Sarah Gibson* is positively enthusiastic about the benefits of ESSENTRICS™, a dynamic workout program she is teaching at Les Studios. Devised by former National Ballet of Canada dancer Miranda Esmonde-White, the technique simultaneously lengthens and strengthens every muscle in the body. The result is greater joint mobility and long, lean lines, says Gibson. “It’s accessible to everybody, and it’s easy on your joints as you’re using your own body resistance.”
A former Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal (LGBCM) dancer, Gibson had stopped dancing in 2006, mainly due to injuries. Though she didn’t want to stop, she transitioned and received her ESSENTRICS™ instructor certification six years ago. She began teaching soon after. Drawing on principles of tai chi, the workout builds on smooth, flowing movements that create balance and health, and link anatomy to movement.
Her early morning 8 a.m. class draws a wide range of people – dancers, athletes, and non-dancers, some of them well into their 70’s. Gibson says music is a big part of the workout, keeping people engaged and motivated. A common goal for the class is to increase strength, flexibility, overall mobility, and reduce pain. The class has an impact on people’s lives. “People say they feel better, their bodies feel good,” she says. “Exercise gives you energy.”
Gibson is also a proud and busy mother of three girls, aged 10, 7 and 5. And at this time of the year, rituals and traditions are very much the emphasis of family life. Gibson hails from a small town in Ontario. She recalls doing The Nutcracker season after season and missing festivities at home. Now she’s building other traditions with her own brood, taking her daughters to LGBCM’s performance of the seasonal classic. But the heart of the holiday time is family, she says. “It’s so exciting for my daughters to be together with their grandparents and cousins.”
*Since this article's wrtiting in 2017, Vahé Yegoyan has sinced replaced Sarah Gibson as ESSENTRICS ™ teacher.