5Rhythms Tribe | Deconstruct to a New Paradigm: Empowering Embodiment through the 5Rhythms

September 20, 2019

by Karen Chapman, North Carolina, USA

‘I have decided to stick with love; hate is too great a burden to bear’. This is the quote from Martin Luther King Junior which inspired ‘DeConstruct To a New Paradigm’, an exhibition put on in the summer from July 19th-August 16th in Asheville, North Carolina, by a collective of woman artists. I was a part of this wonderful exhibition and wove in 5Rhythms through a movement session at the art opening on Aug. 2nd and an empowerment staccato workshop Aug. 3rd, during the exhibition. In gratitude to Gabrielle Roth, I created a small installation to invite her love and creativity for movement.

The project was about being inspired by MLKJ’s quote through art and movement: how can we love more, rather than hate each other? How can we build this into a new paradigm? Curator Tekla Howachyn invited the collective of women artists to join her in expressing their love to create a new paradigm, exploring how this looks visually. The ‘DeConstruct To a New Paradigm’ was painted by Mary Lounsbury.


I was excited to be part of this collective and inspired by the beautiful installation, especially the labyrinth and the doorways, which show that there are always new possibilities of moving through our sufferings and challenges.
I wanted to work with empowerment and how to love ourselves through movement, using 5Rhythms as a tool. I invited exploration of the questions: How do we stay strong and empowered in a chaotic, unpredictable world? How can we give ourselves the love and care that we need to carry on? The idea being that we cannot think our way to the answers to these – living investigation, through setting the body into motion, is the way through. 4

In the staccato workshop, dancers created power symbols which they then physically moved through and around, allowing them to break through some of the barriers in their lives and open up to more love in their hearts.
Our dancefloor was a labyrinth surrounded by lights, inspired by Marty Cain, the matriarch of labyrinths who travels all over the world to create them. The beauty of the exhibition layout is that we were able to be surrounded by the art, absorbing and interacting with it. Dancing around the labyrinth allowed our movement to be influenced by the art; all of this became part of the dance. We were able to go within to move, using our power symbols as our guides to feel and to give us strength when living in a chaotic, unpredictable world.
I want to thank Tekla Howachyn, Marty Cain, Jenny Kiehn, Kathleen Kondilas, Jay Pfeil and Mary Lounsbury for being apart of this amazing women’s artist collective. I feel that in this exploration, we brought to life this quote of 5Rhythms: “Movement is both the medicine and the metaphor, reaching across all languages, cultures and age groups to transform suffering into art, art into awareness, and awareness into action.”

Karen completed her training as a 5Rhythms teacher in 2015/16 under the amazing leadership of Jonathan Horan. She teaches 5Rhythms in Asheville, NC, where she’s lived for over 20 years. She works, plays, and loves nature, art and music.

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