- Andrée Lanthier
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon on April 29 of this year when more than 250 people gathered in the large hall of the École Rudolf Steiner de Montréal for a unique event. It was the EURYTHMY-HOMAGE presentation celebrating eurythmy’s 100 years of existence, its creator, Rudolf Steiner, and Christa Kuehn, who first brought this art to Quebec. Ten eurythmists had agreed to show their dedication to their art by volunteering to participate in this festival celebration. Five of them had travelled to Montreal specifically for the occasion (from Norway: Marjorie Taliano; and from the United States: Marie-Ève Piché, Sea-Anna Vasilas, Isabelle Verrier, and Kochava Duschenes). In the fall of 2011, five other eurythmists had already begun organizing the event and practicing together for their performance of the Zodiac and the Order of Evolution. These five eurythmists were Sylvie Richard from Ottawa, and Cécile Allemand, Martine Beaulne, Hélène Besnard and Andrée Lanthier from Quebec. As well, the students of the grade 6 and grade 7 classes and the teachers of the École Rudolf Steiner contributed lovely bits of poetic, musical and humoristic eurythmy. Even Christa Kuehn herself caused us to laugh with joy when she made a brief cameo appearance as the “Old Auntie”, one of her signature eurythmy roles. The school’s adult choir, joined by members of Cécile Allemand’s other vocal groups, opened and closed the event with their lovely singing. Four musicians were on hand to accompany the performances, as were four narrators and our Master of Ceremonies, Arie van Ameringen. All these fine people were enhanced by Jean Balekian’s expert work at the lighting console. Marie-Christine Turpin gave a moving homage to Christa Kuehn in which she related Christa’s rich biography and pointed out all the things she has given to so many people over the years: Soon after arriving from Europe in the early 1950’s Christa began giving amateur eurythmy lessons and continued to do so for many, many years. Parallel to this activity, Anthroposophical study groups were begun, eventually leading to the founding of the Sophia and Jean-le-Baptiste branches. Eurythmy was an essential factor in laying the groundwork for Anthroposophical life in Quebec.
At the end of the performance, Christa Kuehn made a heartfelt appeal to eurythmists, and to all lovers of this art, to find the will and the courage to create a permanent stage performance troupe in Quebec, which, according to her, is truly the way to make eurythmy known to a wider public and to allow its other aspects (educational, curative, and hygienic) to evolve. Several of us took this message into our hearts, and in September we shall continue the work begun this year. Bridges have been built which will allow the work to spread, not only here in Quebec, but in Ontario and the U.S.A. as well. We are further blessed to be able to count on Christa Kuehn’s presence and support. We were also very moved by our audience, many of whom had travelled quite a distance (from the USA, Ontario, the Eastern Townships, the Laurentians, etc.) It was a homecoming of sorts for many, reuniting people who had not seen each other in years. The reception they gave this event has encouraged us to heed Christa’s advice and follow the path she has pointed to. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who attended. We would also like to thank the Anthroposophical Society in Canada, the Vidar Foundation and the Sophia Branch for their kind financial assistance; their generosity made it possible for us to bring this project to fruition. This wonderful gathering in May of 2012 has created forces that will flow into the future.