Our Tribe

“Community is the next Buddha.” - Thich Nhat Hahn

The 5Rhythms community is a 21st century collective unbound by history, culture, race, religion, gender or politics. We are bound by the beat, following our feet on a dancing path to freedom. We are beat-driven, service-oriented, heart-based individuals who come together to embrace our tribal longings. The measure of a community is its respect for the wisdom of its elders, the innocence of its children, the passion of its artists and the hope of its healers. We are committed to inspiring and serving these roots and wings of community.

Community Art.
A collaborative project gathering inspiration from our worldwide 5Rhythms tribe.
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Join our community of 100,000+ feet dancing every year, all across the world.
Hear, in their own words, about their experiences with 5Rhythms.

Warren Summers, Spirit Danced My Body, Spoken Word Sydney, Australia

“Spirit danced past my body, My body danced past your heart, Your heart danced past my future, And my future danced past my past
My past danced through the
ancestors, The ancestors dance through the
breath, This breath dances with the seekers, with the lovers, with the dreamers....And the seeking is dancing with death.”

Anja Mutic, Ever the Nomad: The Surprise of the 5Rhythms Travel Writer Brooklyn, NY, USA & Zagreb, Croatia

“For two entire hours, I dance. And I travel, from country to continent, from city to hamlet. A journey with no map, no itinerary and no destination. Despite the random wanderings of my body, the rhythm roots it into this very moment. There is no other place I’d rather be. There is no place I want to go. My wanderlust, quenched.”

Anne Marie Hogya, 5Rhythms in The Workplace: Exploring Movement as a Corporate Training Approach, BSc (Occupational Therapy), MA (Leadership) Occupational Therapist and 5Rhythms Teacher Victoria, BC, Canada

“My experience is that to increase the speed and the impact of transformational learning we need to pull the knowledge into the body and lock it in at a cellular level while at the same time taking in information at a visual and auditory level. My belief is that the 5Rhythms is a tool for this type of transformational learning in the workplace.”

Elaine Gale, Confessions of a Free-Range Spiritualist: Dancing For My Life Professor California, USA

“I'm not a yoga person or a skinny mini or even that in shape. I don't have a guru, or mala beads or a zafu. I'm not poly or experimental, I don't have a tantra fingernail. I'm basically a repressed sixth-generation Nebraskan with a doctorate and a tenured professor job. But I love transformational practices, I love my body, love to dance, love to feel and to connect with people. This practice brought me back into my body and into my spirit. It's the closest practice I have ever seen to straight-up shamanism, to taking iawasca, or communing directly with the divine. ”

Anna Gayle, 'Performing the Riots' The body as a site of political action & the 5Rhythms as a tool for transformation , BA Drama, Applied Theatre & Education Performer/Theatre practitioner London, United Kingdom

“Our bodies and behaviours tell the story of our social conditioning, our belief systems, and our personal experience. In movement we embody these narratives, we give them form. We also have the opportunity to deconstruct and re–imagine our identities, every time we step on the floor...”

Chantey Dayal, 5Rhythms dance & Letting go to process Artist, chanteydayal.com Vancouver Island, Canada

“I love to dance the 5Rhythms… it gets me out of my own way. It only asks me to show up and in return, holds me in letting go. Dancing allows me into an artistic process without attachment to outcome. This leads to strokes, tones, and feelings pouring out onto the canvas like the journey of a song. It opens my hands up to possibility and investigation. 5Rhythms is a gateway that allows me to paint boldly on the canvas and to discover all the living parts of my creative self.”

Pharaoh K Embodiment Gabrielle Roth Mix DJ / Producer Bristol

“I had just finished composing my track 'Embodiment' when I realised that it was missing something. I had already decided on the name of the track, so I typed 'Embodiment' into YouTube and the first thing that came up was an amazing interview with the late Gabrielle Roth, where she spoke about the experience of losing yourself in music and allowing your body to move in its own natural way. I really resonated with her words and as if by fate, they fitted so well with my song, so I had to put it in!”

