Why are we here? We came to dance. Dance your heart out. Dance the 5Rhythms. It is a meditation.
All my life I had this need to move, to feel my body. I tried different movement practices and dances like Jazz Dance, Tai Chi, Contact Improvisation, Butoh, different kinds of Yoga but nothing woke up my real passion.
More or less 25 years ago I found this book: “Maps to ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement” written by Gabrielle Roth. In her book she talks about a dance practice she developed and called the 5Rhythms. It is a guide to find your own dance. I completely connected to this idea. That was it for me.
But nobody taught this in Barcelona where I lived. 15 years later suddenly there came the first workshops to Spain. So I started to go to all the workshops I could in Mallorca, Barcelona and Madrid. My life started to change. I met a lot of people who loved to dance like myself. We are now part of a huge Dancing Tribe. Meeting again and again, dancing in different places. I connected with my passion!
The 5Rhythms is a practice of movement and conscious dance created by Gabrielle Roth, who discovered 5 universal rhythms in which all energy patterns of everything that exists, manifest: Flow, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.
To dance the rhythms is an awakening of your essential nature, intuition, imagination as well as of your body. Its a form without form which expands your physical-emotional expression and connects you with the forgotten parts of yourself.
Its a way of creative, artistic, therapeutic, playful, ecstatic and meditative exploration which helps you to be a witness of your fascinating existence. You don’t need to know how to dance, neither dance in an aesthetic way. This practice invites you to discover your authentic movement.
So lets see what the 5Rhythms are
They are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. The 5 of them, when brought together, create a Wave. Each rhythm is a state of being. Almost everything in life evolves around these fundamental rhythms.
So lets start with the first rhythm:
Flowing is the feminine energy. The energy of the mother. The rhythm of the earth. It is the state of being fluid, of hanging loose and being flexible. When you are in your flow you feel confident in yourself because you are connected to the earth and in harmony with her rhythms, cycles and moods. You don’t resist what is happening, you surrender and you are flowing in soft movements and circles through the continuous change.
Staccato is the masculine energy. The energy of the father. It is fire, passion, action. In Staccato you know what you want and you go for it. It is dancing with your bones, creating all kinds of lines, angles and edges like geometry in motion. You are challenging your limits and going beyond them with decision.
Chaos is where the rhythm of Flowing and Staccato collide, where the feminine and masculine meet. It is water. It is vibration. It is being out of control. Letting go of control. It is empty space or the abyss. Letting go of the mind, loosening up, dissolving and opening up to your intuition and to the unknown.
Lyrical is the rhythm of air. When you have emptied yourself of everything you don’t need, you can fly, you can find your own essence, your being, your creativity, your playfulness, your lightness. It is your dance, your celebration and you can share it with everybody around you without losing yourself.
Dancing the 5Rhythms can change your life
First of all, you can make it a dance practice you do regularly in a group or alone with yourself. Every time you dance you become conscious of: how your body feels that day and what your emotions are doing to you. Putting your attention into your body and how it wants to move, brings you out of your mind. You become more flexible (flowing), more clear in your decisions (staccato), it becomes more easy to let go (chaos), you turn more joyful, creative and playful (lyrical) and you fall into a deep meditation where you allow yourself just to be (stillness).
And then you can apply it in your daily life. Like I said before, almost every situation in your life evolves in the rhythms. So there are a lot of difficult situations in your daily life. You are struggling to solve them or escape from them. You feel that you are resistant to what is happening or your mind puts all kind of obstacles in your way. Then stop all activity and dance a Wave … it helps you to sink into your body and to get out of your own way. After that you see things from a distance and you allow everything to fall into place.
The wave of the rhythms is also the key to the entire creative process.
For example, I’ll start to gather ideas for an article I want to write, I think about them, I move them around (flowing), I define the structure, give it a shape (staccato), then I let it all sink in myself and let go of what I found (chaos), so that I can find my own words and expression (lyrical), and the big ah-ha at the end when I have an article in my hand, the sweet stillness of completion.
Why dance in the first place and why I love to dance the 5 Rhythms?
Because dance is one of the primordial activities in every tribe on the planet. Dance connects with the rhythm of earth, sound, music and with every member of the tribe. Dance connects with the body and the heart and soul and disconnects the rational mind.
But in our busy, crazy and stressful world in which we live today we have completely forgotten this.
Dancing is almost the only meditation that works for me. I can’t come from action and dealing with my daily life to simply sit down, close my eyes, breath and meditate. Then my mind gets crazy. First I have to move, shake everything out. My mind has to disappear into my body.
So knowing that I am going to dance in a group, gives me that joyful feeling of “I will go and dedicate myself to my body”. And then when I arrive and enter the dancing space, I connect with my body and I check how it feels in this moment. I feel into every part of it. I feel where it is stuck, where there is pain. I fall into my body. I give myself the gift of time and complete presence. There is nothing else to do. Nothing to accomplish. Nothing to think about. Nobody to please. I listen to my body, and I only move like the body wants to move and I be with it. This leads me to reconnect with my spirit and I am disappearing in the dance.
If I feel any physical or emotional pain, I dance with it and into it and normally it disappears. Movement of the body helps to dissolve pain, stuckness and rigidity. Being totally in the moment and accepting life as it unfolds, riding the Wave is a healing, a meditation.
At the end I feel completely relaxed, energized, and in a way full and in peace with myself and the world.
For me this sacred dancing space is a place to express my craziness, my wildness, my sadness …a place where I can be myself, and that makes me more confident in life.
So when you love to move….and sitting meditation is not your favorite to calm down… Embody the movement.
But as well, when you feel stuck. Nothing in your life is moving. You don’t know what to do, where to go. Take a deep breath and move. Dance.
And even when you think “I can’t do this”. “I can’t move”. “I am afraid to dance, because I am not a dancer”. Close your eyes, feel the music, take your time. Find your rhythm, your beat, connect with your breath and simply follow how the body wants to move. In the beginning you will feel strange, stiff, clumsy, allow it to be like this. Observe and let go, soften your body, play with it, don’t “do” the dance. Let the dance “do” you.
If you can move, walk, run, play, swim, you can dance.
We dance and move to recover our balance, and when we find it, we can reconnect with our essential being, which is buried in our daily routines. Dancing we find again the power of breathing and the power of community. We gain clarity, health and freedom. The Wave is a guide, a map for our journey back home.
Aren’t we all looking for our place in this world. And what a relieve to discover that our place actually isn’t that far away. A lot of us travel around the world to find ourselves and our home, and isn’t it a great surprise, when we suddenly find out, that we only have to go inwards.
When I am going to dance I have this anticipation, this feeling of “I will travel home”. And then I arrive. I enter the dancing space, I connect to my body, I connect to my roots. I ride on the wave. I let go of my talking head, I surrender myself to the dance and I arrive back home, back home in my body.
Nothing feels more relaxing, more in peace, more soft and full of bliss than being at home in our bodies.
So what are you waiting for. If this story touched and moved you, find a dancing space, find the music, find your feet…and Dance. Nobody can do your dance, but you.
A last question: “Why are we here?” and the answer: “We came to dance.”
So the 5Rhythms are my passion, but they are not the only dance practice, there are quite a lot of other dancing practices. You are invited to share your experiences with different practices.
I also appreciate any remarks or feedback you may have.