“Eurythmy still has much to offer in the fields of the performing arts, pedagogy, social work and therapy.”
Visible speech, visible music
Eurythmy is language and music in motion. It makes visible vowels and consonants, word gestures and soul moods. The art of eurythmy is a bridge between sacred dances and the most modern forms of movement.
Moving to sounds or words is a primal need of human beings. Ranging from sacred dancing, through courtly and folk dances, to modern expressions of movement, where the emphasis is often on the purely bodily or on emotions. Among the new expressions of dance that emerged in the early twentieth century, Rudolf Steiner introduced eurythmy as visible speech and visible music.
Seeing vowels and consonants
In 1912, Rudolf Steiner began to develop the art of eurythmy. Vowels and consonants, word gestures and soul moods were translated into visible movements. Later, the musical elements were added: tones and intervals, pitch and intervals, resulting in melody and rhythm, cadence and melodic curves.
Every movement, especially artistic movement, lives in a play of tension and relaxation, alternating phases of concentration and fluidity. Expressed partly by the arms and hands, partly through choreography. The first ‘public performance of the art of eurythmy’ took place in the Pfauentheater/Schauspielhaus Zurich, on 24th February 1919.
Strengthen the overall quality of life
As an art movement today, eurythmy addresses the whole human being – body, soul and spirit. It allows movement to express itself on a more energetic level: for example, making its dynamic visible on stage through the amplification or reduction of space, experienced as a dynamic interplay of sounds and colours. Inner experience is immediately spoken to. Movement stimulates and intensifies the quality of life in all its aspects.
From solo to symphony
As an independent art form, eurythmy ranges in expression from solo performances to large choral and symphonic works. It is especially suited to contemporary poetry and music, which often contain a transcendental element that is not always readily brought to expression. The Goetheanum Eurythmy Ensemble offers regular performances, as well as hosting guest companies, both local and international, that offer a wide range of styles.
Eurythmy and the art of education
Eurythmy is a compulsory subject in Rudolf Steiner schools. Carried by the experience of the flow of movement, it heightens sensitivity for poetry and music. Eurythmy supports the reception and assimilation of general education, the inner development of personality and greater social awareness. It also helps in the coordination of gross and fine motor skills.
Eurythmy as social art
Through the practice of eurythmy, adults can discover and develop a range of faculties. Its healing power furthers awareness of oneself and one’s environment. It frees people from addictive, obsessive and mechanical behaviour and allows everyone’s potential to express itself. Meaningful relationships become experienced; what was hidden becomes visible.
Eurythmy in the workplace
Eurythmy plays an increasing role in the workplace, where life and organisational processes have to be identified, developed, structured and understood. It stimulates creativity and helps the expansion of professional and personal skills in all manner of professional groups in both managerial and executive contexts. It spans from personal meditative movement through social interaction to public performances.
Eurythmy among the healing arts
When developing the foundations of eurythmy, Rudolf Steiner always drew attention to the therapeutic aspect of certain deliberate sequences of movements. This applies particularly to the fields of education and social hygiene. For example, a sequence of consonants which has a stimulating effect, followed by one that has a calming effect.
Working in support of medicine, curative eurythmy is particularly helpful in the treatment of chronic and acute diseases, as well as in their prevention. It can have a calming, warming, relaxing, as well as antispasmodic and detoxifying effects on the organism, but it can also provide stimulation, tonics and sources of energy or freshness.
An extensive literature shows the results of intensive research carried out in all the areas we have cited. Eurythmy still has much to offer in the fields of the performing arts, pedagogy, social work and therapy.