The Eurythmy Association of North America asks the important question ‘What is Eurythmy Doing in School?’ and answers it in this blog post, by a Michael Hall school eurythmist. The answer(s) is (are) not complicated. Here are a few:
The most important educational task of eurythmy is to aid the incarnating processes of the growing child …
… the eurythmy teacher can lead the class through a Paradise, where they can learn to know the created and the creator.
… the child spirals into his own inner world, and out once again to the outer world. Repetition of this form with various verses strengthens the individuality in its first awakening.
Through the consonants eurythmy continues the work of the divine in the forming of the physical body and organs. Through the vowels eurythmy nourishes the growing soul forces.
Mathematics and grammar are learnt through eurythmy too (which is nonsense of course). So why don’t the children appreciate eurythmy? Why do they often hate it? No, honestly, I don’t expect the Eurythmy Association to admit it has to do with eurythmy. But, sure, they find many other factors to blame but eurythmy itself. Predictably:
The world in which we live at the moment is a materialistic one.
The author continues:
In our time of material values, when everything must be weighable and measureable, eurythmy enters as something totally alien and can be easily dismissed by our conditioned materialistic thinking, and this can already be manifest in the growing child.
No, the problem is not materialism manifesting in the child. It’s that a eurythmy is a hopeless school subject, taught by hopeless, desperate, child-hating eurythmists (who rarely deserve to be called teachers). Lots of children enjoy art, music, literature, and so forth. Most children despise eurythmy. And eurythmists blame materialism. Now, if there is any kind of school where they children are consciously kept from the materialistic horrors of this world — technology, popular culture, et c (the article mentions ‘television, films, and newspapers’) — it would be the waldorf school. And those schools, incidentally, are the only schools with eurythmy on the curriculum. And waldorf students — shielded, as much as possible, from materialism; instead taught about gnomes, angels and blob painting — hate eurythmy. Strange, isn’t it? Is it perhaps not time to ask if there’s something about eurythmy — and/or about the competency of the people who teach it — that causes this aversion? Back to the article:
… we must recognize that in doing eurythmy, we are revealing our innermost selves, laying bare our soul life and showing it in an artistic form to our audience, or teacher.
Oh, bullshit. This, again, is imagining the causes of children’s reluctance towards eurythmy — instead of finding out the real causes. Fantasy instead of reality — as usual.
… eurythmy is actually a very painful experience for most pupils.
Indeed. Because it is experienced as meaningless and boring. And sometimes because the children, bored as they are, attack each other.
This the teacher must recognize and carefully lead the pupils through this time, bringing a greater objectivity to the work, but at the same time seeking to enrich the inner experience that the pupils are having. With the right approach, eurythmy can help the pupil through these difficult years.
Luckily, the author has misdiagnosed the problem, because the eurythmist surely isn’t capable of dealing with the consequences of the mistaken diagnosis. Eurythmists aren’t mental health workers. They usually have enough personal problems themselves. Much less do they know anything about children or how to deal with them — and even less should they meddle with anyone’s inner experiences. I never saw one eurythmist who wasn’t entirely absorbed by her own inner experiences, and mostly ignorant about the needs of children and the teacher’s duties as a teacher.
The performances are then enjoyed by the whole school …
No, children dread having to watch eurythmy performances.
Thinking of life at school one can see how fruitful and important it is to have at least two eurythmists working together.
And sometimes it’s a necessity, because one eurythmist can’t keep unruly and bored children under control all by herself.
When we meet the little child, he has eurythmy around him, is carried by beautiful life-forces undisturbed by heaviness.
That’s why we see infants flying through the air, I presume, undisturbed by heaviness (and their inability to walk).
More and more the child grows down to earth …
This is pure anthro-speak and, sadly, some parents probably don’t know what this means. But it sounds cute. Or does it?
Teacher and pupil both strive towards eurythmy in its highest quality as art.
But, really? Come on…