Photo Credit – Unsplash
Introducing the Women in Dance Awards with Avatâra Ayuso, Founder of Advancing Women’s Aspirations (AWA) with DanceMarch 24, 2021
Ahead of Avatâra’s AWA inaugural Women in Dance Awards event this Friday, 26th March, 730PM (GMT), I got to chat briefly with Avatâra herself.
She walks us through her background and experience that led her to developing her company AVA Dance and, her newest project, AWA Dance Charity. Hint: it’s all about women, girls, leadership and empowerment in the Dance sector and society.
It’s not about competition, it’s about recognition.
Learn more about Avatâra Ayuso & AWA Dance Charity
I had to dance first. It made me so aware of my body; in relationship to the earth; in relationship to curvature and spirals; in relationship to flow […] this pulled me away from the mechanics of ‘what architecture is’ to what does architecture mean for me?
Dazaun Soleyn is a Dancer, Choreographer and GYROTONIC® Trainer based in San Francisco. We speak about his experience at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program and the vision that led him to becoming a GYROTONIC® Trainer amongst other things, like getting back into Architecture.
There are so many things about humans, life and movement that he eloquently describes, I won’t even dare try to simplify it for the rest of this paragraph. Just hit play.
This is his story.
“The breath is one of the first things impacted by stress of any kind and it impacts every part of your body. There is no part of your human that isn’t touched by breathing!”
Trina Bordere‘s a Dancer, Movement Artist, GYROTONIC® Trainer and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer based in New Orleans. She’s known for marrying breath work and vocalization to the aforementioned methods for over a decade now.
Trina and I met virtually for the first time, like most of my interviewees over lockdown, so we began by simply introducing each other. We quickly get into the meaning of what breathing means and what it really does to our body, brain, and spirit.
Listen to her story about how she got into Dance, the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods alongside Juliu Horvath, and why it has sparked her curiosity in the wonderful world of breath work and yawning.
Follow Trina’s Work
“Deal with what’s happening. Move that out of your body, and as that moves, you’ll start feeling – ‘Wow, I was hanging on to a lot of stuff’.”
Lisa Roche is the founder and owner of a 1 to 1 GYROTONIC® studio, called Nagare, based in New Jersey. Her studio also shares the space with other holistic therapies, such as Reiki and Massage.
We speak about the importance of acknowledging wellbeing, looking at the body as a whole, as well as how self-care is changing with this universal shift of the pandemic. Lisa also provides some great tips on how to deal with this.
She takes us through her life before discovering the GYROTONIC® method – from political science, to being a mother, to studying music – then flash forward to when she began Adult Ballet classes and her long history of back pain started to flared up.
Listen to her enthusiastic and generous story.
Follow Lisa & Her Work
Happy New Year, Movers!
The last couple of months have been so varied. Since my last post in September, I was actually swamped with working in the studios; then I went to California for the holidays; now I’m back in London and house-bound!
With that said, I want to share what’s been helping me stay sane, mobile, and happy during London’s lockdown #3. We all know it’s easy to forget about our body and mind, so check out these wonderful online classes.
GAGA PEOPLE/DANCERS – TEL AVIV | BERLIN | LONDON
I quickly learned that I love starting the week with a Gaga class on Monday mornings. Since these classes have been online, they’re only operating as 30-minute classes but not to worry, you will still get the full benefits of a Gaga class – fluid, three-dimensional, bone shaking, wild, and soft movements. You’ll also get a good sweat!
Gaga People / London (TBA)
LITTLE YOGA SPACE – LISBON
I’ve just taken Katrin’s Thai Yoga Massage Intro Workshop last Sunday and it was such a treat! We spoke about energy, intention, and attention. An important theme as most of us are mainly at home or, perhaps, working harder than ever. Kat’s studio offers many classes including yoga, pilates, online retreats, and much more.
LINES DANCE CENTER – SAN FRANCISCO
These classes are more than Ballet. Forget what you know and experience a dynamic and full bodied approach to the Classical form. Being that LINES Dance Center is one my former stomping grounds, having access some of the most knowledgeable teachers on the West Coast is something everyone should also take advantage.
