Blog: The Light of Aurora
Bringing Forms to Life: The Hubcap Project13:25 PM - February 22, 2022
Last year, during and after the Covid lockdown, eurythmists were invited by the Eurythmy Association leaders to get together regularly via zoom to share their experiences and find mutual support and inspiration. Cristina Geck shared an intriguing idea from her work at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, CO. For a remote learning project, she had middle schoolers take pictures of hubcaps to study the designs. That’s what inspired the Hub Cap project at AWS!
In 2021 I gave my rising 7th and 8th Graders the task of photographing five hubcaps for summer homework. The images started rolling in by text or email in early September, and I printed them out. They were beautiful! During the first few classes, we shared observations of some hubcap pictures I had taken at a local classic auto show. Then the students chose two of their own favorite pictures, preferably with contrasting form qualities, and over the weekend sketched them by hand, with minimal help of a compass.
The next step was to decide on the major form lines and create a related choreography. A small circle indicated the path's starting point, and an arrow showed the direction.
Each student presented their work to the class, and under each students’ direction, we began standing together in a circle and putting the drawings into motion. We discovered first off that each form had a distinct rhythm. Once we learned it, our skilled accompanist improvised music on the piano in that rhythm. Each form began to reveal potential qualities of artistic expression. We noticed contrasting elements such as long/short, contraction/expansion, straight/curved, strong/soft, easy/against resistance, joyful anticipation/disappointment (“I got all my homework done!/ Aargh! I left it all at home!”). The cycle of moving toward one another in curiosity, and then distancing ourselves, enriched all involved!
To complete the project, pictures, sketches, and choreographic drawings were mounted on giant butcher block paper and displayed in the hall near the eurythmy room. The Lamborghini, the old minivan, the classic Corvette all had hubcaps, which had become a dance. The project brought style elements to life! The students’ awareness and understanding of the potential of the circle had grown.
When we had the added joy of welcoming the “Indigenous Spirit Dancers” from the Haudenosaunee Nation in October, there were more opportunities for experiencing the circle. Students and faculty were all invited on the big field behind the school to join in powerful and moving circle dances, accompanied by drums, rattles, and songs. Through dancing together in this way, we experienced learning-about-one-another in an unspoken conversation of profound depth.
We could experience how the circle has served as a powerful medium to build community, social artistry, and social intelligence throughout the ages. When I look out into the circle, I can experience within me the reflection of the whole community, and in turn, how I, and each of us, lives in the whole community. Through moving contrasting qualities, we become wiser, more able to try on, and maybe relate to a way of being/thinking/doing that is foreign to us. Through the Hubcap project and the Haudenosaunee dance, we all had the opportunity to become a bit wiser.
The Hubcap Project keeps on giving! In the spring, the Maypole ribbon dances will offer yet another way to bring the circle to life, weaving the beautiful rhythmic patterns of the dance into visible forms! Also, though less outwardly visible, as we deepen our work as a school with Restorative Justice Practices, both students and faculty can build on these experiences and learn more ways to use the wisdom of the circle-form and the community-building gifts it has to offer. Perhaps we can catch glimpses of the profound depth of Rudolf Steiner’s “Motto of Social Ethics”* (such a riddle!) on this eurythmy journey.
“The healthy social life is found
When in the mirror of each human soul
The whole community finds its reflection
And when in the whole community
The virtue of each one is living.”
Maria Ebersole is always grateful to hear from others' experiences. Please do not hesitate to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your insights.
Maria Ebersole, AWS Eurythmy Teacher and Therapeutic Eurythmist finished the Waldorf Teacher Training in 1985 in Germany, graduated from the Eurythmy Academy in the Hague, Netherlands in 1990, and completed the Therapeutic Eurythmy Training in 2007 in Copake, NY. She has been at the Aurora Waldorf School since 2003, has a private practice and resides with her husband in East Aurora. They have two adult children who both graduated from AWS.