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14 Years of Dalcroze Eurhythmics!

I had my first experience of Dalcroze Eurhythmics on the Dalcroze UK Easter Course of 2008. The course took place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England and before the end of the first morning I had decided I wanted to train to become a Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher! I vividly remember leaping across the room on the first morning! I rediscovered my joy of movement and loved the challenges that Dalcroze demanded. I spent the days doing contemporary dance lessons with Ruth Jones and rhythmics, aural training & improvisation classes with inspiring and expert teachers. I was introduced to Plastique Animée and realised that Dalcroze Eurhythmics was ‘my thing’! I started my training for the Professional Certificate in September 2008 and in December 2021 completed the Diplôme Supérieur after two years of study at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Geneva, Switzerland.

Students performing in the Plastique Animée based on Stravinsky’s Spring Rounds from The Rite of Spring
Students on the Dalcroze UK Spring Course 2022

I have just returned from Manchester from the Spring Course 2022. This time I was a tutor and I found myself revisiting those early feelings. Training to become a Dalcroze Eurhythmics is demanding but my memories of attending the intensive weekends in East Croydon then later in Cambridge are joyful . I loved it and made some of my closest friends during my Certificate then Licence training.

I was a professional violinist when I started the Certificate and, having been a member of the BBC Philharmonic orchestra was secretly proud of some of my musical skills such as sight-reading and aural perception. I very quickly discovered that though my musical training was thorough I nevertheless had ‘holes’ in my knowledge and musical skills! The biggest ‘gap’ for me was improvisation. I’d done very little prior to coming across Dalcroze having had a very old-fashioned musical upbringing! It was both terrifying and exhilarating to learn how to improvise on the piano and I’ve especially enjoyed having the time in the past two years to really devote my time to practice in this area!

The highlights of my fourteen years have been various – certainly the excitement of that first Easter Course was a turning point. The following Easter Courses and Summer Schools have always been good fun both as a participant and teacher and I particularly enjoyed being the Director of the Easter Course 2019. That year all the lessons were based on music from Beethoven’s Op. 95 String Quartet including two wonderful plastiques. I should mention here the five International Conferences of Dalcroze Studies, set up originally by a fellow Certificate student, Dr John Habron. These occasions have opened up Dalcroze Eurhythmics to a varied range of practitioners including musicians, dancers, therapists, neurologists, gerontologists and other somatic practices. Click here for more information on the most recent conference. https://www.dalcroze-studies.com/

Of course, the pandemic has affected teaching and training of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and new teachers are needed if the method is going to spread and become better known. It is my hope and intention to introduce a new cohort of trainee teachers this coming September with a slightly different model of teaching to the monthly intensive training weekends that have existed for many years. If you wish to know more then look at the Teacher Training page on this website and get in touch with me or with Sandi Smith at admin@dalcroze.org.uk

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