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Thursday, 27 July — Sunday, 30 July
5Rhythms is a dance meditation practice developed by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. 5Rhythms is based on principles from many traditions around the world and incorporates shamanic, ecstatic and mystical wisdom and practices as well as Eastern philosophy. Experiences from Gestalt therapy and transpersonal psychology have also been incorporated into 5Rhythms. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything that exists is energy and movement in waves, patterns and rhythms.
To practise 5Rhythms is to go on a journey that can connect the person through the body, through completely free intuitive movement, through the opening of the heart and the liberation of the spirit, with the essence of their soul, the source of inspiration and unlimited possibilities and potentials. “Energy moves in waves, waves move in patterns, patterns move in rhythms. The human being is simply that .… Energy, waves, patterns and rhythm.” (Gabrielle Roth)
The 5Rhythms are a simple, clearly structured and yet very free movement practice, with the aim of allowing the inner dancer that lives in every body to emerge. Anyone can dance regardless of ability, age or even health condition. Even dancing the eyelids through the 5 rhythms can be an expressive option when no other part of the body can or should be moved. When dancing through the rhythms there is an intense flow, i.e. it just flows, you dance your own inherent dance, you dance yourself. Self-experience with all one’s own creativity and flexibility is expressed. Self-healing powers are also activated.
“The real goal of meditation is to silence thinking and the quickest way to do that is to move myself.” (Gabrielle Roth) 5Rhythms can also be lived as a spiritual dynamic meditation practice. There are people who dance through the 5Rhythms every day for at least an hour and thus quiet their minds.
Move the soul and it will heal itself. Move the body and the mind will be ordered and quieted. There is nothing that cannot be moved through dance. Everybody can dance. The 5Rhythms are called: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. Each rhythm is a specific energy field in which one’s own expression is found and shaped. According to Gabrielle Roth, the 5Rhythms follow a universal energy pattern. They are eternal laws that can be found on many levels of vital development processes. They run in an ascending and descending natural arc like a wave, called “the wave” as part of the 5Rhythm terminology.
With each “wave” we come more directly to ourselves, brokenness finds healing, and we can experience a state of oneness. “When you get your psyche moving, it heals itself.” (Gabrielle Roth) The 5Rhythms take us into the deep layers of our body structures and ultimately allow us to dance far beyond the physical and the mind.
When we dance the 5Rhythms, we move on an instinctive level. Neurophysiologically, we move entirely in the brain stem area. We become one again with our very own creative power and express it directly with our dance. We finally end up where we simply are: in the here and now, in the stillness of the present moment. There, encounters are then also simple and authentic. We can stretch our own imagination as well as our body.
Each rhythm teaches us in a specific way. The more often and continuously we dance, the more we will encounter different and sometimes surprisingly different qualities as our dance develops and our dance of the 5Rhythms deepens, because each rhythm can bring forth shadow and light energies. The dark aspect is danced out when energies were blocked and are now allowed to break out. There is nothing that cannot be danced. The qualities of the 5 rhythms are all explored for the duration of a Wave, and each person feels more or less or completely at home in one or the other of them.
We free ourselves from blocked feelings and thoughts that have manifested in our physical body in the form of rigid holding patterns, various tensions, as well as organic complaints. This allows our life energy to flow again and we feel our aliveness.
The wave slowly grows in height and moves over soft, flowing
soft, flowing movements to clear, jagged
clear, jagged movements (staccato)
unrestricted wild ecstasy (chaos)
and heart-opening self-expression (lyrical)
into meditative stillness.
5Rhythms is free dance without step sequences that have to be learned or mastered. These rhythms are within us, they are the dance of our soul, which is to be discovered and which gives expression to our inner worlds. For every rhythm there is a suitable music. Gabrielle Roth herself has composed wave music with her music band “Mirrors” that can be used.
We start the Wave in the first rhythm by noticing ourselves. We move round and flowing, soft and light. Each movement flows into the next. We are aware of our physical body and what level our energy is at and what feelings are coming up. We are open and receptive. Flowing relates to more feminine aspects of energy.
If there are obstacles or blocks in life, fear and inertia can arise, but by flowing continuously from one dance movement to another, through constant and actually natural change, we dissolve these retarding feelings. By surrendering to the perpetual and interflowing in our movements and giving our weight to the earth, the essential quality of this rhythm opens up to us. We connect with the flow of our energy, open our heart and the feeling of love can flow. We feel the certainty of being carried in the great universal continuum of becoming and passing away.
In the second rhythm we connect with the power of our heart. We move to the beat of the music in straight, clear, purposeful forms, direct, active, precise. We dance resolutely by describing linear, straight or diagonal directions in space, we set accentuated stops and viewpoints and consciously change direction there. We show decisive clarity and direction with our body periphery and also from within.
In the meantime, self-awareness, an alert perception of one’s own integrity and of being in the space is established. We know what we want and what we don’t want. We dance a clear “there” and “away from here”, “so yet” and “not so”, “this way around” and “not this way”, “yes” and “no”. The body and the walking-dancing directions model their own staccato performance. The feeling is power and corresponds to masculine principles in us such as opening to the world and also clear demarcation. When the staccato aspect cannot flow in life, a feeling of being detached, hardening and anger dominates. During the dance wave, we can move in a choppy, stomping, “straight” or “tight” way when we are doing staccato.
