Beginner’s Guide

A beginner’s guide…

Some information from the Moving Center:

Welcome to the 5Rhythms

The Movement Work of Gabrielle Roth
This might help you dive in and enjoy your first experience in the 5Rhythms

What are the 5Rhythms?

The 5Rhythms comprise a simple movement practice designed to release the dancer that lives in every body, no matter what its shape, size, age, limitations and experience. To find your dance is to find yourself, at your most fluid and creative level. While the practice itself is the essence of simplicity, it has the catalyze deep healing and creative expression.

The primary teaching of this work is: If you put the psyche in motion, it will heal itself.

The five rhythms are flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. They come together to create the Wave, a movement meditation practice. Rather than having steps to follow, each rhythm is a different energy field in which you find your own expression and choreography, thereby stretching your imagination as well as your body. Each rhythm is a teacher and you can expect to meet different and sometimes unknown aspects of yourself as your dance unfolds and your practice of the rhythms deepens over time.

The rhythms are the foundation of Gabrielle’s body of work, a series of healing maps for the body, heart, mind, soul and spirit that provide a lifetime of self-discovery and a path to awakening. The 5Rhythms practice starts you on that journey and is the place to which you will always return.

What happens on the dance floor?

In every class or workshop, there is always a wide range of experience in the 5Rhythms work – from first-timers to certified Wave addicts. In any given class, the teacher will be following the energy in the room. So, while the essential map is one of the five rhythms, the teacher might take the class through the entire Wave or focus on just one rhythm or one facet of a rhythm.
The rhythms themselves are gateways to literally thousands of different movement landscapes. Like the body, they are alive and designed to catalyze the dancer’s movement expression in the moment. You are different every time you walk in the room, so is the group and so is the teacher. Therefore, each class holds completely unique possibilities.

How do I start?

1. Go at your own pace.
2. Be responsible for your own body (stay aware of injuries and limitations).
3. Keep your eyes open to stay aware of others.
4. Dance barefoot or in dance shoes only – no socks on the floor.
5. Move how you feel and stay open to changing.
6. Know that everything that is alive has a dance, and your only task is to find and express yours.
7. Enjoy yourself! (Excessive seriousness may slow you down.)

Information For Beginners From Gabrielle Roth

When you walk onto a 5Rhythms dance floor you may ask yourself?

I’ve just walked in and everyone seems to be doing different things – what are they up to?

They’re warming up. Some people stretch while others just start to dance gently. Often it helps to start on the floor, moving gently and feeling your weight supported. Try to get warm and get moving any way that feels right for you.

What happens after the warm-up?

There will be some instruction from the teacher – sometimes a lot and sometimes very little. Most classes comprise some solo dancing, some partner work and some dance as a whole group. As the name suggests the rhythm and tempo of the music will usually progress through 5 rhythms in a wave from flowing music to staccato (rhythmic music) to chaos and back down to lyrical (lighter music) and stillness (music for moving with the quality of stillness.

What happens if the teacher says “take a partner” and I don’t want to?

The most important thing is to be true to yourself. This might mean thanking but stepping away from a partner or just turning your back. It’s a gift to the other person to be honest with them – and if they feel hurt or rejected this is just more stuff to put into their dance and learn to express and move through.

What if the teacher gives an instruction I don’t feel like following?

If you’re really deeply into your dance or if an instruction feels wrong for you, you don’t have to follow it. On the other hand this is a laboratory of sorts – you are encouraged to experiment trying things that break your patterns. If its unusual for you to try something new then you might go along with the teacher anyhow. If it’s unusual for you to say no, then you might want to try doing so here.

What do I do when I get bored, feel really self conscious, busy-headed or judgemental?

This is a movement meditation and while its great to be totally ‘present’ and absorbed in your own dance, most of us can’t sustain that state throughout. The teacher will offer you different ‘doorways’ into this state but here are a few suggestions in the meantime:
1. Put your feeling into movement – dance your boredom or self-consciousness…. Exaggerate it, get fascinated by it – on the whole really being where you are is the best medicine.
2. Focus on any body part, such as your left elbow, and let it lead your dance. You will find different body parts have very different dances for you and that as your dance becomes stranger and more varied it will absorb you more and more.
3. Connect – find someone else to dance with and focus on them

Some people seem to be having sensual dances together – what’s this all about?

You might see people dancing together intimately on the floor or otherwise. Occasionally there’s some sexual energy between them, other times you’ll imagine there is just because it’s such an unusual sight. This is a practice of presence in which you can express a fleeting attraction without committing to marriage. You should be prepared for connections to change from class to class. Some beginners are broken hearted to find that someone they had an amazing dance with, goes on to dance just as closely with another person. If you do end up feeling rejected, disgusted, jealous etc, we encourage you to try to put those feelings into your dance.

What should I do if someone seems really upset?

On the whole people can handle their own feelings and we don’t advise you try to comfort the crying or soothe the angry. You might actually end up interrupting an important and therapeutic process they are going through. The teacher and crew will keep an eye out for those who might need help.

What if I knock into or hurt someone by accident?

Keep your eyes open when on the move and stay aware so as not to hurt anyone. Even so it may still happen. If it does then you are responsible for them – to check they are okay, to taken them out and apply first aid or get help as needed.