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Health Club Management

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Profile: Juliu Horvath

The founder of the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods talks to Kath Hudson

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 2
Before developing his Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, Horvath was a principal ballet dancer
Before developing his Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, Horvath was a principal ballet dancer
Gyrotonic has continued to grow via word of mouth. I quickly had people from all sorts of backgrounds and all kinds of disabilities coming to me who the medical community couldn’t help. As I came across different people with different problems and limitations, I started to adapt the technique

Speaking to Juliu Horvath I had the sense of speaking to a legend along the lines of Joseph Pilates or Patabhi Jois. Now aged 77, Horvath has told his life story so many times that he sounds almost weary having to tell it again, but it’s an intriguing tale.

Born in Romania, Horvath became the principal dancer for the Romanian National Ballet Company, but defected while touring with them in Italy, in 1970. After a spell living in a refugee camp, he was given political asylum in the US. After moving to New York, he did whatever jobs he had to do to get by until, once again, he started performing with ballet companies, alongside international stars, such as Margot Fonteyn.

While he was dancing, Horvath sometimes experienced lower back pain – as a result of a slipped disc when he was a teenager. This occasionally became serious, but no one in the medical community was able to help him, so he started looking into other modalities which could support his body and allow him to continue dancing.

Horvath became the principal dancer with the Houston Ballet Company, but his dancing career was brought to a sudden halt when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the late 70s. This was the catalyst for him to spend more time exploring his movement modality. Moving to a small hut in the Virgin Islands, he spent six years exploring yoga and meditation and gaining insights into movement and healing, which provided the foundations of the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Method.

A new movement modality
Horvath says his technique does to the body what opening the windows and spring cleaning does to a house. The movements look fluid, balletic and yogic. They open up and create space in the body, as well as serving to expand and elongate the joints.

Now there are some 16,000 trainers working in around 60 countries, but Horvath says this has all happened organically, via word of mouth. When he moved back to New York in the early 80s, he quickly gained a following in the dance community, as people wanted to know what he had been doing which allowed him to move so well.

“Initially my students were professional dancers who wanted to learn what I was doing and that was the beginning of my teaching,” he says. “It has continued to grow via word of mouth. I quickly had people from all sorts of backgrounds and all kinds of disabilities coming to me, who the medical community couldn’t help. As I came across different people with different problems and limitations, I started to adapt the technique.

“The exercises support the five basic movements of the spine: forward and backwards, side to side and spiralling. We combine these in any configuration, depending on the specific needs of the person and can adapt it to anyone’s limitation and also their goal. People have been coming back to me for more than 35 years – I take them to another dimension as they progress, because the dimensions are endless.”

The introduction of equipment
After a few years, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements. Now there are two strands: Gyrotonic classes use a range of specially designed equipment, which incorporate pulleys and sliding and rotating parts, which all support the body in opening up. Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, without equipment but to the same end.

“The body is like a musical instrument,” says Horvath. “With a violin if you over pull the cord then it won’t play the right note, but if you don’t pull the cord enough it also won’t play the note. You have to find the exact pull in each movement and each dimension so the music becomes possible.”

Over the past 35 years, Horvath has worked with many people and had countless success stories, including bringing prima ballerinas back from injury and prolonging their careers by another five or six years. He says one of his most interesting cases was in the early days, when he helped a man who was half paralysed from a stroke to walk again.

“I’m not stuffed with previous knowledge, I don’t have a book, I just experiment and find a way to work around it,” he says. “I don’t pre-meditate anything. I work with what is happening at the particular time. I didn’t dream how big this is going to get. I never imagined it would go to the dimension it is now. But it’s there, so we’re going with it.”

Certified trainers
People from all walks of life are leaving their jobs to become trainers: doctors, bank workers, physiotherapists. Training for either of the disciplines has four stages: pre-training, foundation training, a six to 12 month supervised apprenticeship and, lastly, the final certificate course.

Once qualified, trainers are expected to do continuing education courses, as Horvath is constantly making new discoveries: there are around 25 different applications for different physical issues, ranging from dancers and elite athletes to medical conditions.

“I’m still learning – I’m learning with my own limitations and the problems which people come to me with,” he says. “Every new person presents a learning curve. I don’t have a preconceived idea about what I’m going to do, I just figure out each time how I’m going to resolve the problem. The system is the vocabulary and it is up to the trainer to formulate the sentences for each individual.”