In the third rhythm we bring together the first two opposing rhythms of Flowing and Staccato and let our bodies go in movement. Masculine and feminine energies are connected. All forms are allowed to dissolve. We simply dance chaotically and unpredictably. Everything that comes, every impulse, the whole range of our aliveness dances itself completely unordered. Dance, music and dancer are one. We are totally open and awake to our intuition. We reach ecstasy. If the path to this rhythm as an aspect of life is difficult, the control of our (super)ego hinders us. We do not allow ourselves to dive into the body and simply dissolve into it. We become sad or depressed. However, the music in the third rhythm in the wave dance and the two rhythms before it help us to express chaos without effort.
In the fourth rhythm we transcend. “Head” and “heart”, are one. In Lyrical we can become our very own, authentic dance. A change of energy takes place, relief occurs — like after long crying or laughing, when the body has shaken uncontrollably from pain, sadness or joy. We breathe a sigh of relief, breathe more deeply, are more relaxed. We free ourselves from physical, emotional and mental blockages.
A feeling of lightness sets in. Lyrical wants to fly, compose, write poetry, paint — pure joy arises. We can move supplely, tumbling sinking, fluttering and floating. We arrive in being. If this energy is not allowed to unfold in life, disorientation and complete “drifting away” may be a consequence. The mind flutters off somewhere and is no longer in the here and now and at one with the body. In this case, lyrical can lead us back in dance — “flying” yes, but not “being lost”.
In the fifth rhythm everything comes to rest. In stillness our movements become slow, like slow motion, accompanied by a strong sense of self-awareness and connection with ourselves, with others and with a greater whole. The peaceful state is now simply there. Compassion for all being in the world flows within as the movements slow down to stillness, lying or sitting — in meditation postures. If the energy of stillness is not possible, there is a state of dullness and resignation in life. Wave dance, however, makes this stillness energy possible from living through the previous rhythms little by little. Then there is nothing left to do but be.
The 5Rhythms maps
In relation to her concept of rhythms, Gabrielle Roth speaks of different healing “maps” for the body, the feelings, the mind, the soul and the spirit. Meditation dance forms the basis for these maps, the tools on the continuous path of self-awareness and self-knowledge. So the Waves are one of several levels of approaching the 5Rhythms. With them, their exploration begins on the physical exploration in dance.
We have come to be danced
Not the pretty dance
Not the pretty, see me, take me dance,
but the one with the claws back into the belly of the sacred,
the sensual animal dance
That lifts everything off its hinges.…
Not the numb, doltish wiggle with the ass for him dance,
but the wring the sorrow from our skin dance.
The shove the louse from our liver dance.
Den wring from our shoulders the excuse for being there Dance.…
Not the nice invisible inhibited slider,
But the felt-haired voodoomama shaman Old bone shaking dance
Den detach us from the shuttering, give us back our wings,
Den sharpen our claws and tongue dance
Den shed dead cells and slip into the glowing skin of love dance.…
We have come to be danced.…
(Excerpts from a poem by Jewel Mathieson from the book: “The Chaos of Silence” by Gabrielle Roth)
Gabrielle Roth also related the 5Rhythms to the elements, the stages of human development from egg to infant, childhood adulthood to death, partial aspects of Western psychology, the collective unconscious, soul archetypes and spiritual development, exploring the whole terrain of people’s inner and outer worlds, as well as their relationships to others and the world around them.
The 5Rhythms maps are as follows:
- Waves — freedom of the body — Embodiment — accessing the deep inner wisdom of the human body via dancing the five different rhythms.
- Heartbeat — freedom of emotions — shows how people have internalised (emboded) the feelings of fear, anger, sadness, joy, devotion and compassion in the body and how they express them.
- Cycles — freedom of the psyche — provides insight and understanding into how conditioning and relationships have been internalised throughout the life cycle of a person, especially during birth, childhood, puberty, adulthood and death.
- Mirrors — Freedom from the Ego — Insight and Understanding into the Ego
- Silver Desert — Mystical Realisation.
Gabrielle Roth was an American dancer and musician who was involved in world music and trance dance and had a special interest in shamanism. She worked at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and the Omega Institute for Holostic Studies. She founded an experimental theatre in New York, wrote three books (Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice, Maps to Ecstasy: Teachings of an Urban Shaman, Ecstatic Dance, Totem and Connections: The 5 Threads of Intuitive Wisdom.), released over twenty trance dance music CDs with her band “The Mirrors” and made twenty videos.
She founded the Moving Center School in New York in 1977, which continues her work and has certified over 400 5Rhythm teachers worldwide. The collaboration with Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, in whose groups she taught movement therapy, inspired Gabrielle Roth to her concept of the Maps and the 5Rhythms, because she recognised that energy always follows certain rhythms. With dance as a path to awareness, as meditation, she became known worldwide. After her death in 2012, her son Jonathan Horan continues her 5Rhythm school, so that the concept can also be experienced by future generations.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)