© 2016-2019 Gabrielle Armenier

At 16, a week-long summer course in eurythmy had me more exhausted than I had ever felt in my life; three-hour rehearsals on pointe I was used to, but by the fourth day of that summer week I was close to tears.

What I was learning for the first time in my life was to work on a stream of movement that was bigger than the physical scope of my bodily gestures... feeling for the first time in my life how a gesture is only a part of a greater stream of movement that begins before the physical gesture begins, picks it up in its wake, and goes on after the arm has stopped moving.

WHERE DO I APPROACH EURYTHMY FROM?

A Few Personal Pages

As I will often be discussing eurythmy in relation to dance and music, I should perhaps present what personal insight I have on these two subjects.

I began studying violin and ballet at the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse d’Avignon, France, around the age of 7. It took me a couple of years to feel the necessity of either disciplines, but when I did, I became serious about both. Homeschooled from 11 to 17, I spent the first hours of the afternoon behind a music stand and the others at the barre.

All so that I could unlearn all the gestures and movement habits that were ingrained in me during the consequent four years of eurythmy training!

 

I had to begin anew. The outer shell, so well formed, of classical ballet, the great safety-pin holding the upper body forward and centered, arms in the frontal sphere which allow the legs to swing at the hips, the sway of the body and limbs in modern dance… all the painfully learned footholds had to go. I was a crab without a shell, whose physical habits were to be shed away to allow the truth of a movement to form itself from an inner feeling, and no longer from the clear reflection of a mirror.

When walking forwards on a straight line, I began to feel how the stream of movement came from behind me, picked me up in its flow for as long as I walked forwards, and kept on going ahead of me after I had stopped moving.

 

I felt the entire space of the room set into movement by my gestures, rather than feeling what I was used to feeling, a tall girl moving more or less beautifully in a space that did not speak back. I admire and respect dance and dancers incredibly, and it is from this very respect that I can say that dancers move their bodies to perfection in a clear, clean space, whereas eurythmists set the space in motion by sculpting it with permeable bodies.

 

To the question ‘what is your aim?’ one could perhaps answer:

 

If it is to set the body in motion, dance! If it is to set the space in motion, do eurythmy!

 

As for my experience of music… let us only say that Maria Callas’ voice resounded more often in my room than in the entire state of California. Her, and the warmth of tone and direction of sound of a few violinists.

The first movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto was the last piece I performed at the age of 17, the highlight of my musical education and last turning point towards Eurythmy. It was the contrast between the intense stage fright I felt that evening, and the complete lack thereof from my first eurythmy performance onward that impressed upon me how crucial ownership of space is in any performance.

 

Several things were interesting to note as the eurythmy training ran its course. The need I had felt in my teenage years to listen to classical music as one holds on to a lifeline disappeared. I was receiving my dose of musicality in the eurythmy gestures themselves. While still giving violin lessons, I stopped practicing consistently, the physicality of the instrument painful to deal with when I spent my days practicing letting movement go through the arm, through the hand and into the surrounding space. When I picked up my violin after the training, the intonation was clearer and the tone warmer and more direct than it had ever been before: the interval between one pitch and another had been worked on by the entire body in space and fine-tuned with a larger pitch-fork. Down-bows and up-bows were now felt as a movement quality intrinsically part of a sound quality, and not as a more or less clever way of playing emphasized or less-emphasized notes.

 

And it is from this feeling of work and reverence for both dance and music that I speak of eurythmy.

 

These two classical disciplines were my dearest companions growing up, and it is from an encounter with them that I developed my love of eurythmy.

Rhythm, patterns and Musings

Homeschooled in a very rich and unorthodox way, I was encouraged to develop this type of rhythm research when looking at History:

GEORGIA - St GEORGE and ENGLAND

Rhythm patterns by Gabrielle Armenier - August 2016

April 23rd: St George’s Day, patron Saint of England

Future king of England: William of Cambridge, whose firstborn is named George.

 

 

From the beheading of St George on April 23rd, 303 you throw a line 184x8 years ahead to April 23rd, 1775, birth of William Turner.

