Like most things in life, the best way to know it is to experience it. So with Eurythmy, a new art of movement which brings sound in speech and tone to expression, the best way to experience it is through having a class or demonstration. So, I very much hope to offer each one of you a beginning experience through parent nights, the public class or during our performance on November 19. The following are a few quotes that I selected in an effort to elucidate this integral aspect of Waldorf Education; Eurythmy. These are quotes which are taken from Anthroposophy, the new spiritual science that is the foundation of Waldorf Education, Eurythmy, Theraputic Eurythmy, Bio Dynamic Farming, Anthroposophical Medicine, New Architecture, and countless other initiatives that Rudolf Steiner brought into the world at the turn of the century.
"Both for health and character-building Eurythmy is an essential element of the Waldorf curriculum. From the health point of view, it dissolves deposits, sediments and, in doing so, prevents illnesses. From the point of view of character, it develops capacities in the child for his whole life: a special strength of will, the ability to listen, skill and agility." Nora Von Baditz
There are countless eurythmy exercises andchoreographs that I do with the children that fulfill the previous mentioned health giving benefits as well as developing dexterity, strengthening memory and, most importantly cultivating the ability to think clearly and freely. Every grade is met differently, which challenges them where they are in their development. There is also a social aspect of Eurythmy. Working in this way develops the skills later in life to listen well, understand and truly work well with others; the ability to meet and confront social difficulties with a positive and creative good will.
We have social forms that 'cultivate inner harmony', 'awaken strength and initiative for work', 'counteract muddled thinking', 'counteracting vanity, ambition and self-centeredness', 'strengthening adaptability, versatility' and so many more.......
"Moving the letters of a word in eurythmy makes the children aware of the many 'secret' letters in our language. Thus the children's awareness is heightened, and the words imprint themselves more firmly in their memory through the imaginative quality of eurythmy. This develops strength in their spelling and pronunciation." Molly Heider
In Eurythy we are moving sounds. Every sound has a unique quality when spoken and we enter into these qualities through imaginative flowing gestures that take hold clearly of the spoken word. We enter into the rhythm, structure and meaning of many, many ancient poems, stories and sagas.
"Speech is a universal means of expression for the human soul. Those who enter deeply and without prejudice into the realities of speech will realize that the breath which we expel from our lungs, our organs of speech and song, when vocalized and given form by means of the lips, teeth and palate, is really nothing else than gesture in the air. Only in this case these air-gestures are projected into space in such a way that they conjure up sounds which can be heard by the ear. All that can be perceived by super sensible vision, all that can thus be learned about the nature of these forms and gestures of the air, can be carried into movements of the arms and hands, into movements of the whole human being. There then arises in visible form the actual counterpart of speech. One can use the entire human body in such a way that it really carries out those movemnets which are otherwise carried out by the organs connected with speech and song. Thus there arises visible music and visible speech- the art of Eurythmy." Rudolf Steiner
In tone Eurythmy, we are entering deeply into music, through gestures for tones, interval, major and minor elements. We move melodies, rhythms and pitch in Eurythmy. In this way we are experiencing the depth and breadth that the whole world of music can bring as nourishment to the human being.
"I like Eurythmy because it makes me more aware of my emotions and how I feel. I am always more energetic after a class and you really do have to express yourself from inside, which makes it a free form of expression." Former SWS 8th Grade student
"After taking the adult Eurythmy class for so many years and entering so deeply into the movements and choreography, I can appreciate so much how difficult what the children are doing up there, from having done it myself. Most people might think it is easy or they are just walking around up there, but I know how challenging it is and what an amazing job they are doing at it." Olga Lamburt SWS parent and handwork teacher
~Submitted by Shannon Weiler, SWS Eurythmist