Gerrit Onne van de Klashorst (1927 – 2017)

The Founder of Dispokinesis

Gerrit Onne van de Klashorst, born in Aerdenhout, Holland, in 1927, began to play the piano at age five, later adding the violin, the cello and singing. When he was 19 years old, he lost two fingers in an accident, which abruptly ended his musical career. From then on, he focussed all his attention on the subject of disposition, which had always interested him He looked for the origins of the specific ailments of musicians and their problems related to musical performance and tried to find ways to resolve them. In 1948 he started studying physiology, anatomy and human kinetics in Leiden and Utrecht, eventually developing a holistic approach he called Dispokinesis, which, either through teaching or therapy, would enable musicians to deploy their full potential. Literally, the name Dispokinesis means: To freely dispose (lat. for disponere) of one’s movement (gr. for kinesis).

In 1953 he began working as a physiotherapist in Wageningen. In 1959 his Institut van de Klashorst was incorporated into the Pieter Pauw–Hospital in Wageningen, where a close collaboration with most medical disciplines was achieved and where Dispokinesis was used as an independent treatment complementing physiotherapy. In the 1960’s the Institute began to offer courses and seminars, later also a continuing education program in Dispokinesis for musicians and physiotherapists. In 1968 van de Klashorst established a post-academic continuing education centre for musicians and physiotherapists in Wageningen.

Already early on G.O. van de Klashorst realized that the cause for the many forms of indisposition of musicians could only be found if this phenomenon was approached in a holistic way. With his research in anatomy, neurophysiology and developmental psychology (and within this field especially thanks to his findings on sensorimotor developments, he discovered the deep roots of physiological and psychological indisposition. If undetected, these various forms of indisposition mutually reinforce each other and seriously impede musical performance and free expression. Based on his findings, van de Klashorst developed a series of exercises, which he called the Original Shapes of Posture, Breathing and Movement (German: “Urgestalten”). Simultaneously, he developed specific exercises for instrumental and vocal technique, as well as ergonomic aids for musicians.