Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® Master Trainer
When I was a dancer in NYC in the early 90’s, I had a severe injury which lead me to schedule surgery. The injury was a deeply fractured L5 vertebrae, literally shattered in pieces due to a stair case fall. The fact that the surgery would end my dance career, lead me to search for alternative physical therapy treatments as well as yoga and swimming activities, which were non-impact and would give some relief. Finally, after two years of great pain, I was ready for surgery and to give up dance. At that point, I happen to tell my situation to Terese Capucilli, a Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company who had already been a practitioner of the Gyrotonic Method for several years. She introduced me to the system. Under Juliu Horvath's guidance, I was able to fully calcify and recover my broken vertebrae. Since my goal was to dance with the Graham Company, Juliu applied specific dance vocabulary and imagery, which allowed me to return to dancing with amazing strength, moving with great balance, alignment and, most importantly, pain free.
I was honored to have worked with Juliu, privately, while helping him produce his handmade equipment. As the Gyrotonic system expanded, and our first group of master trainers emerged, I asked Juliu what would happen to all the movement vocabulary he had worked on so extensively with me, since it would not be part of the foundation training (due to its complexity). He responded, “Would you like to put it together?” When he asked this, Adrianna Thompson was also in the room. She, too, had the privilege to work privately with Juliu, and we both agreed to meet and start putting the material together in a course format. The combination of mine and Adrianna’s experiences made for a very dynamic specialized course. After meeting with Juliu to go over details, about five times over the course of a couple of years, we organized GYROTONIC® Application for Dancers as a two segment course. We have been teaching this course since 2008. It has evolved over the years and course 3 will be available in the future.
GYROTONIC® Application for Dancers Levels 1 & 2 combine the kinetic fundamentals of classical and contemporary dance with the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®. These courses introduce a very structured movement vocabulary which enables the student, or professional dancer, to understand, develop and improve dance technique from inside out. This holistic approach to movement teaches better body awareness, flexibility and strength, injury prevention, and a deeper understanding of the physiology of dance. Non-dancers are welcome to participate and enjoy the freedom, healing and deep understanding of movement, and body alignment, which this course promotes. It enriches the Gyrotonic trainer’s vocabulary when teaching dancers. The trainer will also find that a large portion of the course can be used with non-dancer clients who will benefit from specific exercises themselves. This course complements the existing Gyrotonic foundation material through its vertical and dynamic movements and rhythm.
I have had several injured dancers as clients over the past 23 years. I was able to guide them through their healing processes during very severe back injuries by using the Applications For Dancers course material. One of the most impressive cases was a 20 year old dancer who had a slipped lumbar 4 vertebrae, and consequently, bulging disc. The beginning of the Dancers Application Course offers a spinal motion series called floating spine which I have used consistently with her, three times per week, for a month. This series, which promotes traction vertically with the use of the straps in different parts of her back, allowed the re-patterning of her lumbar spine so the natural healing process could occur. Her leg, which could not elevate in front more than 45 degrees due to pain, became absolutely free to move high up, and she continued dancing without pain.
Another dancer, 13 years old, has benefited from the work after doctors told her family she would need surgery because her scoliosis curvatures were so extreme. They also said that her respiratory system would start suffering as she grew older. I asked her parents to give me a couple of months before doing another x-ray. She came twice weekly and had positive results. After the next x-ray, doctors ruled out her surgery, and she continued improvements.
I have also worked with the dance community simply for the purpose of skills improvement. It has been a magical journey. I have worked with students in New York City at the American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Ballet Academy East, Martha Graham Dance Company and Paul Taylor Dance Company. In South Carolina, I have worked with the Center For Dance Education and the University of South Carolina. I’ve also worked with others worldwide, seeing dancers have positive impacts in their bodies.
As far as all the trainers who I have had the pleasure of working with, I have received only positive feedback in ways such as their personal commitments to consistent self practice as well as better understanding as teachers for use when they go back into their daily teachings. Many have said their bodies changed tremendously, resulting in more clarity of mind.