Art trainings merging

Art trainings merging

29 August 2019 | Martin Barkhoff

Three artistic training programmes – a eurythmy training, a speech training and a painting school – have merged in St Petersburg (RU). Some of the students come from some distance away, this year even from China. A eurythmy therapy training is also in the same building


Artistic speakers can learn from eurythmy and eurythmists can learn from artistic speaking. Around three years ago a eurythmy and a speech course merged in St Petersburg. Since these two arts come together on stage anyway it makes sense that they already enhance and experience each other during training.

Separate arts united

The students meet each other and observe and participate in each others’ graduation programmes. Untrained speakers will of course not speak for inexperienced eurythmists because that would be quite detrimental for both sides. But a guided speech choir can learn much about – can even ‹learn to see› – a more dynamic and modulated way of speaking when working with eurythmists who are practising a group form. Since the power of speech arises from the limbs, frequent good eurythmy teaching can support the student speakers. And learning to speak in a way that facilitates the incarnation of meaning will also help the eurythmists to articulate the formative spirit in ‹dance›. The arts stand united, particularly because they experience each other as separate and united, just as life, soul, and spirit do within the human being.

A training in painting therapy has also been connected with this work for the last ten years. In an attempt to deepen the artistic experience, the therapeutic aspect has now been put on halt in order to first focus on developing the required painting skills, even if that means a drop in student numbers. What is important is the will for, and trust in, true art, and in the transformative power of archetypal artistic activity. Those in charge are united in this decision in favour of the spirit.

In recent years, former students have worked on Rudolf Steiner’s mystery drama The Portal of Initiation and have made an impression with the result of their work in 2018, during the meeting of Mystery Drama initiatives at the Goetheanum. One member of the Hungarian group said, «Like most people here, we do primarily theatre. With you, one can sense the will to bring a mystery to the stage.»

But not only the arts come together in this climate of creativity within the Society of Anthroposophical Arts. There is now also a training for eurythmy therapy which started last year under the direction of Margrit Hitsch. This training has sent out a call that went around the world and now almost 50 students from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, America and various Russian cities travel regularly to St Petersburg: it seems that more than half the globe is participating in this training.

This April the first students from China have been admitted to the St Petersburg eurythmy training. There is a strong connection with China anyway because the director of the eurythmy training, Ruth Barkhoff-Keil, lives with her husband in Beijing when she is not teaching in St. Petersburg.

Based on tradition

Far from frilly Western ambitions, the work in St Petersburg is firmly rooted in tradition, as the artistic life in Russia generally is. Names such as Bolshoi and Mariinsky exemplify this. This could be interesting to students from West and East. Maybe the next course will unite the Indo-European languages German, English and Russian with the vibrant linguistic forces of the Far East?

Plans are afoot for another art festival in St Petersburg at Easter 2020. The graduation performances of the eurythmists and creative speech artists will form part of the programme. And not only friends from near and far will be warmly welcomed but above all future students too.


Eurythmy training ‹Andrei Bely›, director: Ruth Barkhoff-Keil; Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Migunov (teachers), rozanovaov@mail.ru, ruthbarkhoff@gmx.de

Speech training
‹Marie Steiner-von Sievers›, director: Karin Hege; Veronika Shustova, Nina Samochina (teachers), karinhege@bluewin.ch, shustova.veronika@gmail.ru

Painting course
‹Maximilian Voloshin›, director: Ludmilla Gudelaitis; Martin Gull, Rita Eckhard (teachers), ra2754@yandex.ru

Eurythmy Therapy training
‹Trude Tetter› St Petersburg, director: Margrit Hitsch; Carola Adam-Roettig, Beat Nopper, Margarita Denisova, Olga Rozanova (faculty members), rozanovaov@mail.ru