Creating the Character: Gyrotonic for Actors
It’s no secret that actors need to have flexible, supple, strong bodies. Our craft demands that we be malleable, able to mold our bodies almost like a shape shifter into the uniquely different life and physical expression of each character. Can you do this? Can you also undo this and get back to your own, personal uniqueness?
The actor’s body does not need to look like any particular thing. Actors do not need to have the ripped physique of Wolverine or the speed and agility of Lara Croft. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like, but it does matter how accessible it is to you. Do you have access to your body’s full expression? Gyrotonic can get you there, and it can get you back to neutral as well.
Getting Back to Neutral
When I was younger, I was in a production of West Side Story. In one scene, the character Anita is attacked by gang members and I was on stage for the action. I remember running off stage after the scene and feeling how tense the entire cast was. We were all so young and we didn’t know how to release the intense feelings and body tension brought on by witnessing the staged reenactment of a brutal attack. It was difficult to move on to the next scene and many of us were in tears backstage afterward, all momentum felt lost. We carried that trauma in our bodies all the way through the curtain call and most of us probably took it home with us, too.
Imagine playing Richard III – Shakespeare’s famous hunchback character – and holding your body in a hunched over position for hours during rehearsal and performances.
When your role on stage or screen embodies imbalance, how do you bring your body back to its natural, flowing, balanced energy state?
The Gyrotonic Method can give you the tools to rid your body of the after-affects of being in contorted positions.
Tips for Recovering the Flow of Energy
After performing a physically challenging or emotion-laden scene, try these easy maneuvers to restore the state of peace in your body.
Relax the Whole Body
Lay down (or, if you’re in a public space, just sit and lean against a chair for support). Feel the fatigue in the soles of your feet, in your toes and your shins. Feel the tension in your thighs and then let them relax. Allow your belly to open and expand gently. Let your ribs fill with air. Go from the bottom of your feet through the crown of your head, imagining deep relaxation in each body part.
Give Your Shoulders Some Love
Squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears tightly. Slowly let them drop back down and take a deep breath.
Keep a Joyful Imagine in Mind
Before you step into rehearsal or performance, keep an image in your back pocket that makes you smile. Maybe it’s the big wet kiss your dog gave you last week, or the mad dash your cat made for the catnip yesterday. When leaving the performance, take a moment to recall this joyful expression of life and let the tension of the scene slip away.
Through Gyrotonic exercise, you can learn how to be relaxed with strength. Every single Gyrotonic movement is designed to incorporate core strength because you can’t move freely if you’re not strong.
If you’re ready to free your body and explore your creative movement, call or email me to get started with your first Gyrotonic session.
GYROTONIC®, GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®, GYROKINESIS® and The Art of Exercising and Beyond® are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp. and are used with their permission.
@2013-2022. All Rights Reserved, Hummingheart Studios