5RTA | February 2017 Teacher Spotlight


Amber Ryan

United States


5Rhythms Teacher since 2008

Tribe Member since 2000


There is an inspiring conscious festival culture flourishing on the planet — gatherings that seek to elevate the human spirit en mass. These are collaborative experiences between artists, musicians, transformative movement modalities, and progressive eco-consciousness; experiences which aim to direct our awareness toward how we can evolve to be be better global citizens and stewards of our planet. They offer up the dream of our conscious evolution and pave the path toward the realization of that dream.

This year, I am beyond grateful to share the 5Rhythms® practice at Envision Festival for the fourth time, inviting embodied groove lovers to open the breath, clear the body, to pause and evaluate the patterns of how we move and exist in our lives at large. To look into the mirror of the experience and see… Where we are open and free? Where we are contracted and closed?

This year I will be holding space at the beginning and end of the festival, inviting us to create sacred, intentional threshold crossings. In the beginning, what do we want to receive for ourselves and what do we want to give and offer up to the experience? At the end, what do we intend to take with us into our lives and our communities? What practices will be our allies in building a more conscious, awakened, interconnected life? How can we grow always in the direction of greater of joy, harmony, and love?

In any concentrated experience — whether class, workshop, immersion, or festival — the bridge and the take-away are just as important as the experience itself. At Envision Festival we have an opportunity to thread a profoundly soulful and communal experience into the rhythm and beat of our everyday lives.

If the time is ripe for you, gather with 5,000 adventurous souls in the Costa Rican beach jungle for this heart-opening celebration of global humanity. We will raise the bar and open the pathways to an elevated individual and collective dream. We will embark on a journey where the visionary within us is empowered to emerge and thrive.


Envision Festival

with Amber Ryan


23 February 2017 - 26 February 2017

Rancho La Merced, Uvita




Mark Bonder

United States


5Rhythms Teacher since 0

Tribe Member since 2000


I fell into the 5Rhythms practice quite by accident. I was out at Esalen, in Big Sur CA, in October of 2000 for a workshop in Overtone Singing. I’d been practicing Yoga for about a year at that point, so I’d intended to get up for the 7:30am class before breakfast. When I woke up, my clock said 7:25. D’oh! I looked on the schedule to see what my other options were. “7:45 – Shall We Dance?” it said. And I thought, “I don’t know . . shall we??”

What I didn’t know was that that one event would have such a profound life-altering effect on me. It turns out that I had dropped in to a 5Rhythms class with Ellen Watson. I loved it so much, I went back the next day as well, and by the end of that class I was breathlessly asking, “Where can I do this where I live?” Within a month I was attending Sunday evening classes with Caroline Kohles, and shortly after that, began attending weekly classes with Jonathan Horan as well. I’d hit the motherlode!

My first experience with Gabrielle was not as a teacher, but as a dinner companion. It was Jonathan’s birthday in December of 2000, and a group of dancers went out to dinner to celebrate after class. I was fortunate enough to have wound up sitting right next to Gabrielle. I feel really lucky to have had that opportunity to connect with her as a person first, before experiencing her as “Gabrielle, the Urban Shaman.” It led to me feeling really at home in the practice, and over time I considered her a friend just as much as a teacher.

Although these days it seems I view everything as a dance, Ironically I was never a dancer before that first class at Esalen. I had a strong background in music and energy work, but no connection to dance at all. I think this helped me separate the practice from both social dance and formal dance, and really drop into it as an energetic moving meditation all its own. I would say that most of what I’ve learned both spiritually, and about relationships, has come from my experiences on the 5Rhythms dance floor.

I completed my 5R Teacher Training in April of 2011 and have been teaching classes on Long Island, as well as subbing for Jonathan’s classes in NYC. Fascination in Rhythm is about paying attention to the most simple elements with a feeling of curiosity and “beginner’s mind”. I hope I can share my fascination with fascination itself, and help the dancer to drop into that deeper space within the Rhythms.



Waves: Fascination in Rhythm
with Mark Bonder
12 February 2017 - 12 February 2017
Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, New York




Upcoming workshops in February


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