Eurythmy is a part of the Art of Life. Through the Art of Eurythmy we lift our earthly being into the realm of infinity. In any artistic performance of Eurythmy we are dealing with the integration of many different art forms: poetry, music, dance, color (lighting,) human sculpture and the art of human interaction.
Philosophically, Eurythmy acknowledges a person's capacity to communicate through non-verbal gestures. Eurythmy is made up of discreet movements that represent various phonetic sounds. Eurythmy is one of Rudolf Steiner's proudest achievements; he says eurythmy is "art." While eurythmy has often been compared to modern dance, martial arts (e.g. tai chi), physical therapy, and performance art, eurythmy is none of these things.
Language and music are made visible in eurythmy ~ the inner qualities of speech and song are made visible. This is not an interpretation of words or music, but rather the implicit inner gestures, displayed in their authentic movement, feeling and character.
John Ralph says: The discipline of visible speech is quite different from the skills of visible singing. In visible speech the eurythmist uses gestures inherent in the vowels and consonants, moving spatial forms according to the content of the spoken poem or prose. By incorporating gestures that express soul moods, planetary and zodiac influences, the eurythmist also reveals what lives silently within the audible.
In visible singing, the eurythmist makes use of gestures for tones and intervals, making visible the pitch of the melody. The beat and rhythm can be shown as well as the harmony. The gestures are from the music as written in the score and shown in the character of the instrument playing. When the intervals between the notes of music are made visible, we can see what is inaudible in the music.
Speech has its own laws, as music does, which eurythmists have to obey. These laws are found in our etheric body and eurythmy is thus an art of etheric movement. The vital, life forces that surge through our etheric bodies include the forming power of the zodiac and planets. These can be made visible through their corresponding eurythmy gestures.
Language and Music as a Basis for Movement
Human sound carries all of life within it. The earliest people understood this truth when they developed the first names of people, experiences and things. They knew then that a name was not just a separate description. It was a reenactment of the unique spiritual and physical qualities of the wave, the tree or the snake. The sounds chosen held the essential qualities of the thing itself.
Though we may not be as aware as our ancestors of this reality, it remains true that the human voice is one of the most remarkable of instruments. It has the capacity to transform our inner experiences into another medium, sound. When the sounds of language and song are intoned, they set into motion, unique, yet invisible gestures through the air. Artistically expressed they reveal the specific gestures belonging to each consonant or vowel, each musical tone or interval. These innate forms living in sound, within our souls and in the world become the basis for the art form of eurythmy.
Eurythmy in its Healing Aspect
In 1921, with the Therapeutic Eurythmy course, Rudolf Steiner gave the basis for specific healing practices through Eurythmy. Here the “patient” learns to do certain exercises which specifically target his/her health problem and activates the healing properties with the body. The person engaged in this individualized therapy should also participate in Group Eurythmy to receive the full benefit and conscious awareness of the healing properties that pertain to Eurythmy.
Individual Eurythmy sessions focus on deeply-seated traumas to the body and soul, which over time can be accessed through the healing reality of Eurythmy. The spiritual reality of Eurythmy movements, stemming from creative energy, inherent in speech and music, meet with the inner qualities of the soul of each “patient.” People will come away with a feeling of greater well-being and empowerment and a way of looking at life as an Art of Living.