Helena Kallner, Dancing Dialogue: 5Rhythms & Gestalt Therapy Gestalt Psychotherapist Stockholm, Sweden

“I believe that movement is our first language, and that movement is our primary support for all contacting. The Rhythms offers me a vocabulary within this language, that helps me to listen, sense, feel, explore, communicate and express myself in relation to others, myself and all that is around me. Through the Rhythms I have also found a community, a worldwide family of dancers. For all this I am always and ever grateful.”

Eliezer Sobel, My Adventures with an Urban Shaman Eliezer's business card simply says 'Human Being,' but his wife insists he only works part-time. New York, USA

“I have literally been around the world meeting gurus and teachers, shamans and supposed messiahs and avatars, and yet Gabrielle was the only one who let me into her apartment still in her pajamas. Meaning, she was the only one that let me in, period.”

Rosalie Kubny, Dance as Elicitive Motion: A Different Way to Unfold Peace, 5Rhythms as Inner Peacework MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, Dance Therapist (to-be) Austria

“Where am I? Here. What time is it? Now. What am I? This moment. This body. This motion. This dance.”

Eleonora Valle, 5Rhythms poetry Art Director & Graphic Designer London

“I love to laugh, dance, embody the movement, contemplate nature, travel the world to explore places with different stories and cultures. Fueled by my passion, energy and curiosity.”

Nilaya Sabnis, Photographer+Dancer Professional Dancer New York, NY

“It's exhilarating, like being on a rollercoaster with your eyes closed. At some point you get to just stand back and be fascinated by your own dance coming out of you.”

Avital, Transitions Music & Movement Therapist / Drummer Israel

“After the workshop, I feel my body is quiet, my mind is clean and clear.
I have an inner space that helps me cope with life, in a different way.”

Camila Bercetche Bioenergetic Therapist Buenos Aires, Argentina

“5Rhythms is a place to express my craziness, my wildness, my sadness ...a place where I could be myself, and that made more confident in life.”

Prateeksha Katarina Thundal 5Rhythms Dance Teacher / Massage Therapist / Personal Trainer Stockholm, Sweden

“After a 5Rhythms class I feel so relaxed, more open, happy, full of aliveness, I feel more power.”

Mme Patricia PAREJA Psychotherapist / Yoga Teacher Saint Omer, France

“I'm blind. I have long aspired to dance. 5Rhythms is receiving the right to express myself through my body movement.”

Henri Dobson Student London, UK

“It's teaching me where all the barriers are that I build against my heart ...because on the dance floor they all seem to fall away.”

Jim Miller Moven, even with a broken arm San Jose, CA

“I love to move and I love to meditate. I love that there is no right or wrong, just let go and go with the music.”

Joyce Lozito Retired Teacher Portland, OR USA

“I used the process to get me through cancer, to write and to know that life shifts.”

Amy Newman Genealogical Researcher Burnaby, BC Canada

“I feel like this is where I belong. For me, dance is spirituality, it's worship, prayer and meditation.”

Pieter Van Winkle Writer / Naturalist Durango, CO, USA

“Nothing in my life has done more to bring alive my sense of my own voice, my sense of my own power, my physicality, my trust in myself, my own, expressive potential...it touches everything.”

Cyn Practice Manager & MA Westchester, NY

“I work for a doctor and she prescribes it to her patients...It has given me the strength to move forward in my life and a whole new community that is open, accepting and fun!”

Andrew Johnson Retired Librarian Liverpool, UK

“It is a great map for living my life. Going with the flow till you find something you love, working hard at it, releasing it in the world knowing it is meant to be, enjoying the joy, peace and tranquility that follows.”

Jean Claude Dufourd Professor Paris, France

“No more high blood pressure, cholesterol or weight problem. Much less back pain. A lot happier and in excellent physical shape. And for the first time in my life, proud of something having to do with my body—my dance.”

