Dancer Health

The benefits of Gyrotonic exercise for dancers

Students on a Gyrotonic tower. Photo courtesy of Juliana Bianchi.

As a dancer, you probably already incorporate Pilates into your conditioning programme. But have you heard of Gyrotonic? Well, it’s about to become your new favourite exercise.

The Gyrotonic Expansion System includes two exercise methods: Gyrotonic (equipment-based) and Gyrokinesis (mat and chair work). Both were developed by Juliu Horvath, a professional dancer from Romania. After a series of debilitating injuries during his dance career, Horvath began developing the methods as a way to heal himself and regain his strength and agility.

The exercises in the system are composed of spiralling, circular movements, performed in rhythmic repetitions with integrated breath. As each movement flows into the next, the joints of the body are able to move through a natural range of motion without being compressed. The movement sequences are carefully constructed to create balance, efficiency, strength and flexibility.

Gyrotonic has become popular amongst dancers, gymnasts and other sportspeople but is invaluable for general conditioning with people from all walks of life.

Lisa Mathison instructs Juliana Bianchi in the Gyrotonic method. Photo courtesy of Bianchi.

Lisa Mathison instructs Juliana Bianchi in the Gyrotonic method. Photo courtesy of Bianchi.

Juliana Bianchi is a Brazilian-born physiotherapist based in Melbourne. An ex-dancer, Bianchi is an experienced Pilates teacher and Garuda teacher, and is now adding Gyrotonic to her repertoire. She decided to train in Gyrotonic after seeing the incredible results that dancers and other athletes achieved using the equipment. Bianchi now incoporates Gyrotonic into her work at Anna Tetlow Pilates, a studio which is known and loved by Melbourne dancers.

Although Gyrotonic complements other methods such as Pilates and Garuda, Bianchi says that it is a completely unique system.

“The fundamentals of the Gyrotonic Expansion System consists of a totally new exercise system,” she explains. “The principles are to exercise the musculature while mobilising and articulating the joints. The uniqueness of the system is that it stretches and strengthens at the same time with minimal effort, while it increases range of motion and develops coordination.”

She describes the motion patterns as “natural, turbulence-free and pure, with no interruption, creating a bridge between contraction and extension.”

Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis were first developed over 30 years ago and are now taught by more than 10,500 trainers in 52 countries. Melbourne dancers interested in trying the method are encouraged to visit Anna Tetlow Pilates, and readers from other areas can visit www.gyrotonic.com/studios_classes_and_courses.aspx to find a local studio.

‘Listen to your bodies and ‘participate intelligently’ to the energy we all have within us.’
– Juliu Horvath (creator of Gyrotonic®)

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

Photo (top): Students on a Gyrotonic tower. Photo courtesy of Juliana Bianchi.

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