Photo Credit – Unsplash
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)
In the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods we are constantly experiencing new ways of moving and finding new paths, opening spaces internally and allowing the body to be grounded and free at the same time. In order to perceive those changes, one must be present in the experience as a whole being, in a state of awareness that involves attention, intention, presence and openness. Therefore, all those aspects are essential to let the new sensations to emerge, which is a necessary foundation for creative and expressive processes in the Performing Arts.
FLYNN, Erin. Podcast. In: Territoires Partagés, Montréal. UQAM, 2019. Available in: <https://www.tpdanse.ca/janvier-2019?fbclid=IwAR3bC-tf2_umoLsGGxfjkaH6KPdlh25WjNzSngbNiuPyMNjP_61YDo3tuYA>.
FORTIN, Sylvie. Somatic Education: new ingredient of practical dance training. (M. Strazacappa, Trad.) In: GIPE-CIT N. 2 Notebooks. Salvador: UFBA, 40-55, february. 1999.
GYROTONIC®, International Headquarters. About. Dingmans Ferry, 2019. Available in <https://www.gyrotonic.com/about/>.
HORVATH, Juliu. GYROTONIC® Level 1 Foundation Teacher Training Course. Miami: Gyrotonic Sales Corp, 2006.
LOUPPE, Laurence. Poetics of Contemporary Dance. Lisbon: Orfeu Negro, 2012.
Babsie is a dear, yet long distance, friend of mine. We first met in 2016 at the GYROTONIC® Applications for Dancers Course in Paris, France, but have kept in contact since then. In fact, she’s helped me a lot with my food intolerances and recurring Candida via Skype.
In her most recent accomplishments, Babsie has created her own natural product called, MAGIC BEAUTY OIL, which is a lovely organic blend of vegetable oils and essential oils of 100% absolute purity – no additives, preservatives or synthetic products. Read on to see how Babsie succeeded as a Dancer, Actress, and a Health Expert.
Babsie Steger was born in Austria. At the the age of 7, she passed the competitive entrance examination for the Ballet School at the Opera in Vienna. In addition, at 14 she was also ranked the best Austrian tennis player. Upon graduating from the Vienna State Opera, she moved on to working successfully as an actress in France.
At 19, Babsie arrived in Paris while earning her living as a dancer and model. Fashion shows, advertising shoots, etc., ensued. She then became a fully-fledged actress and performed in international films and series’ such as Highlander, as well as Largo Winch, filmed in Great Britain and Canada, and the international show of Borgia in Europe.
At the same time, her first trade as a dancer enabled her to learn how to know her body. Natural and healthy food was always her priority. Watching what you eat every day plays a vital role in developing a strong, healthy body; physically and mentally.
In 2011, she published her first cookbook on Austrian pastries, Stroudel, Koughlof et Cie (Marabout Editions) in which the recipes emphasised the use of organic products as well as its focus on people’s well-being.
Babsie knew as a young girl that combining and balancing very natural ingredients of food with careful attention to good nutrition was important for her. In the last 25 years, Babsie worked with her sister – a medical doctor specialist in homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, meditation – who formed the health expert she is today.
Thus in 2015, she made the discovery of a very effective method called natural face lifting. Now Babsie teaches lessons and organises workshops on how to practise natural face lift. Shortly after, Babsie developed her very own successful skin care product, MAGIC BEAUTY OIL, an exceptional oil for face and neck, 100% organic; only natural and rare ingredients.
This honest and natural beauty oil regulates impurities, fights strongly against free radicals, tightens pores, and reduces pigmentation spots.
The skin is an organ that absorbs all the products (cream, oil, etc.) that you apply to it and transports them into the blood. Therefore it is very important, that your treatment is nontoxic, and the purest, most natural as possible so that it brings the necessary nutrients to the epidermis.
– Babsie Steger
This treatment is all the more exceptional since it adapts to any type of skin. The essential oils treat, regulate and boost the skin in depth. Magic Beauty Oil’s treatment leaves your skin deeply moisturised, refreshed, smooth, and radiant.
Written by Babsie; Edited by Kindall
There are so many things we can learn from Babsie, her discoveries, and accomplishments as a mover, coach, and food and health expert. Browse through her website to discover natural products and methods useful for our entire wellbeing. Download Google Translate to your browser, if needed.
More About Babsie’s Natural Products & Work
Le soin Magic Beauty Oil, by Babsie Steger est l’aboutissement des années de recherches. Magic Beauty Oil est un mélange biologique d’huiles végétales et d’huiles essentielles d’une pureté absolue à 100%. Il ne renferme aucun additif, ni conservateur, ni produit de synthèse. Ce soin, hautement actif et nutritif, apporte à l’épiderme des nombreuses vitamines et omégas indispensables.
