Page 20

BALLET (or

Gymnasts By Grace Kaywell 3 Tanglewood Court IT' est Palm Beach. Florida

GRACE NOTES With dance bein g such a vital part of the gymnastic performan ce it is my desire to sa lute - the outstanding teachers of the nation and ask them to write some of their . favorite exercises for this column. In that way gymnasts located in our fifty states will become acquainted with the outstandin g teachers in their comunity. If you have any special teachers whom I do not know please show them thi s article_ and ask 'them to forward suitable pictures and information to me at my home address, not to the magazine. This month we salute Gus Giordano of 614 Davis Street, Evanston , Illinois. Mr. Giordano began his professional career 'at the Roxy Theatre in 1948 . He was choreographer in sum~er stock in Rochester, New York with " Brigadoon", and "On The Town" (starring Nancy Walker) which were especially noteworthy. On TV he was with the Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Ed Sullivan , and Perry Como shows. He had a featured dance roll in "Wish You \Vere Here". You can see him currently on the commercial for the Bell Telephone TV Hour. He has been a regu lar judge on Chicago's Harvest Moon Ballroom' Festival, and he choreographed Northwestern University's famous W AA-MU show. Like other relentless perfectionists, he is never satisfied . He aims in his teachin g for a "Rega l Look" in the torso and head, isolation of parts. His students are taught to move the body part separately - hands, head, shoulders, etc. Beginnin g students seldom have the capacity for this feelin g, and he begins each of his classes with body stretches on the floor , working with ba~k and neck vertebral stretches_ This serves to warm up the body before any isolation movements are attempted. Body warm-u p progresses from a floor position to sitting, to kneelin g, and finally to standin g. At the barre there is a seco nd warm-up using the pelvis and thi gh to build body stren gth. It is at the barrethat the releve' foot comes into action. Once the student has sufficient stren gth to hold his balance he is tau ght to work without the barre. Such demanding bod y discipline teaches the student to "think" phys ically. It is question ed whether hi s dance techniques are ~ uitable for women since it uses stron.g move-

20

Gus Giordano

ments. Savs Gus Giordano " It is true that men look very" masculine if they are well trained and do this type of wo rk, but one has only to look at Cyd Charisse, Carol Haney, and Gwen Verdon , to realize how very feminine it can be too ". "The imp ortant thin g to keep in mind is the purity and the discipline of this technique. It mu st be worked at and absorbed"_ Tt has been my plea sure to work several hours under the direction of Mr. Giordano and I found his classes most inspirin g. He is a friend of Mr. Bud Beyer who also wri.tes for thi s magazine and is deeply interested in helpin g gymnasts. You can tell by the photos of Mr. Giordano ' that he can attain great elevation by usin g his own techniques which are described on the nex t pa ge. We salute you Mr. Giordano, and man y thanks for your inspirin g work. ..:-

*

MODERN J AZZ WARM-UP EXERCISES Presented by Gus Giordano Counts Are In Brackets. - Arm Movement In Itali cs Lay on your back on the floor. Arms stretched straight over your head. (1) Arch your back, raising your vertebrae as far off the fl oor as possible. Stretch as lon g as you can. (2) Bend your knees, round your back so that all

Profile for USA Gymnastics

Modern Gymnast - January 1962  

Modern Gymnast - January 1962