I’ve only been teaching the GYROKINESIS® Method for the past year, however I’ve been using this method in conjunction with my dance training for nearly 10 years now. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should take the Gyrokinesis Method too.
The Gyrokinesis Method has been one of the only methods (along with the Gyrotonic Method) to truly address my tightness and weaknesses, which has helped me to move efficiently over the years.
No equipment needed!
Dancers can use this method as a vital part of their warmup and preparation before class and/or performance. All you’ll need is floor space and a place to sit comfortably with the feet on the ground. Movements in this method range from spinal motions to a killer abdominal series. There’s also a self-massage protocol called Awakening of the Senses, which revitalizes the body from the head to the toes.
Its specific breathing patterns, can help calm not only the mind but release tense, stubborn muscles and, of course, can be practiced anywhere in combination with the exercises. These breathing patterns allow the body to engage properly in movement without overworking and create more energy with strength and release simultaneously.
Not your typical group class.
Gyrokinesis sessions are often taught in group classes, and you won’t have to break the bank. Usually classes aren’t too big (up to 6-10 people) but it can depend on the studio. These classes are often taught in a circle or semi-circle so there’s more space to move and have the opportunity to see the movements and instructions from the trainer.
This is unique and beneficial because the class can actually move as a group, an entity, without that completive feeling. In addition, you’re getting all the principles you would get in a private Gyrotonic equipment class – win/win.
Get to the root of the problem.
Imagine a place where you’re able to achieve those things that allow you to lengthen tense muscles and strengthen weak areas simultaneously with more ease and awareness while being able to see and feel improvements within minutes.
How? Well, methods like Gyrokinesis use the body’s anatomy in the most natural and organic way for it to be moved (i.e. the spiralling concept). We want to create space in the joints as much as possible before we move, continuously. With that comes muscular length, strength, alignment, and suppleness – some of the methods’ main principles.
Increases pelvic mobility.
Pelvic mobility and range is highly significant for movement (along with core stability). In dance, the pelvis is constantly being challenged and fully utlized, which could develop into fatigue and ‘overworking’. Maintaining this kind of strength is difficult and so the hips will need some sort of recharge.
Furthermore, the Gyrokinesis Method focuses heavily on range of the pelvis (like in the Arch and Curl) and how to release its attachments to improve posture, alignment, and reduce back pain. Exercises are based sitting on a chair so you can safely mobilize the pelvis and spine. Great for those who spend a lot of time building websites and networking online.
Move without pain.
Dancers must learn how to maximize their movement potential without compromising the body or creating unnecessary pain. Pain often comes from poor alignment, overuse, fatigue, or worst, ignoring the root of the problem. Fortunately, there are ways around working without too much pain.
The Gyrokinesis method was originally designed for dancers who needed to be educated about ‘how to move without pain’ and to create awareness of self. Once we become more aware of our body in movement, we can adhere to this principle. This method also helps dancers to find true rotation and balance without impact.
Like the Gyrokinesis Method but want to know more about the Gyrotonic Method?
I present to you a series called WISE WORDS, which will feature short interviews from influential, up and coming and young artists, dancers, and teachers alike.
Let’s all step into the minds of these professionals to not only find inspiration but to get to know them and relate. First up, New York/L.A. based dancer and choreographer, Norbert De la Cruz III on dealing with harsh dance critics, staying fit and happy, and the importance of finding our own true calling.
What is your dance training/education background?
Predominantly Ballet and Contemporary Dance. I trained privately in ballet with two coaches from the age 12-17. [I also] attended the L.A. County High School for the Arts and completed my training at The Juilliard School in NYC.
What are you up to now?
I am now a freelance choreographer and teacher based in NYC and L.A. I’m currently working adjunct as a guest choreographer with SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance and the University of Richmond.
Describe the reality of your daily schedule.
The freelance schedule varies. There are times when you are in 3 different cities within a month, or stationed in a place for 2 months as a choreographic teaching guest or working adjunct at a university or college conservatory on top of teaching workshops on the off days. There’s a lot of time off needed as well. I use that time away to develop my material and practice my lesson plans.
I rent out studio space in [New York] to privately develop phrase material that I cannot do in my smaller apartment living space. I spend a few hours sitting and responding to emails and also planning out what the following year could potentially look like.
