Gyrotonic Expansion System creator, Juliu Horvath, an ethnic Hungarian born in Timisoara, Romania in 1942, developed the Gyrotonic Expansion System after his personal struggle with chronic pain and injury. Horvath was a swimmer and gymnast before becoming a ballet dancer with the Romanian State Opera (currently known as the Timisoara Romanian National Opera) in his early 20’s. He defected from Romania in 1970 while touring with the Romanian State Opera in Italy. After spending 6 months in a refugee camp in Italy, Horvath was granted asylum in the United States, subsequently dancing professionally with the New York City Opera and the Houston Ballet.
Horvath tore his Achilles tendon, and herniated a vertebral disc while dancing with the Houston Ballet, injuries that ended his dance career. After these injuries, he moved back to New York City for a short time, where he began a regular yoga practice. Horvath 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, in an effort to rehabilitate his injuries, devoted the next six years to intensive yoga and meditation practices. During this period of intense self-study, Horvath began to develop what was once called “Yoga for Dancers” and has since evolved into the Gyrokinesis Method.
When Horvath left St. Thomas, he returned to New York City where he began to teach Yoga for Dancers at Steps on Broadway. He established the first Gyrotonic studio-White Cloud Studio, in 1984.In the beginning, most of Horvath’s students were professional dancers. As demand for his classes grew, and the diversity of his clientele increased, he 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.
At White Cloud Studio, Horvath continued to develop and refine the method he created in St. Thomas. It was here where he began to develop the Gyrotonic Method, and made the first pieces of Gyrotonic equipment. As of 2013, Horvath continues to create new programming for the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods. He also conducts teacher training courses internationally, continues to develop new Gyrotonic equipment, and continues to refine existing equipment designs. In 2013, the Gyrotonic Expansion System encompassed over 2500 Gyrotonic studios, with 7800 Gyrotonic, and Gyrokinesis Trainers practicing in 52 countries.