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The Art of Exercising and Beyond ® by Juliu Horvath
Historique Juliu Horvath

The GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM® was created by Juliu Horvath who is of both Romanian and Hungarian origin. Juliu Horvath was born into a family of three children in 1942 in Temesvar, Romania.

His love for movement was apparent from the time he was a small child. During his youth he excelled at swimming, gymnastics and rowing. He started studying dance when he was 19, and by the time he was 21, was a principle dancer for the Romanian National Ballet Company. While on tour in Italy in 1970, he defected from Romania. He subsequently lived in a refugee camp in Italy for six months. After receiving political asylum in the United States, he moved to New York City

After arriving in New York, Juliu did whatever he needed to do in order to survive, from painting houses to dancing on cars in Central Park. During this time he also began to audition for dance positions, and he performed in civic ballets. Juliu was spotted and hired by someone at the New York City Opera. He also danced for a special tour company with international stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Jacques d’ Amboise and Melissa Hayden. Juliu danced as a guest artist at the Radio City Music Hall for some time before he went on to secure a position as principal dancer with the Houston Ballet.

While with the Houston Ballet, Juliu ruptured his Achilles tendon, bringing his dancing career to a sudden halt. After this injury, Juliu moved back to New York City, where he started to be slightly more lenient with himself and he began practicing yoga.

As he got deeper into his movement and meditation practices, he began having profound energetic experiences.

He moved to the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands in 1977. There he built a small, one-room hut in the mountains and spent the next six years studying yoga and meditation. During this time he discovered inner-body works and he gained new insights into movement and healing; from these insights he began to create his own unique exercise method. Here he developed a system that he calls ‘Yoga for Dancers’.

Juliu returned to New York City in the 80s and he first started teaching is method in the STEP Studio on Broadway and in Central Park. Once he had enough students he opened he own workshop: the White Cloud Studio.

In the beginning, most of Juliu’s students were professional dancers. As demand for his classes grew, and the diversity of his clientele increased, Juliu refined Yoga for Dancers, creating a class format that almost any person could perform, regardless of age or state of health. He named this refined version of Yoga for Dancers ‘the GYROKINESIS® Method’. The original Yoga for Dancers movements are still taught as part of the GYROKINESIS® Level 2 Program.

At White Cloud Studio, Juliu continued to develop and refine the method he created on St. Thomas. It was here where he began to develop the GYROTONIC® Method, and his GYROTONIC® equipment. He dreamed of a machine that would help dancers to improve rotation and to perform better pirouettes. This dream and his creative energy led him to develop the GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM®, as we know it today: The GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods quickly gained an international following, becoming popular in Europe, Asia, and Australia, as well as in the USA. The Gyrotonic Expansion System has now grown to encompass over 7800 Trainers in 52 countries.

Juliu continues to create new programs for the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods. He also conducts teacher training courses internationally and continues to develop new GYROTONIC® equipment, and refine existing equipment designs. He is always developing a more common sense approach to health and wellbeing, as he puts it, in a “seriously un-serious way”.