Friday, October 7, 2011

A Journey into GYROKINESIS® Movement Training

This post was written by Sally Radell, Professor of Dance at Emory. Sally is teaching a free gyrokinesis class at Emory tomorrow, Saturday, October 8. Please see the events section of our Facebook page for more details:

As dancers we are always working to listen to our bodies, expand boundaries, build our strength, hone our ability to respond and to continually explore and maximize our expressive potential. It is with these desires that I stumbled upon gyrokinesis movement training about eighteen months ago. I particularly wanted to find a training form that I really connected with and that focused on core strength. Former Emory dance faculty member Amanda Lower recommended it to me. So I began taking classes at CORE studio in Atlanta, which at the time was the only studio in Atlanta that taught gyrokinesis, and thus my journey began.

Gyrokinesis feels like dancing. It is filled with circular, spiral, and peripheral movement that originates from the core, very Laban-like, and I loved it. It pushes one's body beyond its limitations and focuses on core strength, use of breath, and continuous flowing movement. The functional capacity of one's body is increased in a harmonious way through this work. Its development began about thirty years ago by injured dancer Juliu Horvath as a way to strengthen and bring movement back into his body. It is frequently taught at Pilates studios and is starting to be taught in university dance programs across the country as a somatic technique to train dancers. It was clear to me that this would be a great movement training form to support and facilitate the technical growth of our dancers at Emory. I decided that I would pursue my teacher certification in the gyrokinesis work so I could bring it to Emory and the larger community.

The certification process in Gyrokinesis takes from one to two years. The first step, after training in the material for at least six months, is to take a pre-training six day course. The classes meets for about 5-6 hours a day and involves an intensive total immersion into the material to the point where one can develop a personal practice to perform on a regular basis. Within about three months aspiring teachers then take the next step, a nine day foundation course. The classes meet for six hours a day and students dive even deeper into the material. This part can be physically grueling and exhausting but it also feels great and is transformational. This course culminates in teaching the material to other students in the class. Now the apprenticeship begins--students go out and teach a minimum of thirty apprentice classes in their communities. Up to this point all the training can happen in Atlanta. The next and final step is to fly to one of the certification centers in the world (Miami, Germany, Mexico City, or Australia) and participate in a two day final certification course. There are currently about 3000 gyrokinesis movement educators worldwide. I have finished the entire training process except the final step, which I plan to do this coming spring.

Presently I am teaching on-going gyrokinesis classes at Emory and will soon start in the Atlanta community. The work has been received well by dancers and members of the general population. One of its strengths is its versatility. The intensity of a class can be dialed up or down depending on the needs of the individual student. Its calming, affirming, continuous, circular movement appeals to the more mature mover, and the intense core strengthening work and flexibility is ideal for the professional dancer. The work has enriched my movement life and I know the lives of many others.

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