action of attention Through simultaneous inner and outer actions of attention, energies are released, collected,
and blended (in accordance with fundamental laws of existence). From simple (yet profound) actions of attention (and mind) the dance is brought to life.
Reciprocally, when the dance (an ideal outside of time) becomes actual (real in the doers), new energies are present (in them) for the
work of the dance to proceed. Each workshop carries this re-search into "the consciousness of being" further along as we work with active attention and
bare attention the building blocks of mindfulness.
our intention To carry on this practice of (and thereby to maintain) a living transmission (mostly oral and experiential) through right use of Gurdjieff Dance and the inner exercises he transmitted. The use (and further development) of
such practices is the right and obligation of those who have begun to understand the necessity (for right life) of
this kind of work. In our seminars we invite you to participate in this necessity.
teaching methodology Described here is a model developed (over a period of twenty-eight years (and counting) of research into dance and meditation pedagogy by James Tomarelli and associates.
The inner work as well as the outer form of Gurdjieff dance is taught in a circle accompanied by live acoustic music. (When teaching the guided meditations or when teaching the sitting inner exercises, silence replaces music.) Circles allow for immediate non-verbal experiencing of the group as a threefold whole through 1) a sensing of self, 2) an awareness of others, and 3) an (outer) seeing/ (inner) visualizing of the common aim, the dance, the exercise, and so on. Live music allows for the temporary learning triad of teacher-dancers-dance to give way to the manifesting triad of music-dancers-dance. In the former, the teacher is the active element; in the latter, the music is active, the dancers receptive, and the dance manifests through the dances into being.
Each participant learns how to cooperate in maintaining a holistic attention appropriate to the requirements of each dance or inner exercise. The implications of this shared work—for life, education, health, relationship, and community—become obvious in the experience of it. When in public performance, the circle transforms into rows and files for stage or disassembles and reassembles into other tableaux appropriate to the space in which the performance is given.
results of sustained work There have been many reported effects from this work:
-- In 2006 a phenomenological study on the effects of Gurdjieff Dance
and movement meditation took place at one of our seminars in Italy. cf., Cohen, J.A., Laskowski, C., and Rambur, B. The experience of movement meditation: a dance of rhythmic paradox and time. "International Journal For Human Caring," 2008, Vol. 12, No. 3, p. 71.
Some comments from participants after long-term and short-term practice:
-- a new understanding of “effort.”
-- feelings of confidence; a clear mind; a relaxed body.
-- health and harmony of body systems.
-- a new relationship with our interior world as we meet the demands of daily life.
-- an attention that is whole and impartial; a mind that lets go of judgments.
-- a group consciousness that values individual expression; an awareness of others; a respect for others.
-- a seeing and noticing of things as they are, which allows what we wish for to come into being.
-- a feeling of compassion for oneself and others.
seminars, classes and workshops offer:
-- introductory and advanced practice of Inner Exercises that release,
transform and blend energies inside the body
-- daily intensive practice of Gurdjieff Dance
-- psychological interventions, practices, and themes
-- complementary practices for mind-body development introduced by guest teachers
-- group interactive discussion in an atmosphere of mindful awareness and active listening
-- all seminars are in English with Italian, German or Spanish translation when needed
residential seminars also offer:
-- early morning introductory and advanced group sittings
-- practical work and meal preparation — to complement the inner work and to meet the communal needs of the seminar
-- silence in nature and in the society of others — to deepen and assimilate our practice
-- evening practices — from Buddhist and Sufi traditions
-- evening concerts of the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music
historical background A "teacher of dance," G.I. Gurdjieff introduced a large body of dances to his students. Some are
from the regions of North Africa through Central Asia (and possibly as far as Tibet); many are of his own creation.
Gurdjieff died in 1949 having influenced the lives of many people. After his death, some went their own way while others organized
themselves formally. All continued to work with what they received from him and to pass on their understanding. Today few of
Gurdjieff's personal students are alive, while the numbers of their students and their students' students continue to increase.
Among the "grandchildren" of Gurdjieff is a new generation born of his influence, grown, and taking responsibility for
what they received. Our work is a meeting of this responsibility. Our work is ongoing. It is work-in-progress.
music for movements Working with Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann and inspired by ancient music he heard and learned during his travels, Gurdjieff created a body of musical work designed to harmonize
the human psyche and make possible a higher emotional experience. Normally our thinking, feeling and moving "brains" are
disharmonic — the Gurdjieff / De Hartmann Music assists in their re-harmonization. This work with music is an integral part of
our work and is present in the seminars. Only live music and acoustic instruments are used in the work of Gurdjieff dance.