - 350.
  • Woods, C., Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C. (2017). A comparison of the physical and anthropometric qualities explanatory of talent in the elite junior Australian football development pathway. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20(7), 684-688.

Journal Articles

  • Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C. (2016). Coaches’ perceptions of long-term potential are biased by maturational variation. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11(4), 478-481.
  • Hopper, L., Sato, N., Weidemann, A. (2016). Single-leg squats can predict leg alignment in dancers performing ballet movements in “turnout”. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 7(16 Nov. 2016), 161-166.
  • Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C. (2016). Maturity, physical ability, technical skill and coaches’ perception of semi-elite adolescent Australian footballers. Pediatric Exercise Science, 28(4), 535-541.

Journal Articles

  • Hopper, L., Alderson, J., Elliott, B., Ackland, T. (2015). Dance floor force reduction influences ankle loads in dancers during drop landings. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 18(4), 480-485.
  • Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C. (2015). Inter-Rater Reliability and Validity of the Australian Football League’s Kicking and Handball Tests. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 14(3), 675-680.
  • Wellisch, M., Hamer, P., Hopper, L., Bulsara, M., Debenham, J. (2015). Eccentric Loading Increases Peak Torque Angle of the Ankle Plantar Flexors in Healthy Volunteers. International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine, 1(2), 1-6.
  • Cripps, A., Hopper, L., Joyce, C., Veale, J. (2015). Pathway Efficiency and Relative Age in the Australian Football League Talent Pathway. Talent Development and Excellence, 7(1), 3-11.

Journal Articles

  • Hopper, L., Allen, N., Wyon, M., Alderson, JA., Elliott, BC., Ackland, T. (2014). Dance floor mechanical properties and dancer injuries in a touring professional ballet company. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17(1), 29-33.
  • Hopper, L., Wheeler, T., Webster, J., Allen, N., Roberts, J., Fleming, P. (2014). Dancer perceptions of the force reduction of dance floors used by a professional touring ballet company. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 18(3), 121-130.

Conference Publications

  • Hopper, L., Alderson, J., Elliott, B., Ackland, T., Fleming, P. (2014). Do dance floor force reduction and static stiffness represent dynamic floor stiffness during dance landings?. Procedia Engineering (931-936). Elsevier.

Journal Articles

  • Reeve, HK., Hopper, L., Elliott, B., Ackland, T. (2013). Lower limb kinematic variability in dancers performing drop landings onto floor surfaces with varied mechanical properties.. Human Movement Science, 32(4), 866-74.
  • McEldowney, KM., Hopper, L., Etlin-Stein, H., Redding, E. (2013). Fatigue Effects on Quadriceps and Hamstrings Activation in Dancers Performing Drop Landings. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 17(3), 109-114.

Journal Articles

  • Hopper, L., Alderson, J., Elliott, B., Ackland, T., Fleming, P. (2011). Dancer perceptions of quantified dance surface mechanical properties. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, 225(2), 65-73.

Journal Articles

  • Alderson, J., Hopper, L., Elliott, B., Ackland, T. (2009). Risk factors for lower back injury in male dancers performing ballet lifts. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 13(3), 83-89.

