Jeanne de Salzmann

Gurdjieff International Review

Behind the Visible Movement

Quotations as recollected by her pupils

Jeanne de Salzmann (1889–1990) studied piano, composition, and orchestral conducting at the Conservatory of Geneva. Dancer and teacher of rhythmic movements, she was a pupil of Emile-Jaques Dalcroze who opened an avant-garde institute of the arts devoted to music, dance, and theater in Germany in 1912. During the Russian revolution, she and her husband Alexandre were living in Tiflis, Georgia, where she opened a school of dance and music. In 1919 the composer Thomas de Hartmann introduced the young couple to Gurdjieff.

In the years that followed, Jeanne de Salzmann became Gurdjieff’s devoted pupil, and remained with him until his death in 1949. For more than forty years thereafter, she worked tirelessly to transmit his teaching and to preserve the inner content and meaning of the Movements. Here are some quotations as recollected by her pupils:

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Behind the visible movement there is another movement, one which cannot be seen, which is very strong, on which the outer movement depends. If this inner movement were not so strong, the outer one would not have any action.

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You must constantly divide your attention between something which is higher than yourself and your movement. You always lose yourself in one or the other. As soon as you stop making this effort, you become identified with the movement.

You must consider these Movements as a condition, an exceptional one given to you to work on your attention.

In so dividing your attention, you are filling the place that you can fill. One day you may be capable of more, but today, this is your place.

You do not realize enough that your attention is your only chance. Without it you can do nothing.

Usually you think about your movement, but you do not do it. You maintain your thought on the movement, and then when it is the time to do it you give up, and the movement is done, no matter how, without you.

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The thought must have its own center of gravity; it cannot just be either here or there. We must find this center of gravity. It is the same for the body; if it is not centered, no movement will be possible. It is the same for the feeling.

These Movements are designed to enable us to pass from one center of gravity to another; it is the shift that creates the state. The gesture, the movement, is what is important, not the attitudes.

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Copyright 2002 Institut Gurdjieff, Paris
This webpage © 2002 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Spring 2002 Issue, Vol. V (1)
Revision: May 1, 2002