My name is Henry Harmer; I am studying eurythmy at the Alanus Hochschule in Alfter next to Bonn in middle West Germany. Last year I wrote a small piece for the Scope magazine introducing myself and my wish to study eurythmy. The big picture involves returning to Aotearoa New Zealand, armed with a Bachelor’s degree, ready for the next step in becoming a Eurythmy teacher in a Waldorf school. I am humbled and grateful for the generous support that’s come towards me from anonymous individuals, friends and family.
I would like to share with you something of the first of four years of my training.
It has taken a year to grow from feeling I know nothing, to being able to communicate, to form sentences that make sense -a truly good feeling, and have a conversation in German. I am still amazed! Learning eurythmy at the same time as learning the German language has deepened my understanding of what the words really mean. As I understand more, I have more energy and patience to learn and work with eurythmy.
With that in mind I have confidence in myself that I can continue my studies here for the next three years.
Through this year we have covered the basics of eurythmy, we started with the human body, how it is built, how it moves, forms and functions. We moved onto short group choreographies with music. In the first month of spoken eurythmy we had many coordination exercises to help us bring our awareness and coordination into shape, we then went through the whole German Alphabet, all of the consonants and vowels with a lot of repetition to build a solid base that we can work from. Then we started putting the vowels and consonants together to make words. For our first performance we performed a poem called Katedraale from Dadaism, a nonsense poem. It was a great challenge; we all took part in the choreography.
Currently we are finishing working through a poem by Goethe about the Metamorphosis of Plants which has proved to be challenging because of all the gestures we have incorporated into it, but also very enjoyable because we are working with real ideas that bring meaning into the gestures of the poem. I especially like the vowels.
This year has been unlike anything else that I have experienced, although learning a language while studying has been very hard, nonetheless I have a feeling of being at home in this language and culture now. I love studying eurythmy, I feel and think that this university is the right place for me to study. I have also been working and learning how the stage lighting works and getting paid for this work.
Looking back at what subjects we have and are still studying: music history, copper rod and ball exercises, scientific writing, theosophy, foot drawing, the study of man, the many fold man, language (learning German poems), Tone eurythmie with pieces from Bach and Mozart and others that we have worked with, pedagogy (doing rod exercises for the class setting), social competence: the stages of conflict. And many more. I have really enjoyed working with all of these subjects, it is a privilege and a responsibility that I am truly thankful for.
Over the summer break I will be working and saving hard by washing dishes and preparing food nearby Wilheimshafen by the North Sea. Not quite the same as Ocean Beach or Waimarama in Hawkes Bay but I am so looking forward to being in the sea and literally ‘chilling out’ for a bit. A real change from my 1.5hr commutes x2 per day and assignments up to my arm pits!
Thank you for all the supportive thoughts and good wishes that come to me over here – I hope to thank you in person in a few more years.