Research Projects

  • Virtual-reality-enhanced advanced tactical parachute training , Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, Defence Science Collaborative Research Grants, 2021 ‑ 2024, $346,145.
  • AI-driven virtual character animation for aggression and violence de-escalation training in virtual reality, Department of Health WA, Future Health Research and Innovation Fund - Generative AI Applications, 2024, $49,967.
  • Workplace Integrated Learning Program in a simulated production house environment , White Spark Pictures, Scholarship, 2022 ‑ 2024, $70,000.
  • Development and evaluation of a novel gamified education package enhancing pandemic preparedness for frontline healthcare response staff and students, Department of Health WA, Future Health Research and Innovation FHRI Focus Grants: COVID-19, 2021 ‑ 2024, $224,446.
  • Real-time virtual dance performance opening new possibilities for remote movement collaboration., Academic Staff Association of Edith Cowan University, Solidarity Research Fund (SRF), 2023 ‑ 2024, $19,801.
  • Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), International Olympic Committee, Research Centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health, 2019 ‑ 2024, $409,674.
  • Using virtual reality to create novel metrics of expertise in safety-critical decision making, Defence Science and Technology Group of the Department of Defence, Defence Research Network for Undersea Decision Superiority, 2020 ‑ 2023, $45,000.
  • Implementation and pilot evaluation of the Sideffect alcohol and other drug education game, Sideffect Australia, Grant, 2021 ‑ 2023, $191,517.
  • Out-of-hospital immersive birthing simulation training for WA Paramedics and Ambulance Officers using virtual-reality technology, Department of Health WA, Clinical Simulation and Training Grants, 2021 ‑ 2023, $49,853.
  • Informing Detailed Design of Digital Twinning Capability for the Royal Australian Navy, Department of Defence, Grant, 2023, $168,772.
  • Early identification of and appropriate response to aggressive behaviour for hospital workers, Department of Health WA, Clinical Simulation and Training Grants, 2020 ‑ 2022, $49,794.
  • Opening new choreographic opportunities through 3D virtual dancers performing in mixed reality, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Creative Development Grants, 2019 ‑ 2021, $14,943.
  • Informing Detailed Design of Emergency Management and Response Virtual Simulation for the Western Australian Emergency Management Training Centre, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Grant, 2020 ‑ 2021, $53,702.
  • Towards an evidence-based training approach for the elite contemporary dance industry, Edith Cowan University, ECU Industry Collaboration Scheme - 2016 Open Round, 2017 ‑ 2018, $22,500.
  • Biomechanical analyses of injury risks experienced in elite dance training, Edith Cowan University, ECU Early Career Researcher Grant - 2015, 2015 ‑ 2016, $25,000.
  • Power to the performer: Self-directed training practices for the healthy dancers, Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare, ASPAH - Healthy Partnerships for the Performing Arts (HPPA), 2015, $2,500.

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Development and pilot evaluation of an out-of-hospital immersive birthing simulation training application for paramedics and ambulance officers using virtual-reality technology

Co-principal Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Training in Specialist Skillsets to Address Evolving Media and Entertainment Industry Needs
  • Master of Education, Going 'full time': An exploration of vocational ballet training in Perth, Western Australia

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Performance health for saxophonists: An investigation into holistic practice and injury prevention
  • Master of Medical and Health Science by Research, Operational preparedness for medical management of major incidents: A comparison of traditional and digital mass casualty training modalities for out of hospital responders.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Technique reframed body reimagined
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Aggression and violence de-escalation training using virtual reality technology for front line emergency department healthcare professionals and students in Western Australia.

Principal Supervisor

  • Master of Arts (Performing Arts), Tracing the ancestral roots and the flow of pedagogical practices in the development of ballet teaching from 1950 to 2016 in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Dancing through it: Enhancing psychological recovery in dance
  • Bachelors Honours: The estimation of subject-specific Achilles tendon moment arms using ultrasound and three dimensional motion analysis.
  • Bachelors Honours: The relationship between movement patterns in games and during field-tests in senior Western Australian football players.
  • The relationship between foot architecture and foot mobility in dancers.
  • Variability of lower limb coordination in dancers performing drop landings onto floor surfaces with varied mechanical properties.
  • The effect of knee joint stability when landing from a jump.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Lower leg and foot contributions to turnout in pre-professional female dancers: A clinical and kinematic analysis
  • Gender influences on dancers' perceptions and preferences of performance qualities of varied dance floor surfaces.

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Amnesiac. A stage play. - and - playwriting migration: Silence, memory and repetition. an exegesis
  • Doctor of Philosophy, I am here now. A play -and- Polyvocality, the unhomely and the methods of Mike Leigh in playwriting. an exegesis
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Pedagogy in performance: An investigation into decision training as a cognitive approach to circus training.
  • Master of Arts (Performing Arts), 'It's all in the timing' - A research project that explores the complexities in the relationship of actor to audience, in musical theatre
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