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What is Eurythmy ?

Cynthia Hoven photos

The movement art of eurythmy draws upon profound spiritual insight.

Every gesture of eurythmy engages body, soul and spirit.

In addition to being a beautiful performing art, eurythmy is a therapeutic modality, a special subject in schools, a tool in business consulting and team building.

Eurythmy was envisioned in the early 20th century by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, a visionary scientist of the spirit, whose mission it was to forge a fully conscious path of the spirit for the modern human being. In addition to giving thousands of lectures and writing many books, Rudolf Steiner also worked vigorously in the fields of practical social renewal through the arts and the sciences. And one of his most creative contributions is Eurythmy, an art of movement that brings mindfulness and movement together in a completely contemporary practice.

If we imagine a time long, long ago, we can think that human beings have always danced. Through all the cultures of all ages, we have danced our relationship to the stars, the planets, and natures. Our dances have been dances of celebration, worship, mourning, praise, and art. In the temples of ancient cultures, in the halls of the kings and the bards, the dancing human race spoke back to the Creator.

Eurythmy’s roots stretch deep into ancient mythological history, when priests and priestesses sang the meaning of the world into our dreaming consciousness at the dawn of earth time.

Yet eurythmy is unlike the other forms of movement, because the gestures of eurythmy sing and speak. The gestures of eurythmy begin as an exploration of the physical body, the life (or “chi”) body, and the emotional body. But we take a quantum leap in consciousness in eurythmy when we learn how to make meaning-filled movements. The gestures of eurythmy are not only emotionally expressive: they are drawn from the same fount of form and movement as intelligence and love as the sounds of speech and music. In the beginning, the eurythmy students experiences how these sounds teach us how we are connected to our deep spiritual sources. In time, they teach us how to have a positive, healing influence on our own health and on our surroundings.

The open throated Ah becomes a joyful opening of the arms and the heart; the warm rounded O becomes a loving embrace; the sinuous S is a slithering snake gesture. K embodies clarity, while B manifests the loving embrace of maternal love. In normal life, these powers remain unconscious, but in eurythmy we deepen ourselves into the archetypes of soul-spiritual movements, and learn to connect with them in mindful movements. I have found that this practice is a powerful, immediately accessible form of meditation, of connection with spirit. Read more about Eurythmy as a Personal Practice.

In Eurythmy as a Stage Art, great poetry and great music become visible, become embodied or incarnate in eurythmy, as eurythmy performers move alone or together through complex spatial forms couples with exquisite gestures, completely aligned with the words of the poet and the sounds of the music.

In Therapeutic Eurythmy, people learn to use the healing forces of the gestures and the feelings aligned with them to access spiritual forces of healing and rejuvenation. These can help with a variety of ailments, such as stress, sleeplessness, shortness of breath, and more.

Eurythmy with Children is a particularly delightful field of eurythmy, because it helps young ones to use their bodies in natural, harmonious, joy-filled movements. An entire eurythmy curriculum has been developed that gives children movement exercises appropriate for each age level. Eurythmy for young children is based largely around story and play, whereas older children as led through exercises that challenge their body coordination, laterality, spatial orientation, vigor, presence of mind and social cooperation.

You can also anticipate future lessons on this site that will describe the use of eurythmy in enhancing group dynamics in companies, organization and institutions.