5Rhythms® is a dynamic movement meditation practice created by Gabrielle Roth.
"The fastest way I've found to still the mind and be aware of the moment is to move the body," - Gabrielle Roth, Maps to Ecstasy (1989: 2).
Gabrielle Roth was a visionary who devoted much of her life to developing the 5Rhythms dance practice through her many years of teaching. She was a dancer, musician, theatre director, author and philosopher. As well as being an electrifying speaker, she was a devotee of shamanic, ecstatic dance and meditation practice, who believed passionately in the transformative and healing power of dance.
Gabrielle developed the 5Rhythms practice as a movement map which invites each of us to explore our dance in our own unique way. There are no steps to follow. We are encouraged instead to let go into different movement explorations and allow ourselves to be danced. The intention is that everyone can move in this way, regardless of age, fitness or physical ability.
“After years of witnessing dancing bodies, I began to see patterns in their movements, an infrastructure underlying all our experience, a living language,” – Gabrielle Roth.
The 5Rhythms are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. They are universal patterns which we explore in our dance. Each Rhythm invites us to embody our dance in a different way and together the Rhythms offer endless movement possibilities.
The sequence of the 5Rhythms, known as a ‘Wave’, is a mirror of how energy moves, and it takes us on a dance journey.
"Energy moves in waves.
Waves move in patterns.
Patterns move in rhythms.
A human being is just that…
energy, waves, patterns, rhythms….
Nothing more. Nothing less. A dance.”
- Gabrielle Roth
The first half hour of a 5Rhythms class is spent warming up to music. This is a time for each of us to do what we need to do to arrive and begin to connect with our dance. Some time is then spent moving our attention through our different body parts. For the main part of the class we move through the map of the 5Rhythms following guidance from the teacher and supported by music. We dance alone and we are also invited at times to dance with another or in a group if we want to. Teachers play a wide variety of musical genres and moods selected to support our dance, from wild and funky to gentle and slow.
The work we do in a Waves class links to different levels of practice within the 5Rhythms map which can be studied in greater depth. These include connection with the elements, emotions, life cycles, ritual theatre and archetypes.
A 5Rhythms class that is led with minimal spoken instruction is called a Sweat Your Prayers session.
There are over 400 certified teachers of 5Rhythms internationally and this work constantly inspires countless dancing souls and communities around the world.