For this reason, work experience and self practice is a fundamental part of the training. All of the training is undertaken by the team of master trainers, with Horvath working with them to pass on his latest teachings.

Gyrotonic classes or Gyrokinesis classes are now available at 5,000 studios worldwide. Going forward, Horvath wants to continuing expanding the reach and growing the community, while not letting it grow so fast that it loses its purity. His current focus is on teaching courses which focus on harnessing the power of the breath to expand the mind and improve movement quality.

After a few years of practicing his method, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements
After a few years of practicing his method, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements
Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, while Gyrotonic classes utilise special equipment
Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, while Gyrotonic classes utilise special equipment
Trainers of the methods are required to undertake continuing education, so Horvath can pass on his latest teachings
Trainers of the methods are required to undertake continuing education, so Horvath can pass on his latest teachings
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/943479_818367.jpg
Juliu Horvath, the creator of the renowned Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, talks to HCM about his journey...
Juliu Horvath, Gyrotonic method Gyrokinesis, Kath Hudson,Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis,
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features

Profile: Juliu Horvath

The founder of the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods talks to Kath Hudson

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 2
Before developing his Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, Horvath was a principal ballet dancer
Before developing his Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, Horvath was a principal ballet dancer
Gyrotonic has continued to grow via word of mouth. I quickly had people from all sorts of backgrounds and all kinds of disabilities coming to me who the medical community couldn’t help. As I came across different people with different problems and limitations, I started to adapt the technique

Speaking to Juliu Horvath I had the sense of speaking to a legend along the lines of Joseph Pilates or Patabhi Jois. Now aged 77, Horvath has told his life story so many times that he sounds almost weary having to tell it again, but it’s an intriguing tale.

Born in Romania, Horvath became the principal dancer for the Romanian National Ballet Company, but defected while touring with them in Italy, in 1970. After a spell living in a refugee camp, he was given political asylum in the US. After moving to New York, he did whatever jobs he had to do to get by until, once again, he started performing with ballet companies, alongside international stars, such as Margot Fonteyn.

While he was dancing, Horvath sometimes experienced lower back pain – as a result of a slipped disc when he was a teenager. This occasionally became serious, but no one in the medical community was able to help him, so he started looking into other modalities which could support his body and allow him to continue dancing.

Horvath became the principal dancer with the Houston Ballet Company, but his dancing career was brought to a sudden halt when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the late 70s. This was the catalyst for him to spend more time exploring his movement modality. Moving to a small hut in the Virgin Islands, he spent six years exploring yoga and meditation and gaining insights into movement and healing, which provided the foundations of the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Method.

A new movement modality
Horvath says his technique does to the body what opening the windows and spring cleaning does to a house. The movements look fluid, balletic and yogic. They open up and create space in the body, as well as serving to expand and elongate the joints.

Now there are some 16,000 trainers working in around 60 countries, but Horvath says this has all happened organically, via word of mouth. When he moved back to New York in the early 80s, he quickly gained a following in the dance community, as people wanted to know what he had been doing which allowed him to move so well.

“Initially my students were professional dancers who wanted to learn what I was doing and that was the beginning of my teaching,” he says. “It has continued to grow via word of mouth. I quickly had people from all sorts of backgrounds and all kinds of disabilities coming to me, who the medical community couldn’t help. As I came across different people with different problems and limitations, I started to adapt the technique.

“The exercises support the five basic movements of the spine: forward and backwards, side to side and spiralling. We combine these in any configuration, depending on the specific needs of the person and can adapt it to anyone’s limitation and also their goal. People have been coming back to me for more than 35 years – I take them to another dimension as they progress, because the dimensions are endless.”

The introduction of equipment
After a few years, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements. Now there are two strands: Gyrotonic classes use a range of specially designed equipment, which incorporate pulleys and sliding and rotating parts, which all support the body in opening up. Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, without equipment but to the same end.

“The body is like a musical instrument,” says Horvath. “With a violin if you over pull the cord then it won’t play the right note, but if you don’t pull the cord enough it also won’t play the note. You have to find the exact pull in each movement and each dimension so the music becomes possible.”

Over the past 35 years, Horvath has worked with many people and had countless success stories, including bringing prima ballerinas back from injury and prolonging their careers by another five or six years. He says one of his most interesting cases was in the early days, when he helped a man who was half paralysed from a stroke to walk again.