BAEFIT – LONDON
Oh yes. Helena’s classes are the ultimate ‘spirit lift’. Her classes range from HIIT to Primal Pilates – with and without weights. This working performer gets you working out through her ecstatic personality. I’ve done these classes during the first national lockdown and boy did I see a difference in my body. Open to all levels.
First class free! Just mention The Movement Blog 🙂
MINDWALK YOGA – VIRTUAL
I came across Zakiya’s Instagram a little while ago when she was due to cover one of my classes while I was away. Zakiya’s social enterprise and virtual-only studio has quite a lot to offer. From free classes to wellness retreats for Black women – the main vibe is about relieving stress, anxiety, and trauma. I’m sure we can all get on board with that!
STRONG LIKE A MUTHA – GLASGOW
I’ve been following my former colleague, Lyndsey (from London Contemporary Dance School) from afar. From the opening of her fully equipped studio to the comprehensive online platform she’s today. From pre-natal classes to strength, nutrition, and overall body positivity, this is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for every body.
I have a lot more to share, so consider this ‘Part 1’ <3
I first met Maurya during my training days at LINES Ballet summer intensives back in 2001. She then became one of the main teachers at the LINES BFA program for Ballet and the GYROTONIC® Method, where I was also a student.
During the pandemic, lockdown, and the Black Lives Matter’s uprising (all of which is still going on), I was able to take some time to reflect on my own background, dance training, and what it means to be Black in the Dance and GYROTONIC® Community and if it did, in fact, mean anything…but of course it does.
This led me to the question: Where are all the Black Gyrotonic Trainers? and How can I highlight them more? I immediately turned to Maurya and a few other trainers I knew personally for support on the matter.
Maurya lets us in to what she’s been working on artistically and politically, the change and lack of change she’s seen within the Dance and Gyrotonic communities, and how we all need to help amplify Black voices.
This is her (and our) story.
Follow Maurya’s Work
BLACKSTAR – Dance Film
_ _ _ _ _ _
Take Maurya’s Class
San Francisco, CA
Open GYROTONIC®-Based Classes
Every Saturday, 11am-12pm (PST)
Classes are sliding scale, $7 – 20,
free for Black, Indigenous & People of Color
who need the financial assistance.
Message Maurya directly, @tinypistol on Instagram
Photos by Kimara Alan Dixon
Check out these relaxing and moving tunes for some vibrational ambiance for your studio. Orginally made for StretchLab (pictured above), where clients want to relax during their deep stretches.
As trainers, we spend most of our time in the studio, so why not let the atmosphere have feel-good vibes? I’ll keep adding on to this playlist, so be sure to come back to it every now and again.
I met Kayla way back in the day during our time at the LINES Ballet BFA program in San Francisco. I had also picked her to perform in my Senior choreography piece, so from working with her in this way, I always knew she had something special to offer.
Flash forward 10 years, I was right. She has become the embodiment of her ideas and experiences, from Dance to GYROKINESIS® and now healing. She also provides and offers tremendous support for the movement and wellbeing community with retreats, podcasts, and more.
Naturally, I wanted to know more about the work she’s doing now and catch up a bit from the last decade. I was also particularly curious about her experience as a mover and trainer of color. Here, we speak about the last few months in the U.S., what we’d like to see in the future, and what we can do about it now.
This is her story.
Follow Kayla’s Work
I met Tatiana Pará virtually after she responded to a post of mine asking if any other GYROTONIC® trainers have anything interesting to share – and she sure did!
Tatiana is a dancer, teacher, researcher, therapist and somatic educator specialized in the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods. Based in Rio de Janeiro since 2007, she’s dedicated herself exclusively to teaching and researching the GYROTONIC® method, working with renowned actors and dancers in her studio, Studio Tatiana Pará.
She’s currently a Master’s student and researcher at the Postgraduate Program in Dance at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The following is the beginning of her current research focusing on the Gyrotonic Method, Contemporary Dance, Somatics and a Dancers’ artistic preparation.
