Gurdjieff - Gurdjieff's dances
Type of Spiritual Experience
An entry can be found in the sources section for Gurdjieff, but the dancers were ordinary people hence the source on this observation. Note also that all sorts of experience were achieved in practise, but the most frequent was a vision.
A description of the experience
from William Seabrook - Witchcraft
A cardinal point in Gurdjieff's teachings was the breaking of habit and to help accomplish this, many of the dances were wild and eccentric in the extreme.
So far as anybody knows sex never 'reared its ugly head, in Gurdjieff's modus operandi, but apart from that the dances were a cross between a voodoo bamboche in the jungle and a temple celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis.
Limbs, muscles, body, just went hither and yon.
Our jitterbugs at their best and fanciest are unimaginative earthworms compared to Gurdjieff's disciples when they really got going. Scores of them - at one time he had almost a hundred - in flowing white, grey, and crimson garments, danced.
The musicians were hidden. The music was exotic, oriental, sometimes mystical and sensuous, sometimes wild and crashing. Gurdjieff, the Master, remained out of sight behind a curtain, whence he issued his commands.
Each individual dancer responded to the commands 'as his soul dictated.'
A visiting Sunday World reporter, describing one of these typical evenings, wrote:
Tired business men, bankers, intellectuals, actresses, barons, countesses, millionaires, gave themselves up to the music. At a command from Gurdjieff they stood perfectly rigid for several minutes, and then began to move their arms in unison; rapid, jerky movements, their joints giving the effect of working on ball bearings. The music quickened its pace, so did the arms. Legs and bodies swayed, heads bobbed frantically from side to side.
Arms, legs, hands, and heads acted in complete independence of one another, and each dancer seemed to be executing a series of movements different from his neighbour's, yet the total effect of the group was harmonious as it shifted with electrical rapidity from one pattern into another. The music grew louder. At another command from Gurdjieff the music stopped suddenly and the dancers stood as if petrified in bizarre attitudes until released by another command.