Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
"Startling" is the word for the first impression left by the Eurythmeum Sturrgart, a troupe dedicated to the esthetic principles of Austrian artistphilosopher Rudolph Steiner, who devised a form of kinetic art he called "singing in movement" in 1912. The Eurythmeum made its U.S. debut at Lisner Auditorium Sunday as the first stop on a North Amercan tour. Musical assistance was provided by the Romanian State Orchestra under Ion Baciu.
In the opening "Hebrides" Overture to Mendelsmsohn's music a bevy of women in long robes, gossamer veils and soft slippers bobbed and weaved, swirled swooped and fluttered like so many eddying breezes made visible. It was a wholly different langiage of movement - strange a bit precious, but entrancing.
The Eurythmists (21 in the touring troupe male and female) used hands and arms in an eloquent incredibly pliant flow of expressive gestures, a claer link with mime. The constant bodily sway and weightless, soundless tread of the dancers reinforced the suggestion of almost incorporeal beings in motion. The lighting, like the movement itself, reflected the musical undulations with shifts in hue and accent.
Steiner believed in a kind of primal, underlying union of music and speech, so his system of Eurythmy (not to be confused with the better-known "eurhythmics" of jaques Dalcroze, although there are affinities) makes movement compositions out of poetry as well as tone, Sunday night's program, choreographed by the group's director Else Klink, used music by Ives. Gluck, Honegger and Schubert (the whole "unfinished Symphony"), as well as verse by Frost, DIckinson, Tolkein, Steiner and others.
An atmosphere of cobwebs and Kahlil Gibran, plus refinders of plastique dance of the Duncan era, give Eurythmeum a spooky air of exhumation. Still it's enthralling stuff, in its way.