Il y a quelques années déjà… j’ai découvert une méthode de lifting naturel très intéressante. Pour moi qui ai toujours été du côté du ” naturel “, j’ai été, je dois bien le dire, intriguée par le procédé et, finalement, conquise.
Le Gyrotonic® Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga s’y sont mises et pour cause. Pratiqué sur machine, le Gyrotonic est une activité ultra complète qui tonifie et étire les muscles en douceur. Découvrez toutes les raisons de ce nouvel engouement.
From left to right: Poster Presenters Jennifer S. Dalva, Jeanine Ferrone, Rita Renha, & Marni Larkin
From teaching to speaking with medical professionals first hand, Specialized GYROTONIC® Master Trainer Rita Renha wrote an open letter about the progress that’s happening between dance rehabilitation and physical therapy today.
These progressions involve the collaboration of GYROTONIC® Manhasset, Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative (HCHDI) and making sure physical therapists enhance their practice as a movement practitioner.
I first met Rita Renha during a Gyrotonic Trainer Update Course in Lisbon, Portugal in April 2018 at Equilibrium – many thanks to studio owner, GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer, and GYROTONIC® Pre-trainer, Bernardo Gama. After Renha learned that I created The Movement Blog and I about her new projects, we wanted to collaborate instantly.
As I’ve been becoming quite familiar with the work between Marni Larkin, studio owner of GYROTONIC® Manhasset, and HCHDI, a few things will be presented:
Renha’s Open Letter to the Dance and GYROTONIC® community.
What’s changing in movement and injury education.
Key points from the presentation of Rita Renha, Marni Larkin, Jennifer S. Dalva (NYU Langone Health), and HCHDI at the NEXT APTA Conference and Exposition.
“HCHDI provides professional dancers in financial need with subsidised educational opportunities to encourage a sound, holistic approach to self care and aid in career longevity.” (med.nyu.edu/hjd/harkness)
HCHDI now officially partners with GYROTONIC® Manhasset to provide subsidised Gyrotonic sessions to the dance community. Gyrotonic sessions are then held at the New York City Center Building.
The team will continue to present at medical conferences in the U.S. about the resources they have gathered thus far amongst their dance students and patients. This collaboration alone will provide a number of opportunities to be the role model for other dance injury clinics and schools.
An excerpt of Renha’s open letter:
I am sharing several developments that I have been very proud to be a part of.
What makes these developments so exciting is that, I believe they represent the first time in the USA, that the GYROTONIC® method has been experienced by the mainstream medical community. It seems that it has been the perfect timing as the new vision statement for the American Physical Therapy Association reads: “Transforming society by optimizing Movement to improve the human experience.”
As we have known for years, the GYROTONIC® method is an incredibly innovative and sophisticated system – not just for wellness, but also for rehabilitation. Inroads of this nature are essential for the method to “be given its due” but more importantly, so rehabilitation professionals have a far more advanced tool than anything in the health sciences currently offered.
We have been collaborating with the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, a world renowned institution headed by Dr Marijeanne Leiderbach, and part of NYU Langone Health in New York. Marni Larkin (owner of GYROTONIC® Manhasset) a PT and a pre-trainer in my network first offered an in house workshop for the Harkness Rehabilitation staff back in 2011.
Since then, we have continued to develop interest, and in 2016, a 3 day presentation entitled ‘Introduction to GYROTONIC® Methodology for Healthcare Professionals’ was held and received with positive feedback. People from far and wide including Canada and California attended.
Concurrently, the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries sponsored 2 staff members, Jennifer S. Dalva and Kayla Harkness to become certified Gyrotonic Trainers, which they are now. Jackson Kellogg and myself were the Master Trainers associated with their educational courses. Faye Dilgen, the Harkness program manager has been extremely supportive of integrating the Gyrotonic method into the traditional Physical Therapy setting in dance rehabilitation.
Finally, we are in the final stages of being part of the Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative (HCHDI), in which professional and pre-professional dancers that meet certain needs-based criteria will have 10 private Gyrotonic sessions subsidized by Harkness funding.
I hope that you are as excited as we are about these developments, but we truly see them as “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of all that the Gyrotonic method has to offer.
After presenting at the American Physical Therapy Association Conference in New Orleans, February, 2018 – Renha, Larkin, and Dalva will offer their presentation again:
June 27-30, 2018
A Movement System Approach for Clinical Practice
Marni Larkin, PT; Jennifer Dalva, DPT, CSCS; Rita Renha, PT; Faye Dilgen, DPT; Marijeanne Liederbach, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS
Key Points from “Implementing a Movement System Approach into Clinical Practice Using the GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM®” Poster Presentation:
ENCOURAGES PHYSICAL THERAPISTS: to embrace their role as movement practitioners.
