"Those who participate in the work of the movements will tell you that the understanding which has come to them carries over into other moments, in the most ordinary situations."
– Pauline de Dampierre
The series of dances called Movements are a unique offering of this teaching. They ask us to be whole, to activate an increasingly strong and lively attention throughout the body in motion or in stillness. The exactitude of positions, changes of rhythm, the demand for the dancer to move parts of the body independently or simultaneously with other parts… all conspire to create inner conditions necessary for a changed experience of oneself. One may discover moments when a finer quality of attention emerges, a more total attention rooted in mind, body and heart. Through the beauty and rigor of the form and the richness of its music, the Movements call forth a total participation of all that one is.
Gurdjieff described himself on several occasions as "a teacher of temple dancing." His dances have been taught in Gurdjieff centers worldwide for a century.
Gurdjieff’s dances point us in the direction of a more harmonious inner world. The gestural repertory of the Movements is a kind of alphabet spelling Humanity: at last we can experience something closer to what we really are. One feels instinctively that this dance, that sequence of Movements to eloquent music, is life-giving. They offer a taste of awakening. Beyond habitual ways of moving, thinking, feeling, there is a new inner zone of lightness and contained vitality—of Presence.
"And through a strict succession of attitudes, they lead us to a new possibility of thinking, feeling and action. If we could truly perceive their meaning and speak their language, the Movements would reveal to us another level of understanding."
– Jeanne de Salzmann, The Reality of Being
The Gurdjieff dances and exercises open a prospect that is very simple and accessible. Any reasonably able-bodied person can approach the full repertory, and classes for older people have become a tradition. The Movements point to the necessity of associating the body with an inner, spiritual aspiration. This can be not just understood as an attractive idea but lived. When the body lives apart, we scarcely feel the inadequacy of that situation and the limitations it imposes on every plane of our existence. A unique offering of the Gurdjieff teaching, the Movements and their associated music are an invitation to awaken, to become whole, to live daily life with verve and understanding.