Caroline Bobby Cook & Writer London, UK

“The first words I heard on my first 5Rhythms dance floor were 'Welcome' and 'Don't Give Up'. I'd been waiting a long time to receive those words in my body.”

Scott Raposa Music Artist / Technologist New York, NY USA

“More than almost any other spiritual practice, it's been the deepest reminder of who I truly am and my power. Not to mention how much FUN it can be to come alive.”

Veet Karen Self Employed Caterer Mullumbimby, Australia

“It's an incredible practice that goes deeper than just the dance on the night. It's a journey that stays with you forever in subtle and life changing ways.”

Robyn Schultz Human Being New York, NY USA

“This practice has changed my life that I often remember the first time I walked into your class. This powerful medicine has healed so many wounds since then. This dance has taught me how to listen to my body and understand what its saying on a cellular level. The permission our dance floor offers has freed places that I didn't know existed and shone light. What a sweet seduction...how could I not keep coming back?!”

Notes on Practice: A Blog About My Experiences on the 5Rhythms Dancing Path by Meghan LeBorious

These are only available in English

Notes on Practice: Flying in Formation

At Riis Park, the solitary birds are my first dance partners this morning.  Before long, however, I join with an entire flock, soaring as they soar, holding my arms out wide, twisting in an arc as they move to the farthest edge of an orbit, sinking deep and looping one arm through the other as they change sides, rising suddenly and falling back into my edge, my feet grinding circles in the cold winter sand, covering vast distances on the deserted beach.  Seeking solace and insight in these deeply troubling times, I planned this artwork performance—a ritual, of sorts—hoping to find some clues to show me the way forward.

Another place I go to seek solace and insight are 5Rhythms classes and workshops.  Created by Gabrielle Roth in the 1980’s, 5Rhythms is a dance and movement meditation practice that embodies Gabrielle’s vision, “A body in motion will heal itself.”  The five rhythms are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.  Each rhythm has its own character, which becomes territory for endless experiments.  To dance a wave is to pass through each of the 5Rhythms in sequence.  In a typical two-hour class, we move through two waves.  On first glance, a 5Rhythms room would probably just look like a wild dance club, but for most people it is also much more.  For me, it is laboratory for life, encompassing psychological, emotional, philosophical, interpersonal and shamanic levels.

At a 5Rhythms class just a few days before the performance at Riis Park, 5Rhythms teacher Tammy Burstein says, “We don’t have to just be at a loss, because we have a map,” remarking that many people seem to be stepping into the class “still carrying a lot.” In having a map, we have the comfort of knowing that we have a way forward that doesn’t rely solely on our own initiative or motivation.  This is particularly useful when we feel stuck or overwhelmed, as many, including myself, have felt for the last several months.

Waiting in line for the bathroom before class, a woman I had shared a dance with the week before says, “I love your dance.  It is like you are always weaving, somehow.”  I think she is talking about the way I move through the room, sharing dances, winding gestures inside the empty spaces, and following the currents caused by the many moving bodies.  I introduce myself and smile, thanking her for the compliment and for the feedback.

Just two days later, I find myself weaving the air with my arms as I undertake the performance artwork at Jacob Riis National Seashore.  I had been thinking of doing this performance for many months, but when I finally decide to actually do it, I have less than a week to prepare.  I send an invite to a few close friends, but I send it late at night, just a few days before; and I anticipate that it might be just me and the photographer.

In frigid temperatures, my hair a taut flag in the caustic wind, I set up a wooden box as a table, a dozen glass bottles with corks, a pen, and a ream of paper—barely held in place by a jagged piece of brick.  Then, I begin to move with the ocean birds as they appear in the sky.  I watch them carefully, doing my best to revive the lost art of augury—an important ritual for several groups of ancients—divination, or fortune telling, by the flights of birds.  I hoped to draw some meaning from the sky that might offer hope and direction in the coming months, especially since the political situation has grown increasingly worrisome of late.

