The name Eurythmy is rooted in ancient Greek culture and means the good, the beautiful rhythm. It is more than a dance, which expresses feeling through rhythm, flexibility, and form in movement.
Eurythmy goes beyond that, aligning with the formative forces of the human being. Therefore, it has a generally harmonizing effect on the student. This kinetic art opens the possibility of expressing the individual’s “wholeness,” humanity and potential through the interaction with the other arts and other people.
It can invigorate one student; it can calm down another– through moving each towards balance. It promotes dexterity, strength and vitality. It supports the integration of feeling, thinking and will; bringing abilities acquired in other subjects into complementary relationships.
During a Eurythmy lesson, classical music and poetry, various rhythms, stories and fairy tales, geometric forms, traditional and intrinsic floor patterns, concentration and integration exercises are the focal points for the movement. Copper rods, Eurythmy spheres, the Eurythmy staffs, silk veils and beanbags are often used to intensify that focus and strengthen its benefit. In effect, the object is the student’s entire self.
Classes in the lower grades work through imagination, play and rhythmical integration. In the middle grades, technical skill and greater variety is gained. In high school, individual initiative and artistic expression are developed in conjunction with social applications that require more complex material and conscious coordination. Ultimately, performance is an integral part of this modern art.
Founded by Rudolf Steiner in 1912, academies for the art of Eurythmy developed all over Europe and a vivid cultural life bloomed with stage companies, traveling throughout the world. Out of the artistic seed and the need for sensible movement in the education sprang forth the pedagogical Eurythmy. It was added to the practical, musical, mathematical and linguistic arts already in the curriculum and is now practiced by students in schools world-wide.
The last branch of Eurythmy was inspired by the medical work of Dr. Ita Wegman. She began using the harmonizing movements of therapeutic Eurythmy along with other holistic and alternative treatments. Therapeutic Eurythmy has been found to be especially successful for the healing of chronic diseases.