FUNCTIONAL BREATHING: Foundational to the Method is an understanding of functional breathing. The goals of the breathing component are  to optimize complex axial movement along the stability/mobility continuum and  to modulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The Method varies rhythms, intensities and patterns of breathing to effect specific movement and/or ANS responses.
SPHERICAL MOVEMENT: The Method immediately moves beyond pelvic neutral and encourages the balanced and coordinated movement of the trunk and extremities in all planes of motion, the definition of core stability. Throughout each movement sequence there is an emphasis on axial lengthening.
STABILITY MOBILITY CONTINUUM: Dynamic stabilization occurs through the counterbalance of opposing forces on the whole skeleton minimizing compressive and tensile forces (stress and strain) Strengthening, stretching and mobilization never occur in isolation. Range of motion gains are always accompanied by strength gains. Physical Therapists may use Manual Therapy techniques with the clear intention of subsequent integration into the movement sequence.
MOTOR LEARNING AND FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH: The Method fosters motor learning by varying the environmental constraints of tasks to teach individuals how to make pain- and fear-free, biomechanically efficient choices. Tasks are modified to demand more strength, power and active range of motion within each movement sequence.
“Physical performance is about movement development not just muscular development – if you train the movement, the muscle will develop appropriately.”
– Rita Renha
Written, Formatted, & Edited by:
PT, GYROTONIC® Manhasset Studio Owner
GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer and Personal Assiant to Juliu Horvath (creator and founder of the GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM®
GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Trainer, Dancer, Blogger
Specialized GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer, PT, Functional Therapist, GYROTONIC® Instituto Brasil Studio Owner
Jennifer S. Dalva, Faye E. Dilgen, Marni Larkin, Marijeanne Liederbach, Rita Renha. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2018.
NEXT APTA Conference & Exposition Poster Presenters
Jennifer S. Dalva, Jeanine Ferrone, Marni Larkin & Rita Renha
Daniel N. is the “Fitness Crab“, a Toronto-based fitness coach and yoga instructor. He’s been helping his clients improve their health and set up their home gyms for over a decade with incorporating the BOSU Ball.
Daniel believes that BOSU balance trainers are a must for any home gym as they are the perfect warm up exercise, and a great low impact cardio workout. He also teaches people how to achieve ideal form with bodyweight exercise as well as machines like rowers and climbers. Read Daniel’s explanation and workout plan on the Bosu Ball.
Enjoy your workout!
How to Use a BOSU Ball to Strengthen Your Core Muscles
A BOSU ball does not look much like a piece of fitness equipment but it is a multipurpose physical fitness tool. It is great for core strengthening since it forces you to enhance your balance and stability. However, if you are beginner, you might want to do these exercises without a ball first. This way you will get a feel of the movements.
What is a BOSU Ball?
A BOSU ball looks like the bottom third or fourth of a large round ball. It can be used in a number of physical fitness movements with either the flat side or rounded side facing up. That is why it is called BOSU meaning “both sides up.”
What is the Core?
The main area of the core is made up of rectus abdominis, inner and external oblique, erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings. The main role of your core muscles is to keep you stable. Therefore, whenever you have to compensate for stability, your body is working the core. So whichever way you use the BOSU ball (with the dome part or flat surface facing up), it offers a very unstable platform. This makes your core muscle into continuous compensation.
Reasons Why Working the Core is Essential
If you fail to work your core you might:
Experience lower back pain
Have bad balance
(rounded shoulders, excessive lower spine curvature or external foot rotation)
Weak glutes can cause your femurs to rotate outward. This effect moves to the feet and does the same thing. This is the reason for duck-feet.
A strong core keeps your back erect when sitting and standing.
The core muscles also help to remain upright for long when riding a bike. For example, when riding a bike up a hill, you will struggle miserably when your core is weak and experience lack of stability. This is because you need power to push hard as you climb the hill.
Moreover, power is important when performing martial arts, playing sports like basketball and football where you need to make hits, fend off opponents, and maintain stability at all times.
Exercises to Perform with a BOSU Ball
I am sure you already know how to do a pushup. So rather than placing your palms face down on a flat surface, you will grab either side of the BOSU ball, with the curved side on the floor. As you push up the same way you do your conventional pushups, your stability will be greatly tested. Several parts of your body will be receiving a workout at the same time. These include your arms, your lower back, your abs, and other core muscle groups. Carry out sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Raise
Place your BOSU ball with the flat surface facing downwards. Sit down in front of it, and gradually lean back. The BOSU ball should support your lower back. Gaze at a place high above you and at the same time lift your right leg and left arm. Keep both your arm and leg straight and bring them together if you can. Do 5 to 10 reps, then lift your left leg and right arm and do the same.