Stepping into the 5Rhythms class a few minutes late, I do not start down on the floor, as is my usual custom, but instead stay on my feet and join the group in moving my attention slowly through different body parts, as led by the teacher.  I find vibrant movement quickly, releasing the shoulders, releasing the spine and releasing the head’s weight, which cascade me into circular motion in the first rhythm of Flowing.  Flowing is characterized by rounded, unending motion with a strong emphasis on the feet; and I move softly, with weight, the soles of my feet in in close contact with the floor.

Still engaging in the Body Parts exercise, we segue into the second rhythm of Staccato, and I begin to move around the room. Staccato is characterized by sharp, clear movements with an emphasis on the hips; and I sink low, my knees sharply bent, moving forward and back, my elbows forming pointed triangles and leading me into movement.  Tammy suggests that we could make a choice to just let go of everything we are carrying.  I stop thinking of things outside of the dance and step into many successive, brief partnerships.  Wondering if she perhaps prefers to be left alone, I nonetheless join with a friend who often favors the periphery.  As I move toward her, she smiles and steps forward to dance with me.  Another friend joins us, seeming to boing upward as he approaches, then twisting and weaving around us. We both become even more activated, the three of us moving in an elastic matrix, swapping places and moving around the edge of our small group, and taking turns moving through the middle.

The third rhythm of Chaos and the fourth rhythm of Lyrical reveal the miracle of being totally unique and totally universal, at once.  I join with a woman in Lyrical with whom I have shared many dances of rolling shoulders and circling hips, each of us bending forward in turn as our shoulders descend and cross downward, losing eye contact, then rising again as the shoulder pulls back from blocking the jaw, smiling, and moving similarly around each other’s backs, always arriving again at smiling eye contact.  This time we find new patterns—intricately-syncopated steps inside of steps—as a playful, remixed disco song booms from the powerful speakers.

I learned that the Ancient Roman augurs—the ritualists who read the flights of the birds for official purposes—would have had a great deal of say in who would lead Rome.  If the signs were interpreted favorably, a king or emperor would be crowned—the origin of the word “inauguration.”  It was believed that the birds transmitted the will of the Gods, and reflected the relative chaos or harmony of the larger cosmos.  I wondered what would have happened if anyone read the birds’ flights on January 20, 2017; and if dire predictions would have mattered.

Total porousness comes a little easier after so many years of practice; and it’s been awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of being totally shattered as a result of feeling integrated into the collective field.  In this case, during the fifth and final rhythm, Stillness, I move through the room gently, like breeze, passing through people’s energy fields and allowing them to pass through mine.

Again on the beach in the performance ritual, as words arise, I kneel in front of my little table and write down any phrases that come to mind.  Then, I roll up the paper I have written on, push it into a glass bottle and cork it.  It is very cold and I have to sustain vigorous movement, but I do this a dozen times, quickly, preparing the bottles that will be thrown into the sea at the conclusion of the ritual.  Of my attempts at divination, one stands out:

“In times of fear,

Turn to community-

Fly in formation.”

The following week at class, the experience of having undergone the performance ritual with the birds works its way into my dance.

This time I begin with my body in full contact with the floor in the first rhythm of Flowing, moving in concentric circles in every direction, edgeless, finding tension at the most extended points to stretch my muscles, arcing through my side, shifting over the back of my head onto the spine, then back around.  Still moving in concentric circles on the floor, I begin to move through the room, one leg reaching far behind me and pulling me into another level of circling.  While rolling over the back of my head, I gaze up at the standing people around me, finding empty space as it opens up and moving into it, still on the floor.

