Artists make music Visible
their bodies to interpret the music, four women move across
the hardwood floor of the performance hall at Rudolf Steiner College
in Fair Oaks as a pianist plays the prelude from the "Suite Bergamasque"
by Claude Debussy.
appeared in the Sacramento Bee
The women, wearing colorful flowing garments, are rehearsing an
art form called eurythmy that is designed to make music visible.
Eurythmists spend four years studying the art, training themselves
to listen to what the composer was saying, not what the music evokes
in them, said Cynthia Hoven of Fair Oaks.
"The inspiration behind it was to add a new dimension to poetry
and music," Hoven said. "The training involves how to listen to
music and poetry intensively."
Hoven, a teacher at the college, rehearses with Annie Frouws of
Fair Oaks; Linda Dobranowski of Rancho Cordova, a teacher at the
Sacramento Waldorf Elementary School in Fair Oaks; and Nanci Danilov,
a native of Brazil who moved to the area in December.
The four will perform at the open house and weekend Festival of
the Visual and Performing Arts from Nov. 9-11 at the college, 9200
Fair Oaks Blvd.
A public performance, "Autumnal Changes: An Evening Performance
of Eurythmy, Music and Poetry," is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov.
10. The cost is $12. The performers also will give a free demonstration
of the art form at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 11.
According to biographical information on Rudolf Steiner, eurythmy
was developed in 1912 when the Austrian-born artist, philosopher
and scientist gave a private lesson to a student named Lori Smits.
In 1915, Steiner taught a course on eurythmy to a group of students.
The same year, eurythmy began as a stage art in Switzerland.
Eurythmy is a part of Waldorf education. The kindergartners through
eighth-graders at the Sacramento Waldorf Elementary School work
with a eurythmist once or twice a week, said Frouws, who taught
at the school for seven years.
Because live music has tones and nuances that become lost in recordings,
Danilov said eurythmists perform with a musician.
"With a tape recorder, you always hear the same thing," she said.
"We are trying to work in the opposite direction."
The women perform with a pianist, Noriko Meguro of Fair Oaks.
"The most fun is when you have enough instruments," Hoven said.
"The best is done to a full orchestra. The weaving that happens
on stage is so exciting."
The four also move to the poetry readings. Such a performance requires
someone who is able to recite well, Hoven said.
"In our training, we learn to lift language into movement," said
Frouws, who studied the art in New York. "We also have people who
are trained for speaking."
Poetry uses words to convey feeling and meaning, but Hoven said
there is more movement in poetry than most people realize.
"A poet has a lot of movement in thought when they come to write
the poem," she said.
Frouws contends that eurythmy can help dyslexic children with spatial
With age-appropriate material, eurythmists help children to move
together, she said.
"Children have a natural enthusiasm to move together," Frouws said.
"Eurythmy brings versatility and inner harmony. It fosters healthy
breathing and strengthens posture and agility."
Advanced training in eurythmy is available for those who wish to
work in therapeutic eurythmy. Hoven said she trained in Europe and
worked for seven years with a physician to help patients with digestive
disorders, breathing difficulties and problems with movement.
Marsha Hart can be reached at (916) 348-2746 or [email protected].
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"Seek the truly practical life,
but seek it in such a way that it does not blind you to the spirit
working in it. Seek the spirit, but seek it not out of spiritual
greed, but so that you may apply it in the genuinely practical life."
-- Rudolf Steiner