A 5-day program on Gurdjieff’s Sacred Dances and Movements led by Tabasheer Zutshi
The significance of the body is its role as our sole instrument of experience, expression, and communication.
The Movements, codified in a body of knowledge called “The Fourth Way“or “The Work”, were
created by Greek Armenian mystic G I Gurdjieff. As practices in awareness and self-remembering, combined with an extensive body of music and writings, the sacred dances emerged as a distilled concentrate of Gurdjieff’s oral teachings on the human condition and transformation.
The Movements provide a method for participants to experience two co-existing realities within themselves. One pole corresponds to one’s real possibility – the awakening of consciousness, the development of being, and the presence of an essential unceasing unity. The other pole corresponds to the way we actually live, enslaved by our own automatism, our reactions, our sleep.
The Movements demand great effort and sustained attention as participants are required to coordinate complicated head, arm, and leg movements with mental exercises. The effort to perform them correctly leads to the development of a finer, more refined quality of attention in which the mechanical flow of associations cease. As the movements begin to integrate with awareness, the body relaxes, and the mind stills. When inner attention is maintained, there is a free flow of energy through the body. We become spacious. New channels of energy, previously
inaccessible, can be received and transformed by the dancer. At this point, the Movements become truly sacred, both in their inner content and their outer manifestation.
Shared by a former participant – Your left arm, bent at the elbow, moves in an arc in front of your body. Each movement is mathematically precise, 45-degree angles in clockwise motion timed to your inner metronome. Your right arm hasn’t begun moving yet – you hold its movement in your mind. Your mind, you have been shown, is of limitless possibility. You are aware of what you cannot hold yet – movements of feet and head chant in unison with step. You look around for a moment to orient yourself to others – the group is interdependent, a single organism. At that moment you are aware of your harmony with the organism. In that moment you have lost the position of your arm. You return, back to awareness. Back to zero.
The methodology of learning and embodying the dance are woven intricately with contemplative exercises, silent sittings, readings, conversations, creative expression, and playful experimentation. The group is central to and interdependent in, what manifests amongst the
participants. The facilitator serves the group as an equal participant in the explorations. She enables the methods used in safety and transparency. Here lies the possibility of awakening to the indivisible presence we share with each other.
There will be a series of explorations over the seven days to create experiential views which are non-habitual and different from our usual states of being. We do not practice without awareness, rather enquire into and question what we are doing. Though theoretical explanation is kept to a
minimum, a dialogue of meaning is maintained. One of the aims is to enable people to derive practices they can bring into their lives.
Tabasheer is a Gurdjieff Movements facilitator and artist. She explores Gurdjieff’s teachings from the perspective of contemporary life, constantly enriching her facilitation with new research and practices. She has been teaching the movements over nine years to a disparate
community. Her diverse influences have been shaped by mentors from the direct lineage of Gurdjieff, a practice of Iyengar yoga, and art through the prism of colour, mark-making, and gesture. She is a student of Buddhism.