Benefits of Ballet
excerpt Elle Canada- Doris Montanera
For yoga and pilates devotees, ballet-inspired Gyrotonic is the new way to get physical.
A half-hour before the launch of her new pilates studio, still surrounded by the chaos of carpenters and sawdust, Vivian Nickels discovered Gyrotonic while flipping through a magazine. “The pictures caught my eye. They were great shots of dancers on a Gyrotonic machine,” she says. “I immediately wanted to pursue it.” Her first experience left her floating. “I was totally amazed at how my upper body felt, like there was space between my joints,” she says. “I knew this was the next step, beyond pilates.
That was 11 years ago. Now Nickels (of Body Matrix) is one of three certified Gyrotonic instructors in Toronto. A typical one-hour training session has her helping clients scissor kick as they lie on a bench connected to a seven-foot wooden rack. From here, pulleys, tension cords and weights guide them through the moves like life-sized marionettes.
While it looks like an instrument of torture, New Age fitness fanatics and body-conscious celebrities like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Teri Hatcher and Kim Cattrall call Gyrotonic the best new exercise-think yoga with resistance. It has already taken off in trend-setting centres like New York, L.A. and London, and has spread through most of Europe, Australia and even Southeast Asia. Now it’s finally growing in Canada, thanks to word of mouth.
Juliu Horvath, a former Romanian ballet dancer, created Gyrotonic while trying to develop an apparatus that would perfect the dancer’s pirouette. Although he started building the machine in 1984, Gyrotonic remained a secret of dancers training at his White Cloud studio in New York for almost a decade. Over the late ’80s, the equipment evolved to meet the needs of non-dancers and the injured, growing in popularity as it did so.
“Gyrotonic is more holistic than pilates, which, in some respects, is outdated,” says Nickels. In comparison to pilates, which came about in the 1920s, Gyrotonic is relatively new. Horvath continues to build upon his exercise, so Gyrotonic is constantly evolving. And where pilates focuses on core strength, Gyrotonic works the whole body — in 3-D…read the complete article