Gurdjieff studied medicine and the Eastern Orthodox priesthood in school, but left the academic world in search of the ultimate answers. From 1884 to 1912, he pursued his quest throughout the Middle East, India, Tibet, and Central Asia. Gurdjieff describes these expeditions and his encounters with religious schools and monasteries in his autobiography, Meetings With Remarkable Men.
While in Moscow in 1912, he met author, lecturer, mathematician, and his famous disciple, P.D. Ouspensky. Ouspensky helped to spread Gurdjieff's thoughts and ideas throughout the United States. Until 1920, Gurdjieff spent the majority of his time in Russia and Georgia.
To avoid harsh times after the Bolshevik Revolution, and after traveling through Georgia, Constantinople, and Germany, Gurdjieff and his followers fled to France in 1922. In France, he established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Prieure at Avon. Gurdjieff established the Institute because he believed his ideas needed to be rediscovered by his students. He felt they could accomplish this discovery with unexpected and sometimes strenuous activities similar to the style of Marpa, the thirteenth-century Tibetan teacher of Milarepa.
In 1924, along with some of his students, he made his first trip to the United States. Before the group returned to the United States, Gurdjieff decided that O.R. Orage should remain in America as a representative for the group. From 1924 to 1934, Gurdjieff spent the majority of his time studying and writing books. 2
Gurdjieff 1924 died in 1949 having influenced the lives of many people. After his death, some went their own way while others organized themselves formally. All continued to work with what they received from him and to pass on their understanding. Today, fifty-three years following his death, few of Gurdjieff’s personal students are alive, while the numbers of their students and their students’ students continue to increase. Among these “grandchildren” of Gurdjieff is the second generation of his influence now grown and taking responsibility for what they have received. The movements teachers and pianists who offer and facilitate these seminars are such people.
Traditionally, the study and practice of sacred dance has been an integral part of esoteric school work. Used and preserved today within the oral tradition of GI Gurdjieff’s teaching, the movements and inner exercises make available to today’s practitioner unique opportunities for developing presence and states of being necessary for the work of transformation and for the balancing of body, mind, and feelings. These seminars are a part of this legacy.