Sink your teeth into this! Enjoy.
DIALOGUES BETWEEN THE GYROTONIC® METHOD AND CONTEMPORARY DANCE: A SOMATIC APPROACH TO DANCERS ARTISTIC PREPARATION
Translated from Brazilian Portuguese to English.
This article is part of my research as a Master’s student in Dance from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. As a dancer and movement educator for more than twenty years, I have always been interested in how somatic practices could improve my performance, not only regarding the physical aspects, but also as a way to develop artistic skills.
With a strong background in ballet, I began to practice both Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods in 1998. Since then, I became very passionate about how my body could find different ways to move and with an awareness I hadn’t experienced before in the ballet classes. After many years, since I had become both a Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis teacher, I started to see dancers and actors coming into my classes. I began to feel curious about the reason why they kept coming and how they could apply that experience into their artistic processes.
In my previous researches, before enrolling into the Master’s Program in Dance, I found only a few academic productions regarding the Gyrotonic method. However, I found many on the Somatic Education field. Sylvie Fortin, one of the pioneer researchers in Somatic Education and professor in the Dance department at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM), lists three aspects of the Somatic Education that “affect both performers, choreographers and teachers: improving technique, preventing and curing trauma, and developing expressive skills” (Fortin, 1999, p. 41). It’s about the last one that my research intends to investigate.
According to Fortin, the somatic methods should provide a global reorganization of the experience and favor a work that is part of a research on body neutrality and motor versatility. The development of the expressive skills in dance pointed out by Fortin leads us to somatic practices as facilitators for the investigation processes through the body movement. The Gyrotonic method and its holistic approach, with special attention to a three-dimensional awareness of the body and its relationship with gravity and space, can point to a relevant foundation to be considered in the development of the expressive skills of the contemporary dancers.
One of the main aspects of the method is the movement initiated from the pelvis and the spine. Laurence Louppe, historian and dance critic, author of ‘Poetics of Contemporary Dance’, reflects on how the birth of contemporary dance rescues the primacy of the trunk as a supreme center of expression (Louppe, 2012, p.73). Louppe emphasizes that the meaning of contemporary dance consists in the liberation of a body of origin and a long search for a body in the process of becoming (Louppe, 2012, p.83).
According to the author, several somatic practices can facilitate this process. Thus, the Gyrotonic method can offer tools to the preparation of the scenic body, based on the kinesthetic sensations, the opening of perceptual channels and the expansion of the consciousness levels and the motor repertoire of dancers.
In January of 2019, the Dance department of the University of Québec in Montréal released a podcast on the website called “Territoires Partagés” (Flynn, 2019) with testimonials from three artists that take Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis classes as complementary practices to technical dance classes. The testimonials express some modifications felt by the dancers after the beginning of their experience with the method.
One of the artists remarks that the Gyrotonic practice helped her to focus and to improve concentration levels, as well as allowing her a better awareness about her breathing. Another interviewed dancer reports feeling an opening of her sensory and perception channels, and the development of self, space and relation to the others awareness. She also tells that the practice of the Gyrotonic method has provided her a balance between connecting to her inner self and to the external world, expanding simultaneously her capacity to be present and to be aware of the space that surrounds her.
According to Juliu Horvath (2006), Gyrotonic founder and creator, “the ultimate aim is to be at home in one’s body, to be at one with the nature of oneself, and to experience exercise as a creative and delightful experience”. I understand that “to be at home in one’s body” means to be connect to yourself, to get rid of patterns and to open up to new perceptions and to be able to develop an ability to be present in the experience.
Although my research is still in the beginning, it’s already possible to make some connections between the Gyrotonic method and the artistic preparation of the contemporary dancers. According to Louppe:
The freedom of such and indeterminate body would not have been possible without the body knowledge applied since the beginning of the century, without the observation of the various states of organic tissues in the various areas of the musculature… In other words, this would not have happened without recognizing the countless possible paths, where a wandering awareness explores in depth organic circuits to better extract from them a promise of freedom and not submission.(LOUPPE, 2012, p. 88)