Eurythmy is an expressive performing art, that is pursued in education, therapy and in social contexts (for example, ‘eurythmy in the workplace’).
This art form is a language that researches the creative forces in the sounds of speech and of music. The gestures and movements link to the human constitution (and express experiences of the soul).
The artistic means involve intensive study of the categories of speech and music: the sounds and rhythms of speech, musical sounds and intervals, harmonies, and so on. As an art form it is called 'visible music' or 'visible speech', as it can be performed with spoken text or with music, or unaccompanied.
In education: Eurythmy is studied today as an art form (basic training, level 6, BA). Post-graduate studies are offered in performing, education and in therapy (level 7, MA).
Rudolf Steiner was asked about a meaningful approach to movement, and introduced Eurythmy in 1911, which soon developed as an artistic discipline. Later upon request he covered what had developed in three lecture cycles in the period 1921-24 (see below).
Eurythmy therapy was previously (and sometimes still) called 'curative eurythmy'. It is an integral therapeutic process concerned with psychological and physiological well-being of mind, soul and body, complementing conventional medicine. The exercises are like 'inner gymnastics'
..a complete and detailed method of eurythmy therapy, in which we could directly experience that even today the creative and therapeutic power of the word ...is still at work
- rhythmic interplay between human physiology and formative forces in the world around us
- qualities of language and the dynamic contained in individual vowels and consonants,
- relationship between vowels and consonants and eurythmical movements and human experience
- the use of Eurythmy as therapy in healing, as it works from the soul with the etheric body
- positioning versus and/or comparison with Eurhythmics and Paneurythmy (see below)
- historical development, and some pioneers and/or famous eurythmists
- Lory Maier-Smits (1893-1971) developed Eurythmy with Rudolf Steiner in the period
- Else Klink (1907-1994) director of the Eurythmeum Stuttgart, the first training centre for Eurythmy founded by Marie Steiner in 1923, from 1935 until 1991. In 1945 she established the Eurythmeum Stage Group, which she also led until 1991. Her work contributed centrally to establishing Eurythmy as a performing art within the culture of Europe and internationally.
Eurhythmics, introduced by the Swiss musician Émile-Jaques Dalcroze (1865-1950), and also known as the Dalcroze method, is an educational method often through movement to teach musical concepts, including musical notation. It does not claim to be an art form.
from wikipedia: Dalcroze eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement, by allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic. Eurhythmics often introduces a musical concept through movement before the students learn about its visual representation.
Paneurythmy, although independent, shares certain characteristics with eurythmy, as expressive movement. A comparative paper (Peneva 2008) is listed in the references.
Beinsa Douno introduced paneurythmy as physical musical exercises in 1922 with an emphasis on giving and receiving and conscious exchange with the forces of nature. They have been done in large groups in early morning sessions, eg the sessions attended each year in August by some 2000 participants in the Rila mountains.
A comparison is in the paper by Penev below.
Lecture coverage and references
The four main lecture cycles by Rudolf Steiner are:
- GA277A: Eurythmy, its birth and development (period 1912-1924)
- 1921-GA315: Eurythmy therapy (8 lectures)
- 1924-02-GA278: Eurythmy as visible singing (8 lectures)
- 1924-GA279: Eurythmy as visible speech (15 lectures)
1920-09-12-GA271, in the GA271 course on 'Art and Knowledge of Art'
In eurythmy we present in the form and movement of the human organism a direct external proof of a man's share in the life of the supersensible world. When people do eurythmy they are linked directly with the supersensible world. Whenever art is formed from a truly artistic conviction it bears witness to the connection of the human being with the supersensible world.
Besides an art form, Eurythmy is also used in education (developing the child complementary to eg gymnastics), in therapy and even in agriculture.
References and further reading
- Rudolf Steiner: ‘Eurythmy as Visible Singing’ (2019) Rudolf Steiner: ‘Eurythmy as Visible Speech’ (2019)
- Marjorie Spock: 'Eurythmy' (1980)
- Thomas Poplawski:
- 'Eurythmy Rhythm, Dance' (1998)
- 'A Short Introduction to the Art of Movement' (2015)
- 'Eurythmy: A Short Introduction to Educational, Therapeutic and Performance Eurythmy' (2020)
- Magdalene Siegloch:
- 'Lory Maier-Smits' (1993)
- 'How the New Art of Eurythmy Began: Lory Maier-Smits, the First Eurythmist' (1997)
- John Ralph: The complete Discover Eurythmy' (2009)
- Annelies Davidson: 'Eurythmy and The English Language' (2015)
- Werner Barfod: 'The zodiac gestures in Eurythmy'
- Rudolf Steiners Angaben zur Eurythmie in verschiedenen Sprachen
- Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt: Fundamental Principles of Curative Eurythmy (1978, original in DE in 1962)
- Wilhelm Uhlenhoff: The Children of the Curative Education Course (2008)
- Hans-Broder and Elke von Laue: 'The Physiology of Eurythmy Therapy' (2010, also in DE)
- Rudolf Steiners Angaben zur Eurythmie - Krankengeschichten aus Arlesheim und Stuttgart (Norman Kingeter, Rob Schapink)
- Hans-Broder Von Laue: 'Zur Physiologie der Heileurythmie'
- Peter Selg: 'Der Kampf um die Heileurythmie im Spannungsfeld von therapeutischer Gemeinschaft'
- Beinsa Douno: 'Paneurhythmy' (1938) - freely downloadable in PDF
- Ludmila Chervencova: various research papers on paneurythmy
- Boyanka I. Penev: Paneurythmy and eurythmy - philosophy and practice (2008)