I’ve been working with a therapist lately; and we begin each of our sessions with five minutes of movement.  Recently, I started with my ear on the soft oriental carpet.  Hums from the building became audible; and I heard two voices from the floor below in conversation.  I thought of 5Rhythms teacher Kierra Foster-Ba, who has often said, “Just like any other animal, we receive a lot of information from the ground.”  With my ear to the ground, literally, I felt like I could listen for danger, read the signs, and respond appropriately—engaging my primal instincts during a time when I might otherwise be tempted to rationalize the signs of danger to convince myself I am safe.

A recurring dream came up then, too.  I am at Cape Cod in a rented cottage on a cliff by the sea with several members of my family.  The ocean has receded by miles, exposing the sand beneath; and an eerie quiet had arisen.  Although when I first had this dream I didn’t know the early signs of a tsunami, somehow I knew that a gigantic wave was about to erupt from the silence.  Walking through the screen door, I plead with my mother and sister to leave with me, to flee to high ground.  They decline, peacefully resigned.  I get into a car and drive uphill, overtaken by complex emotions—a sharp desire to live, both grief and admiration for my mother and sister, and fear that the massive wave will overtake me.

On the way in to class, I feel annoyed and unreceptive.  There is someone in attendance I always have a lot of mind chatter about, believing she is superficial for some reason that surely has little to do with her.  But before long, the music hooks me and I am moving through the room.  A dance version of Erykah Badu’s “On and On” offers me a Staccato door to enter through, and I step into multiple partnerships, moving low and backward, ratcheting different body parts, and articulating movements with precision and thoroughness.

Before dance that night, my seven-year-old son, Simon, uses the phrase “magical sweat” in relation to some wet socks that have surprised him by drying quickly.  The phrase “magical sweat” repeats for me several times during the class, and particularly as Staccato gathers fire.  As Staccato transitions into Chaos, I let loose, grateful for a reserve of easily available energy.  My hair falls over my face and eyes as my head whirls freely, leading my entire body in spinning.  I note the woman who I had judged as superficial dancing right next to me, and realize the smallness of my petty resentment.  The truth is that we are all superficial to some extent, myself included.  As I let go, I inwardly celebrate that she lets go, too, and move with many emphatic and wild dancers in close proximity.

In Lyrical and then in Stillness, I spin and leap in the center of the room, my wings held wide, recalling the movements of my many bird partners the week before.  Several successive dancers join me in flight, each seamlessly integrating into my dance of sky, swooping and soaring very close to me, then spinning off into new partnerships.

Realizing that my feet will get wet when I go to the edge of the sea to throw in the bottles, I know I have to move quickly or risk frost bite.  I make three trips, carrying several bottles at once, and toss the bottles into the waves.  As soon as the last one hits the water, I sprint to put on my boots and winter jacket, considering the performance complete.

Regardless of whether the signs I have divined in any way foretell the future, and, too, regardless of the direction the map may or may not take me, I am grateful to have a map, grateful for a way forward, and grateful for the unlikely blessing of this life, this tiny glimmer that reflects the magnitude of infinity.

“Good hope is often beguiled by her own augury.”  -Ovid

March 19, 2017, Brooklyn, NYC

This blog consists of my own subjective experiences on the 5Rhythms® dancing path, and is not sanctioned by any 5Rhythms® organization or teacher.

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Notes on Practice: Love Letter to Flowing

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“The Earth is above you, below you, all around you and even inside you.  The Earth is everywhere.  You may be used to thinking of the Earth as only the ground beneath your feet.  But the water, the sea, the sky, and everything around us comes from the Earth.”  –Thich Nhat Hanh, “Love Letter to the Earth”

I have always loved benignly notable weather events.  I love the slower pace, I love that the collective experience of the weather dominates all of our minds, and that our push toward individual achievement fades—if briefly—to the background.  The unexpected accumulation of five or six inches of snow in the past two days is a delightful surprise.  Yesterday, my six-year-old son, Simon, and I went sledding in Fort Greene Park despite very cold temperatures, then returned to the warm house and sat on the couch together, each reading independently, our giant, fluffy cat purring and rubbing her head on us affectionately. 

