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Paper presentation at the International Steiner Symposium 2021. The Actuality of Rudolf Steiner: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Steiner in the 21st Century.

The question that this presentation addresses is how Steiner’s work with eurythmy can help us understand contemporary dance in a global perspective? Furthermore, in the context of a growth in Waldorf Schools and interest in Anthroposophy around the world, how can we make our understanding of the past and future potential of eurythmy more global?

In my research, I have engaged with the above question at three levels. 1) Historically, by linking the early history of eurythmy with the cultural exchanges between early modern dancers in Europe and the US and bharatanatyam temple dance in India. 2) Anthropologically, by comparing the practices and embodied experiences involved in the training for eurythmy and bharatantaym, and 3) Choreographically, by developing a fusion eurythmy choreography which uses both eurythmy sound gestures as well as mudras for exploring the qualities of the Indian goddess of wisdom and arts, Saraswati, and how her qualities may relate to eurythmy and the visions and experimentations of early modern dance.

In the presentation, I argue that if we have a global perspective on eurythmy, it can be used to explore other spiritual philosophies and religions than that of Anthroposophy, and that in doing so, these traditions move closer to one another. This would be an example of the metamorphosis of the souls of East and West that Rudolf Steiner believed would be defining for the future.

Dr. Stine Simonsen Puri: University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Stine is a cultural anthropologist working as a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University. Her research focuses on dance and gambling, primarily in India, as entries to embodied studies of religion, economy and cultural encounters. Her research is based on ethnographic fieldwork combined with primary and secondary historical sources has been published in several peer-reviewed journals of anthropology. In addition, she has a diploma in eurythmy from Institute of Inspired Movement in Copenhagen.