If you fold back 184 years before that, William Shakespeare writes the first part of the War of the Roses tetralogy – tetralogy that will make him famous, beginning with Henry VI in 1591.

ENGLAND

We then had: 303 + (184x8) – 184                                          (black line)

If we now take: 303 + (128x8) + 128 we see:                         (blue line)

The beheading of St George comes (128x8) years before his acknowledgement as Patron St of England in 1327. 1327 years + 128 years = the beginning of the War of the Roses.

The Temple Church scene in Henry VI comes 136 or (17x8) years after the beginning of the War of the Roses.

The same interval of 136 or (17x8) years is found between the establishment of the cross of St George as the Flag of England and 1327, the establishment of St George as Patron Saint of England.

128 = 32x4

Cross of St George and

Flag of England (1191)

The 32 year-long War of the Roses resounds amidst a pattern of (32x5) or (20x8) and (32x10) or (40x8) years:

Its end will come 160 years, or (32x5) years after the declaration of St George as Patron Saint of England.

Its beginning will be 320 years, or (32x10) years before the birth of William Turner.

Its beginning will come (32x9) x4, or 288x4 years after the beheading of St George and its end will be (32x9) or 288 years before William Turner’s birth – as for William Shakespeare’s death in 1616, it will come (32x9) or 288 years after the proclamation of St George as Patron Saint of England.

288184 = 104, the interval between the end of the War of the Roses and the depiction of those events on stage by William Shakespeare.

William the Conqueror set off from the Coast of Normandy

on September 29th, St Michael’s Day, 1066.


William Wordsworth died on April 23rd, 1850.

GEORGIA

Embedded amid the 104 or (13x4) year long Golden Age of Georgia is Queen Tamar’s 29 year reign.

1487 to 1591: From the end of the War of the Roses to the year Shakespeare put those events on stage, we have 104 years.

From 1591 to the inauguration of Mikheil Saakashvili on November 25th, 2007, we have (104x4) years, with (29x4) years annexed to Russia – 1801 to 1917.

From the end of Queen Tamar’s reign to the independence from Russia in 1917/1918 = (88x8) years, which is the same interval x4 found between the beheading of St George and the foundation of Tbilisi from 303 to 479 =  (22x8) years.

With the founding myth of the Falcon.

(In England, (33x8) is the interval between the proclamation of St George as Patron Saint of England, and Shakespeare’s Henry VI)

303 + 1184 = 1487  

Beheading of St George + beginning of Queen Tamar’s reign = the end of the War of the Roses

479 + 1184 = 1663

                        1663 – 72 = 1591

The foundation of Tbilisi + the beginning of Queen Tamar’s reign minus a platonic day = Shakespeare’s Henry VI staging the War of the Roses.

                        Left: Cross of St George and Flag of England       Right: Flag of Georgia

 

 

1191 = establishment of the Flag of England (7 years into the reign of Queen Tamar)


The flag of Queen Tamar is said to have consisted of a red cross and star on a white background


In the 14th Century, the flag of Tbilisi is reported to have been ordered according to the Cross of Jerusalem – In England, “Jerusalem” is sung on St George’s Day.


2004 = establishment of the Georgian flag, the cross of St George ordered according to the Jerusalem cross.

And what should be said about this:

Wikipedia: "The Knight in the Panther's Skin (Georgian: ვეფხისტყაოსანი, literally "one with a skin of a tiger") is a Georgian medieval epic poem, written in the 12th century by Georgia's national poet Shota Rustaveli. A definitive work of the Georgian Golden Age, the poem consists of over 1600 Rustavelian Quatrains and is considered to be the "masterpiece of the Georgian literature". Until the early 20th century, a copy of this poem was part of the dowry of any bride."

While in England, we have William Blake's poem: 

Wikipedia: "The Tyger is a poem by the English poet William Blake published in 1794 as part of the Songs of Experience collection. Literary critic Alfred Kazin calls it "the most famous of his poems," and The Cambridge Companion to William Blake says it is "the most anthologized poem in English." It is one of Blake's most reinterpreted and arranged works.

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Gabrielle ARMENIER 

EURYTHMY Agency