What have you learned from experience in the ‘real world’ that has helped you grow and find positive change?
I’ve learned that not every audience member is going to like my work. Also, every one is a critic and you never know what mood people enter the theatre in. As a choreographer, I can’t be jaded or affected by the harsh criticism otherwise it drains the life out of me.
My self esteem was at a low when I had gotten a bad review or when I would overhear audience members criticize my work right in front of my face. In a result-driven industry, there’s an intimate process and value of creativity that viewers do not quite see.
They don’t know the labor and service required in the rehearsal space to keep the art alive. I’ve learned to take criticism lightly and to value the feedbacks that help improve the following work.
What really keeps you going?
Food. Good food. As well as my partner who keeps me grounded and sane; my family who cares and loves me unconditionally; and a feel good music playlist.
How important is risk-taking?
Very important. You are only able to experience a great change in your work and self if you take these risks. Whether you risk looking like a fool or take a chance on a particular opportunity, you need to be able to fight and wrestle your internal monsters and go for it.
Otherwise, it’s a wasted time that leads to regrets. There’s enough people and voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough, therefore in order to take risks, we need to drop the ego and recollect what is truly and actually important to our work and well-being.
Who are a few influential people that you’ve worked with and/or met?
As a dancer, I’ve had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Dwight Rhoden, and Desmond Richardson. I’ve met and have been mentored by internationally renowned choreographers such as Jorma Elo, and Nicolo Fonte.
What are your ‘go-to’ strategies to keep your mind and body healthy in shape as much as possible?
Along with lunch and dinner, I eat a decently portioned breakfast every morning. Green tea to drink or honey ginger in the morning. Have snacks throughout the day. Food=energy.
As I don’t dance professionally full time anymore, I have to keep up with body conditioning and properly warming up hours before my rehearsals and even before I leave the house.
I would do about an hour to 1.5 hours of yoga, Pilates, trunk stabilization, into a light ballet barre. That’s helped me cope with my arthritic hip pain as well as being able to walk evenly and properly in the street.
Any advice for budding dancers and performing artists alike?
Don’t take anything personally. Drop your ego. Know what healthy competition is. Acknowledge that every one is bred and born into this world very differently. After training as a dancer, it is likely that many of us will have different trajectory paths and callings towards our true profession and purpose.
Be a genuine person first before transforming into “the artist.” Acknowledge that you are still a human being and understand all the consequences, the success, and failures that follow with just being human. Pick yourself up over and over again.
Follow Norbert De La Cruz III and his works:
Gyrotonic [Exercise] has been the perfect addition in my training and performance as a dancer after battling with injuries for years and trying different kinds of crosstraining. Gyrotonic[Exercise] helped me understand where my movement starts and what parts of my body should be working less (with less tension) and which ones I was ignoring. Every Gyrotonic session gives me valuable information about my body, but also makes me trust it more. The body knows how to work efficiently if we listen to it and follow the nature of the movement, Gyrotonic[Exercise] is the perfect way to reconnect and strengthen your body.
– Maria, Ballet/ Contemporary Dancer, Pilates Instructor
What’s generally needed to enhance dance performance?
Healthy psychological levels
A sense of playfulness
What does the GYROTONIC® Method focus on?
Breathing patterns for optimal expansion and contraction
Maintaining less effort for more power and increased flexibility
Postural and movement alignment
Relating movement to everyday things, places, and objects
Whole body awareness
Rhythm and playfulness
How does the GYROTONIC® Method enhance dance performance?
Firstly, the method’s movement intention and philosophy is parallel, if not the same, to dance training and most movement.
The body is viewed as a functional instrument that is beyond aesthetics.
You have to accept and be honest with your own anatomical make up and eliminate the need to imitate someone else’s (e.g. flexibility, turnout).
It improves both postural alignment and alignment during movement by increasing awareness.
It emphasizes using necessary effort to avoid working ‘too hard’, mentally and physically.
Thus, it helps the body to exert an effective amount of energy for longer lasting power.
It helps to overcome old habits that previously increased injuries, aches and pains, even mental barriers.
It helps one to take risks safely, explore movements fully, oh, and HAVE FUN!