Waldorf education has a special component, the art of movement called eurythmy. It was begun by the innovative Rudolf Steiner. As a young student he was equally at home in the sciences and the arts. At that time, 1870′s and 1880′s, education was split and the students chose either the liberal arts high school or the technical- science and math- high school. Rudolf Steiner attended the technical high school and tutored students at the liberal arts high school. He was at home in both worlds. While editing Goethe’s scientific works Rudolf Steiner was also an art critic, he reviewed plays for a literary magazine. In 1910-11 he began what would be four major plays, called his Mystery Dramas, and he also began teaching the first eurythmist, Lory Meier-Smits.
Eurythmy is unique in that the art of movement is related to the sounds of speech – therefore poetry is made visible in all its lyric joy and dramatic force. Steiner explored the sounds of speech – how different they are – B, K, L or Ah or OOH! The gestures begin with the upright human stance, showing variations in posture, then moving over the earth – our feet connect us to the earth – and then the arms and hands which speak and carry the intention of the poetry, the gestures of the sounds. Eurythmy can be very effective as a solo art and it is also intensified when a group of human beings move together in eurythmy.
Tone eurythmy was created alongside the speech eurythmy. The tones and the intervals between the tones; moods of major and minor keys; rhythm, melody and beat – all are expressed in eurythmy gestures and movements of the body. Again, the artistic performance of tone eurythmy varies from solos to symphonies.
The Waldorf teachers at the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany wanted eurythmy for their students. Rudolf Steiner designed a curriculum where different aspects of eurythmy are taught at designated stages of development in the child’s life. The group choreography, the moods of the intervals and types of music all are designed to speak to the growing children and open them up to be better students. Eurythmy enhances concentration, flexibility of thought, social tact, and joy of learning.
Eurythmy is enjoyed by people in weekly classes or in workshops. Those who want to train to teach eurythmy and perform in a eurythmy troupe take an intensive training, usually four to seven years. After proficiency is achieved in eurythmy as a performing art, additional trainings are given for those who want to teach in Waldorf schools, become eurythmy therapists or offer Eurythmy in the Workplace.
As a student in the WISM, Waldorf Teacher: Elementary Education and Early Childhood Programs you will participate in weekly eurythmy sessions for eleven weeks during the eurythmy class.