Eurythmy Article Part 2

Here’s the second part of the article.

Why have I never heard of eurythmy?

Because it started in Europe and, like all dance companies and orchestras, needs financial support. There are big professional companies that perform all over Europe with live orchestras. The Stuttgart Eurythmy Company was asked to choreograph and perform the dance section in Gluck’s opera, Orpheus and Eurydice at the Paris Opera. There are approximately thirteen training centers in Europe, which includes South Africa and Russia, as opposed to one established in North America. The one in Boulder, Colorado, which is new, is the second one in this country.

Do most eurythmists get jobs as performers?

Many eurythmists work as teachers in the Waldorf School movement which teaches eurythmy to all the children from kindergarten through high school. Why have the Waldorf Schools taken up eurythmy? They believe it promotes health, as did the ancient Greeks. But, it also develops motor-nerve and muscle coordination, especially when the children work out with copper rods. There is a lot done in public education for the intellect, through computers which are impersonal, and we do quite a bit to develop a sense of competition by the use of aggressive will forces through sports, but what we neglect badly is the development of the feeling life through art. Of course, children have a strong feeling life or soul life, but is it nurtured, refined and guided.

Isn’t that a bit rough on sports?
They do promote team play. Yes, they do, but always with the aim of winning at the expense of someone else. Eurythmy is extremely social. We even do some forms that have been developed just for their social aspect. Of all the arts, eurythmy may be the most social. Of course, theater requires team play, but then you have leading roles and supporting roles. There are no leading roles in eurythmy unless you do a solo piece. Playing in an orchestra is very social, but painting means you are alone with your canvas, sculpture is individualistic, writing is very solitary.   It’s a concept often mentioned in programmes about education but rarely covered adequately.  Take for instance the various educational resources on the BBC website.  It has comprehensive coverage at least if you use a VPN to access the full BBC site, yet there is little mention of Eurythmy.

Does eurythmy have other applications?

Yes, it’s widely used as a healing art. There are sets of exercises for specific illnesses. Curative eurythmists have been hired by schools and clinics, but usually they work in private practice with a qualified medical doctor. Some eurythmists are developing “eurythmy in the work place”, so that all the employees do eurythmy before sitting down to their desks, or standing behind the counter. Eurythmy has been done in prisons, wedding ceremonies, and as part of church services.

What exactly do curative eurythmists do?

There are certain sequences of sounds for specific illnesses. For instance L-A-O-U-M for shortness of breath. This exercise is good for heart patients. “L” is used to improve circulation.

This sounds a bit way out.

Well, the Native Americans do rain dances. It is not only their intentions that are important, but the sequence of sounds in their chants. Those sounds affect the surrounding atmosphere. Julius Caesar reported that the ancient Druids could turn back the tide with their incantations. This knowledge of the magic quality of language has been lost to us. There are different groups, artists and healers, who are once again interested in exploring these connections. It was a natural part of ancient societies. Yogis can control their blood circulation. How does bio-feedback really work? Curative eurythmists also use certain exercises that are accompanied by imaginations. There are general, hygienic exercises that can be done by anyone, like Tai Chi. Some of these exercises are solely to promote healthy soul qualities like positivity and hope.

Additional Reading: Allan Taylor, Which is the Best BBC VPN?, Janes Press, 2017