By Torin Finser
Forty years ago, Danilla Rettig, a dedicated and dynamic eurythmist of immense charm and persuasion, founded the first Waldorf teacher training to be embedded in the graduate program of an accredited university. When she stepped down as director of the Waldorf program at Antioch University, her successor, Ann Pratt, was likewise an experienced eurythmist steeped in Waldorf pedagogy. Both of these remarkable women have since crossed the threshold and are now helping from the other side.
Those of us engaged in Waldorf teacher education at Antioch and the Center for Anthroposophy (CfA) continue to place high value on bringing eurythmy to aspiring Waldorf teachers. Antioch’s Waldorf Program now includes the eurythmist Carla Beebe Comey as a full-time faculty member and director of its teacher certification program, following in the footsteps of Danilla and Ann. Laura Radefeld, our experienced colleague from Green Meadow Waldorf School, Chestnut Ridge, NY, continues to teach eurythmy in CfA’s high school teacher education program and online seminars. Leonore Russell continues to bring eurythmy in the workplace to our school administrators in our leadership program and introductory Explorations courses, and Carsten Callesen, eurythmist, therapist, and coworker from The Camphill School Beaver Run, Glenmoore, PA, offers eurythmy and other subjects at our new Kairos Institute as well as Antioch’s Transdisciplinary Studies in Healing Education (TSHE). During the launch of Kairos this past July, we had five eurythmists on campus, and throughout July, our teacher education students were treated to a number of high-level artistic performances.
However, after several years living with the constraints of a pandemic, lower teacher education enrollment, and consequently limited budgets, we are being challenged to sustain our ideals as never before. Yet, we remain deeply committed to making sure that future Waldorf teachers experience and appreciate at first hand (and foot!) the many ways eurythmy makes real the core principles of Waldorf education.
To this end, we are establishing a new Friends of Eurythmy Fund to ensure that we sustain eurythmy in both our core and satellite programs (including the quality of musical accompaniment in classes) as well as in our community performances. We are therefore focusing this year’s CfA annual appeal on supporting eurythmy in our various programs so that students who join us have a chance to experience the pedagogical, therapeutic, and artistic value of eurythmy and to carry this experience back into their schools.
If you wish to recognize a currently practicing eurythmist, or have taken eurythmy classes from someone in the past, or wish to recognize a eurythmist who has retired or is now working from the other side, we invite you to make your gift to CfA in that person’s name. We will be honoring them all with a fresh resolve to permeate Waldorf schools throughout North America and beyond during the coming years with this new art form.