“I’m not stuffed with previous knowledge, I don’t have a book, I just experiment and find a way to work around it,” he says. “I don’t pre-meditate anything. I work with what is happening at the particular time. I didn’t dream how big this is going to get. I never imagined it would go to the dimension it is now. But it’s there, so we’re going with it.”

Certified trainers
People from all walks of life are leaving their jobs to become trainers: doctors, bank workers, physiotherapists. Training for either of the disciplines has four stages: pre-training, foundation training, a six to 12 month supervised apprenticeship and, lastly, the final certificate course.

Once qualified, trainers are expected to do continuing education courses, as Horvath is constantly making new discoveries: there are around 25 different applications for different physical issues, ranging from dancers and elite athletes to medical conditions.

“I’m still learning – I’m learning with my own limitations and the problems which people come to me with,” he says. “Every new person presents a learning curve. I don’t have a preconceived idea about what I’m going to do, I just figure out each time how I’m going to resolve the problem. The system is the vocabulary and it is up to the trainer to formulate the sentences for each individual.”

For this reason, work experience and self practice is a fundamental part of the training. All of the training is undertaken by the team of master trainers, with Horvath working with them to pass on his latest teachings.

Gyrotonic classes or Gyrokinesis classes are now available at 5,000 studios worldwide. Going forward, Horvath wants to continuing expanding the reach and growing the community, while not letting it grow so fast that it loses its purity. His current focus is on teaching courses which focus on harnessing the power of the breath to expand the mind and improve movement quality.

After a few years of practicing his method, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements
After a few years of practicing his method, Horvath started devising equipment to support the movements
Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, while Gyrotonic classes utilise special equipment
Gyrokinesis classes are performed on chairs or mats, while Gyrotonic classes utilise special equipment
Trainers of the methods are required to undertake continuing education, so Horvath can pass on his latest teachings
Trainers of the methods are required to undertake continuing education, so Horvath can pass on his latest teachings
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/943479_818367.jpg
Juliu Horvath, the creator of the renowned Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods, talks to HCM about his journey...
Juliu Horvath, Gyrotonic method Gyrokinesis, Kath Hudson,Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis,
Latest News
There has been a "surge in appreciation" of exercise during lockdown, with people turning to ...
Latest News
Gyms and health clubs in Dubai, UAE, have begun reopening their doors today (27 May) ...
Latest News
HCM understands that the directors of énergie Fitness have brought in specialist company FRP Advisory ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted for a new David Lloyd Club in Bicester, Oxfordshire. The ...
Latest News
Aerobic exercise boosts blood flow into two key regions of the brain associated with memory, ...
Latest News
Gympass has launched a new digital platform as a response to the increase in demand ...
Latest News
Austrian medical health and wellness operator, Lanserhof, has launched a programme for people who’ve had ...
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HCM can report that Europe Active's annual thought-leader conference, the European Health and Fitness Forum ...
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Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Opinion
promotion
Elon Musk has plans to conquer Mars and these days the meat on your hamburger can be grown in a lab - so why are so many fitness businesses still using papers and pens to create workouts for their members?
Opinion: How the current pandemic may be helping the fitness industry to innovate
Opinion
promotion
The activity industry finds itself in a position of considerable threat. Two-thirds of the world’s gyms are closed – that’s 230 million members unable to attend a fitness facility, according to data platform fitNdata.
Opinion: Ensuring members return after lockdown
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Adidas calls on BLK BOX for flooring solutions at new World of Sports complex
Adidas believes that creators, just like athletes, need an environment that inspires their employees to perform and believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Bicester hotel opens purpose-built performance facilities to attract new target audience
The Bicester Hotel and Spa has launched purpose-built fitness and performance facilities to create a standalone, unique offering to attract a new demographic to the site.
Video Gallery
How to use the MZ-Bodyscan
MyZone
The Best Product for the Best Clubs Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Incorpore Limited
Incorpore Ltd is a leading fitness and wellness company which has been successfully delivering solutions ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Technogym
Founded in 1983, Technogym is a world-leading international supplier of technology and design-driven products and ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Fitness equipment
Stages Cycling: Fitness equipment
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-31 Aug 2020
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
11-12 Oct 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
27-30 Oct 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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