GYROTONIC® Principles in Dance
Most dancers at this point know that cross-training is a very necessary part of their training. From pilates to weight lifting, dancers have a ton of different options to choose from. It's finding the right method for you that's the trick. My own journey lead me to the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods, which you can read about in detail here. While every training method has its uses, I thought it would be helpful to briefly talk about how Gyrotonic principles relate to dance. Please note that I will be talking about how these principles relate to western styles of dance technique, ie. ballet, contemporary, jazz, etc. because that is my background.
For example, hyper mobility is something a lot of dancers deal with. While hyper mobility can be a blessing, it can also be a curse. Hyper mobility makes it extremely difficult to build strength. While every PT, doctor, or personal trainer out there will tell you strength building is extremely necessary for hyper mobile joints, most don't understand how to go about strength training in a practical sense when working with someone who has hyper mobility. With the Gyrotonic method, we can provide low impact strength training and teach a dancer struggling with hyper mobility to control their joints, even in extreme positions. The first step in this process is "narrowing", which I briefly discussed in my previous blog "GYROTONIC® Principles in Everyday Life".
On the flip side, some dancers struggle with their flexibility. They tend to have a much easier time building strength, but consistently feel tight and like they are forcing their body past its limits. Now, as weird as it sounds, the same "narrowing" principle that we use to teach someone with hyper mobility to control their range is also the one we use to teach the tight dancer to create space in their joints. This allows them to increase their range of motion with significantly less strain. This is one of the many things that makes the Gyrotonic method so unique and why it is so good at balancing strength and flexibility. You get out of it whatever your body needs, without having to work around how you are.
In addition, because the Gyrotonic method started out as something that specifically meet dancers' needs, GYROTONIC® principles are more easily applied to our technique. For instance, let's say you are trying to get better at using your turnout. In a gym scenario you might do bridges, and/or clam shells to work on strengthening your turnout muscles. While these exercises do strengthen the turnout muscles, they don't teach you how to use those muscles in your dance technique. In a GYROTONIC® session we are not only working on gaining strength, but also on making sure we understand how to maintain our turnout through dance specific motions. This process is what makes applying GYROTONIC® principles to our technique so much easier and why so many dancers that try the Gyrotonic method get hooked so quickly.
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