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Curriculum Spotlight: Introduction to Eurythmy in the Classroom by Elsa Macauley

Eurythmy is an art form that is FUN!  It also takes concentration.  When working with Eurythmy, the lessons are planned according to the development of the growing child so that there is enough challenge to allow for individual growth, and enough success to build self-confidence. 

I began doing Eurythmy as a part of my Waldorf Teacher Training when I lived in Chicago.  I loved the way that the sounds of speech were able to become gesture so that poetry could be moved.  I began to experience the spoken word in a new way. 

In my youth I enjoyed singing in choirs and playing percussion in band and orchestra.  I also had a love for poetry and theater.  After doing Eurythmy, I was amazed that there was an art form which existed to help us deepen our relationship to language and to music while building new dynamic movement skills. 

These skills helped me to integrate what I was hearing into my own body.  My movement became an expression for poetry, grammar, rhythms, musical tones and intervals.  The forms which we moved in space were challenging to remember, and my consciousness had to be both within myself and in the surroundings.  I became more aware of the influence my movements had on those around me.  My coordination improved, and my thinking became clearer and deeper.

After having these experiences, I decided that I would become a Eurythmist.  I graduated from the Waldorf Teacher Training and moved New York to learn Eurythmy at Eurythmy Spring Valley.  After four years of full-time study I graduated and began to teach children and adults. 

Depending on the age of the children in a class the activities will differ.  Each class includes poetry or stories which relate to the curriculum accompanied by movement gestures of the sounds of speech; choreography in space of straight and curved lines in various degrees of difficulty including mirror picture forms and geometric forms as the children grow older; work with copper balls or rods to allow the children to find their own center as well as interact with each other; and musical elements of melody, rhythm and beat.

The fifth grade is now working on moving the five-pointed star which is the geometrical archetype of many flowers.  To move the star together they need to be able to both know their own path of travel from one point of the star to the next, and be aware of the others so that they pass without cutting anyone off.  They are at once centered within their own intention and movement and aware of those around them. 

To complement their botany block, I’ve brought them the photographic work of Karl Blossfeldt.  After looking through a book of his complete work, one of the students said, “Karl was a genius!”  The students picked out several photographs of flowers, for which they then came up with forms and gestures.  The photo shown is the first of Karl’s photographs which we moved in space.

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In middle school the students are going through a lot of changes in the growth of their bones as well as a new experience of their inner emotions.  In class, we are focused on regulating rhythms as well as going into levity and gravity.  One of these students recently wrote a short paragraph about his experience of his Eurythmy class.  His last statement was, “At the end of every Eurythmy class I feel enlightened.” Of course, as a Eurythmy teacher I can’t be more pleased to hear this!  Pedagogical Eurythmy strives to allow each student to come to a deeper experience of themselves and to bring them into harmony with the world.   - Elsa Macauley

 

Eurythmy Class, written by JJ Savage

In my eurythmy class there is a multitude of activities Masai and I do. First, we swap out outside shoes with our eurythmy shoes. After that, we take eight eurythmy rods and set them up like train tracks. Then we use the formation of the rods as an obstacle course. Next we do a geometric form using our arms and legs. Later we balance the rods on our heads and walk back and forth. Finally, we end with a closing verse that includes eurythmic movements. At the end of every eurythmy class I feel enlightened.