I’m Sarah Davies, an artist passionate about movement as a catalyst to creativity, and teacher of Open Floor Movement Practice, 5 Rhythms, and member of the International Conscious Movement Teachers Association.
My journey as a conscious dance teacher
I live in Forest Row, East Sussex with my teenage son and partner. We moved from London to Forest Row in 2007, a year before I trained to teach 5 Rhythms. We moved here so that our son could go to the Steiner School and grow up in an environment with plenty of trees and fresh air. One of the things I love about the ‘alternative community’ of Forest Row is the diverse range of people that are attracted to live here.
I hired the village hall on the only time slot available (that fitted with my son’s then very short school hours), 9.15–10.30 on a Friday morning. The classes I’d been to in London were all evening classes, so dancing in the morning was a concept to me and amazingly, people came . They didn’t always come, twice I was on my own, twice just one person, but usually five or six or seven people. Several times I planned to announced that I’d stop the class and each time someone would speak before me and say something complimentary, like they’d been looking forward to it all week, which then would have made it seem rude to announce it was ending. So, I continued, and along with support of a few key individuals the class started to grow. As it grew it became easier for new people to join, it felt more substantial and the community-within-a-community was established.
Over the years I tried various monthly and twice-monthly evening classes and we now have ‘Saturday Night Sweat’ which has grown into a huge group in a huge glorious venue, of The Gym at Michael Hall School. Quite a neat circular story to be in the school that brought us to Forest Row in the first place.
Catalysing My Creativity
In 1987, I studied a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Fine Art with Sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan University. In the sculpture department one of my tutors once asked me “Can you communicate with inanimate objects”, as a young adult this fed my soulful curiosity to engage with the world in a realm beyond words. I also enjoyed the club and dance scene in Manchester. I went on to work as a sculptors assistant for an environmental arts organisation, carving stone, weaving willow and facilitating public art community events.
In 1994 I moved to London and was awarded a two year residency at the Florence Trust Studios, immersing myself in my own Fine Art practice. I made installations from found materials and exhibited my work. Being part of a group of artists fed me on many levels, seeing not only my but others process with the creative journey, riding the ebb and flow of projects, practicing creativity as a daily activity weather the mood / muse is present or not. I assisted other sculptors during this time and made art to commission.
In 1997 I learnt computing skills and made a change of direction, taking an office job for a consulting company in central London. Having the predictability of a 9-5 sitting at a desk gave me some balance to my life, as, after work I went exploring the ‘alternative healing’ scene in London. From tai-chi to kundalini, shamanic trance to gestalt therapy and eventually, finding myself on a 5 Rhythms dance floor.
In 1999 I went back to part-time studying, attending the London Metropolitan University to complete a part-time Master of Arts (MA) in Digital Moving Image (Animation). I got a distinction in my first year project!. During this time I was lucky enough to get a job as a tutor on a Multimedia Design Course, my role was to encourage and increase the potential for creativity in the intereactive projects which were still quite new then. Its ironic that my interest in movement took me further into working on computers, which by it’s nature, for the user, reduces movement! I was continually struck how computer use renders the user immobile, hunched up, for myself and my collegaues, prolongued use meaning we squint and strain and get repetitive strain injury, all the while celebrating movement on the screen. I kept going to 5Rhythms dancing in the evenings, my main teacher was Sue Rickards I loved, and still love, her permissive connecting style of teaching.
How Dance Taught me to Survive, Breathe and Feel my Feet
In 2000 I married Matt, and in 2003 I became a Mum to our twins. At this point my life totally turned upside down and inside out in a rollercoaster of crisis. One of the twins had almost died at birth, he was resuscitated and lived an intensely difficult life, until, nine months later he died. Of course there’s a lot I could say about this time, it was torturous, and one of the twins was a bonny bouncing bundle of health (now a happily thriving teenager), so it was a mixed time, a very difficult juggle. I feel completely changed by this time, there was me before this happened, and me after this happened, after my heart was torn apart and every part of me was broken down.
With Sue supporting me, I went back to her classes, the dance took on a whole new meaning, a place to move with these indescribably complex feelings, to grieve, to fall apart and get back together again, to teach me I can survive, breathe and feel my feet, to save me from a permanent collapse.
I was dancing in-depth ongoing groups with Susannah and Ya’Acov darling Khan as well as with Sue Rickards. I feel so grateful to have had their holding and support and the wisdom of their work at that time in my life, even though it feels like a cliché to say it, I really don’t know how I would have survived otherwise.
It made sense to then train in 5 Rhythms, to be able to hold a space for others in the same way I’d been held, to give back and to be there for others going through the myriad of things that life bowls our way.
Who am I? I’m interested in relationships and presence. I’m fascinated in the creative process and in bringing this into my movement classes. I’m exploring how to be in the world, how to be in the now, with my family, as an artist and the art of living everyday as well as I can.
Riding the Wave to 5 Rhythms
I started studying moving meditation in 1998 and through Shamanic trance-dance and Gestalt therapy I found my way to 5 Rhythms. In 2008 I completed the 5 Rhythms Teacher Training with Gabrielle Roth.
After Gabrielle Roth’s death in 2012 I continued to work with this team as they formed Open Floor International and I hopped into the group of Founding Members. I’m fully trained in Open Floor Movement, and am apprenticing with Andrea Juhan to teach Libido, while developing the ‘Art in Motion’ department of Open Floor.
The overlap of creativity, sexuality and spirituality is something I’m fascinated in. How we ‘mine’ the source of our energy, our life force, how we pursue our passion and fully own our zest for life and the whole range of experiences that life can bring.
International Conscious Movement Teachers Association
I’m a member of the International Conscious Movement Teachers Association. Created in 2013, it’s an independent not-for-profit professional association supporting and representing teachers of dance meditation and conscious movement. Its members are dedicated to serving people in being more fully alive, creative, original and authentic in their self-expression, primarily through using the medium of the body-in-motion.
While the founding members of the ICMTA are teachers of the 5Rhythms®, trained and certified by Gabrielle Roth, the ICMTA anticipates that its membership will eventually expand to embrace and welcome teachers of other conscious dance and movement modalities.