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Notes on Practice: Moving Chaos| The Survival Art of Our Time

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“Dancing Chaos is the survival art of our time.”  -Gabrielle Roth, creator of the 5Rhtythms dance and movement meditation practice.

“I know this is going to sound a little weird, but the Novocain will work better if you get up and move around a little,” said my dentist this morning as I faced the possibility of an emergency root canal—something I fear viscerally, despite my logical mind’s arguments.  I had been giving myself a pep talk.  “You are not going to die from this, Meg.  Pain is just a sensation.  It will pass.  Consider it a chance to practice.”

“No problem, I’m definitely a mover.”  I got out of the dentist’s chair and began to dance in the tiny office, noting that I was able to be very expressive, even in the small space filled with things I shouldn’t jostle or brush. My lower abdomen found a whole new way to open itself as I stepped diagonally forward and back—raising my arms—in the narrow space between the dentist’s chair and the counter, my feet finding rhythms and patterns, weighting back into the heel, bounding forward. 

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Notes on Practice: Light & Shadow

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 “The intention for this workshop is full, complete and unrelenting self-acceptance,” said highly regarded 5Rhythms teacher Kierra Foster-Ba during the course of the one-day workshop “Light & Shadow” at Martha Graham studios on Saturday.  5Rhythms is a dance and movement meditation practice created by the late Gabrielle Roth; and the “Light & Shadows” workshop was a committed investigation of the shadow aspects of each of the five rhythms—Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.  After a series of tightly scheduled events, I found myself en route to the West Village, hoping a miracle would grant me parking; and pondering the fact that there are so many terrifying, uncomfortable, collective shadows to dance at this particular moment.  No matter how things go with the election, there is no denying that we have seen some horrifically ugly aspects of our humanity recently.

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Notes on Practice: Joyful Patterns

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“In short, no pattern is an isolated entity. Each pattern can exist in the world only to the extent that it is supported by other patterns: the larger patterns in which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are embedded in it.”  -Christopher Alexander

Today features a white sky and a steady rain.  Although Brooklyn’s trees are still green, just a few hours north, where I am this weekend, the leaves have started to display their colors.

Last Tuesday night I attended the High Vibration Waves 5Rhythms class at the Joffrey in the West Village, taught this week by Peter Fodera.  I had a bad cold with a headache and wasn’t sure what kind of energy I would have, but decided to go anyway to see what might happen.

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Notes on Practice: “Ouch!”

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“Ouch!” one teenager cried out as another slammed her into the hallway wall, smiling not kindly, her arm shooting straight out from her shoulder as she passed, not even looking as she struck.  The teen who got slammed walked not ten paces, then slammed another girl into the wall as she passed, using the same gesture she had been slammed with.  Aggression seemed to be ricocheting around in rip currents.

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Notes on Practice: Sweat Your Prayers, Dance Your Pain and Move On

“Take a minute to notice what you’re arriving with,” said 5Rhythms teacher Amber Ryan as she started the Sweat Your Prayers class today with a long, attenuated period of tonal music.  I found a spot on the floor in the northeast corner of the studio, nearest to the home of the late Gabrielle Roth—the founder of the 5Rhythms practice.  As the music unfolded, Amber also encouraged us to set an intention for our dance today, and to offer as many prayers as occurred to us during the dance.  Instantly, a flurry of prayers arose, ending with the simplest and most complex of prayers—a wish for self love.

I lay on back, and drew my legs gently in to my torso, noting a sore back, and resolving to move gently to avoid injuring it further.  On Friday, before Tammy’s Friday Night Waves class I had made the same resolution. That day, I had carried a heavy backpack all day, assisting with a field trip for my six-year-old son, Simon’s, camp, then traipsed around with him after. On the way home, he crashed his bike into the sidewalk and I had flung myself off my bike to run to his aid.  My neck hurt, my back hurt.

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