The GYROTONIC® Method
Juliu Horvath is the creator and founder of the Gyrotonic Expansion System. He was born and raised in Romania but is of Hungarian ancestry. As a child he was physically gifted, studying gymnastics, swimming, and ballet. After dancing principal roles with the Romanian State Opera Ballet, Juliu defected in 1970 while on tour in Italy, where he spent six months in a refugee camp. He was then was granted political asylum by the United States. He moved to New York City, was hired by the New York City Opera, Radio City Music Hall and toured with ballet icons Margot Fonteyn and Jacques d’Amboise. He joined the Houston Ballet as a principal dancer, but during his first year, his dance career ended when he ruptured his Achilles tendon and damaged several disks in his back.
Following these career-ending injuries, Juliu moved to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to heal, and to contemplate his future. It was there he began an extensive four year contemplation of his health that included yoga, meditation and dance; creating his own choreography and teaching ballet. While in the Virgin Islands, Juliu also developed his own acupuncture system. It was out of these experiences that he completely healed his achilles tendon and back injuries and developed exercises that were the beginning of Gyrokinesis movement.
Juliu returned to NYC and began teaching ‘Yoga for Dancers’ to a small group of dedicated followers. As a result of his early teaching in New York, he realized that very few students had the self- understanding and technique to execute the exercises successfully. They needed more support and guidance. So Juliu began developing equipment that would give the body traction, support, and resistance in order to be able to perform the exercises correctly. He called the equipment, and exercises using the equipment, The Gyrotonic Expansion System, or The Gyrotonic method for short. He renamed ‘Yoga for Dancers’, the Gyrokinesis method.
A New Exercise System is Born
Gyrotonic exercises are different. They are not about reps or feeling the burn. Although the exercises stretch, strengthen, and improve balance, coordination, and flexibility, that’s not the goal. Gyrotonic exercises aren’t about getting buff; they teach you how to move the way your body was meant to move. Juliu emphasized that exercise should be creative and playful. In his words, “I want music and poetry in my body, I want to be skillful without struggle.”
The movement philosophy that Juliu created took a lot of time and effort to develop. It’s based on Juliu’s observations of the organic and internal natural human patterns of the human body. Gyrotonic exercises combine our daily reaching, bending, and twisting movements with healthy breathing and posture. As a result, we learn to move in a healthy and effective way, whether you’re a child, business person, weekend warrior, or professional athlete or dancer.
Click here to view the official Gyrotonic website.
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