Orígenes

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866-1949) left a legacy of unique diversity and the expression of an organic and coherent thought form. Besides his three books, which present an original vision of God, the universe and mankind, he also composed 200 musical pieces and created an intriguing set of dances and physical exercises called "Movements".

Without any doubt, these are the core of his teaching system; he himself wanted to be known simply as a "dance teacher". His challenging ideas, such as "humans are asleep" and "remember yourself always and everywhere", have influenced generations of men and women worldwide since their first appearance in Moscow in 1913.

Born in Alexandropol, which is at the moment the border region between Russia and Turkey, he developed since youth a deep yearning for a special form of knowledge which he believed was rooted in ancient traditions and hidden somewhere on earth. Trained in religion and medicine, at the age of twenty he embarked on a trip that took him to the most inaccessible places of the East. Doubtlessly, it was during these trips that Gurdjieff came into contact with monasteries, ethnic groups and schools of perennial wisdom from which he compiled a vast repertoire of choreographies, gymnastics, Sacred Dances and music.

On these trips he discovered that a great part of the ancient knowledge was transmitted in temples through music and dance. The movements of these dances formed an alphabet that could be deciphered by those who were prepared to do so. Thus, in the evening, when the priests and priestesses danced in the hall of the temple, the initiates could read and interpret the truths that had been encoded in the gestures and the positions of the dances several thousand years before and which flowed from conscious sources, being transmitted this way from generation to generation.

When Gurdjieff saw these Dances for the first time, he was overwhelmed and affected by the precision and the purity of the positions without yet understanding their meaning. Afterwards, he discovered that the same laws that govern the cosmos and the whole of existence can be found in the human psyque and its cellular structure, and that through certain movements and patterns strictly defined by the dancers, those laws become visible and intelligible for those who know them.

It was after these long trips that Gurdjieff returned to Russia, having a deep knowledge of movement, music and Being. Thus, he began to meet people interested in spiritual growth and to transmit his knowledge and settled in France, where he created The Institute for the Harmonic Development of Man. Gurdjieff died in Neuilly, near Paris, the 29th of October 1949.

Gurdjieff made a supreme effort to develop exercises which would help to fortify awareness, will, and the power of attention. There were two noticeably different periods in the creation of his Movements. The first period went from 1918 to 1924, the year when he had a car accident. In this period, the Movements consisted of obligatory exercises, dervish dances, work-dances, dances for women and elaborated ceremonies, and ritual prayers. The Movements of this period contain noticeable ethnic and religious components. The second period went from 1939 until his death in 1949, when Gurdjieff taught Movements almost every day for different groups, transmitting new Movements and exercises. In this period, he created what is known as the Series of the 39 Movements, in which gestures and abstract positions presented in mathematical and geometric displacements prevail.