“Through the movement, they are becoming aware of their down bodies,” says Ute Heuser, our eurythmy instructor at Camphill Special School.
Since 2005, Ute has been leading our Camphill students on their own eurythmy journey. Prior to joining us, Ute taught eurythmy to adults in another Camphill in England. While eurythmy is also used as a therapy, Ute’s classes focus on the movement as a means of aiding expression, awareness, and understanding. Students experience working as a group while performing in the classes, and as an additional benefit work on body coordination and awareness. For some of our students, an awareness of the space around them can present a challenge and Ute’s classes address that. Listening skills are enhanced, as well.
Eurythmy, a system of harmonious body movements to the rhythm of spoken words, falls into two categories: speech eurythmy and tonal eurythmy. Speech eurythmy involves specific movements that correspond to the sounds of the spoken word. This is not to say that the movements correspond with words and their meanings – rather, they correspond with the sounds that form the words. A spoken word eurythmy performance will involve dancers accompanied by a storyteller.
Tonal eurythmy, on the other hand, involves specific gestures and movements that are related to tones, beats, and intervals. Ute’s class is lucky enough to have a wonderful volunteer, Bonnie, who plays piano for the class so our students also benefit from live music.
The benefits the students get from the classes are myriad. Ute works to tie the specific dances into the curriculum of the classes as well as the festivals and celebrations throughout the school year. However, it may be the group aspect that has the greatest effect on our students. The students become aware of themselves and each other, learn how to work as a unit, fell the acceptance of a group, and become more comfortable initiating motion on their own.
For Camphill, our eurythmy classes are seen as a cohesive element – it pulls all of the different aspects of the students’ education together. “It is the breath of the school,” says Ute.