Ballet Dancers: Staying Fit With The GYROTONIC® Method

 Misty Copeland American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Image source:  Mark Seliger  

Misty Copeland American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Image source: Mark Seliger 

“What you put into your body is just as important as how hard you dance. I believe with the right training and an understanding of how to take care of your body, you can mold it to be whatever you want it to be.” ~Misty Copeland

"It’s 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and while most people her age are still asleep, New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is working out. Dressed in baggy sweatpants and a faded Bon Jovi T-shirt, her wet hair tied in a loose knot, she curves and arches her back while balanced on her knees, her arms tracing circles on gliding disks. Her trainer, Sebastian Plettenberg, looks on, “checking how her spine moves after a very full day yesterday.”

  Sara Mearns with trainer Sebastian Plettenberg at Gyrotonic Manhattan, Photo: Christopher Duggan

Sara Mearns with trainer Sebastian Plettenberg at Gyrotonic Manhattan, Photo: Christopher Duggan

During the past six years, as she shot to super-stardom, Mearns has been practicing Gyrotonic. The non-impact exercise methodology developed by Juliu Horvath involves three-dimensional, spiral movements and coordinated breathing to stretch and strengthen the muscles while stimulating the nervous system and opening joints. Mearns, currently getting over a back injury, credits it with cutting her healing time down considerably.

“It’s probably the number one thing dancers should do when recovering from something,” she says in between sets of scissor kicks on the Leg Extension Unit, a complex system of weights and pulleys, at Gyrotonic Manhattan on 57th Street.

Mearns is one of many leading dancers who have discovered the value of training outside the studio—not only when recuperating from an injury but also as a preventative measure. “As I’ve gotten older and started dancing more, I’ve been finding things in my body are off a little bit—or a lot,” she says, noting that she has scoliosis and an uneven pelvis. “So I need to work hard to keep my body in check.”

Mearns squeezes in an hour-long Gyrotonic session with Plettenberg five to six days a week, usually before her morning technique class. If he isn’t available to train her, she’ll go through some exercises on her own. “I can’t walk into class and just start. I have to warm up my body and my senses and find a rhythm before I get to the barre,” she says. “If I just go to class, I feel like my body is closed up like a clamshell. But if I do this I’m completely open and expanded, free to move in any direction and experiment more. I feel so much stronger and on top of my legs in class and rehearsal.” Via Dance Magazine

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American superstar Misty Copeland is also using the GYROTONIC® method as part of her training.  When asked about her workout routine, Copeland shared that her days consist of practice, eight hours daily, that help her tone and strengthen her body as she prepares for performances. But don’t think that during the off season she’s kicking back and relaxing. She hits the gym, specialized fitness classes and cross trainings like the rest of us to continue to stay in tip-top shape.

“Off season, I take Pilates floor mat classes, Gyrotonic on the Cobra Tower, and run on the elliptical machine for cardio — I don’t use any resistance because I tend to bulk up quickly.”

Because GYROTONIC® equipment is highly adjustable, it can be customized to fit each persons unique physique, and ability, adapting for things such as height, arm and leg length and physical ability.

To learn more about how the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis can be integrated into your training program, contact us:

5533 CANCHA DE GOLF, SUITES 106 & 107, RANCHO SANTA FE, CA 92091 | 858-771-1977 | STUDIO@GYROTONICRSF.COM

View Class Schedule: HERE

 

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