The history of the Movements and their teaching by Georgi Ivanovich Gurdjieff is erratic, non-linear and characterized by uncertainties. The reasons for this are complex and have to do with the sheer incomprehensibility and depth of the teachings conveyed by Gurdjieff himself.
Gurdjieff’s years of teaching
In principle, the Sacred Dances can be assigned to two eras, the threshold constituting Gurdjieff’s serious car accident in 1924. All dances between 1916 and 1924 can be classified as “old” Movements, Gurdjieff’s first teaching and creative phase.
The second period stretched from 1937 until his death in 1949 and included the “new” Movements. The differences between the dances taught in these sections are significant, both in function and design. What they have in common is the central role in the teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff (see Wim van Dullemen (2018): The Gurdjieff Movements).
Preservation and transmission of the dances
Only a fragment of the Movements led by Gurdjieff has survived to the present generation, an estimated 30 from the early period and 220 from the second phase. The Sacred Dances are passed on and taught by various organizations and private individuals who stood in direct contact with Gurdjieff or his students and serve as transmitters for the living teaching.