WHAT IS EURYTHMY?

Written by Angelika Warner, Eurythmy Teacher

Eurythmy began in 1912 when Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education, was asked if he could help to renew the arts of movement and dance.

Did you know that there are three specializations of Eurythmy? The following is an overview of each one:

Pedagogical Eurythmy

Pedagogical eurythmy was part of the first Waldorf school curriculum. We teach not just physical movement skills to the children, but we also engage the developing inner life of each student.

In Early Childhood, physical movement skills are necessary to explore the ever widening world space the child lives in. Children learn to imitate the adults and surroundings, including the eurythmy teacher. The eurythmist uses the verses and stories of the kindergarten, and through gesture seeks to make the world a beautiful place.

In Lower School, we continue to develop the skills of the physical body but now the emotional life is integrated through the grades as it becomes increasingly individualized in each student. Again the grades curriculum guides the lessons and the way gestures, movement skills and forms are taught.

Lastly, in High School, the young person has begun to reach a place in which they can begin to guide and fashion their own creativity and give it expression by means of their own movement. They have arrived at the beginning of artistic eurythmy, as you may have seen when our high school classes do their stage presentations. They have learnt many expressive movement skills over the course of their eurythmy school journey and have also gained tools for life.

 Eurythmy at Toronto Waldorf School

Therapeutic Eurythmy

Therapeutic eurythmy started in the first Waldorf school as the needs of individual children became apparent.

If we truly try to walk like someone else we quickly discover that every person has a unique movement. Healthy movement has a beautiful flow and balance to it. If someone is struggling physically, emotionally or has a learning challenge this harmonious movement is visibly disturbed.

Therapeutic eurythmy uses the processes of artistic and pedagogical eurythmy and turns the effect inward to help balance and harmonize. Each child or adult has a personalized program developed over the course of several weeks and practiced in one-on-one sessions with the therapeutic eurythmist. Homework can be given as each individual takes an active part in their own healing.

Artistic Eurythmy

Artistic eurythmy started as a part of drama and then became a stage art on its own.

As a eurythmist one must learn to train the body, its emotional content and its guiding spirit to move to the nuances of speech and music  speech not just as a vehicle for meaning but in the sense of being a creative forming dynamic with objective laws that shape and form it. From 26 letters we arrive at consonants that form, flow, sizzle and breathe, vowels that open in wonder or close in fear. We have grammar, poetry, and prose. In music we experience a world of sound based on pitch, rhythm, beat, tones and intervals, major, minor and dissonance.

As a eurythmist our body becomes the instrument through which we can make these processes visible and out of which we develop the forms you see on stage or do in adult classes.

I hope these few words can help you understand eurythmy better.  

Eurythmy at Toronto Waldorf School