October 2017


Musings + Art + Happenings from our Tribal Individuals

The 5Rhythms practice | A lens for life 



5Rhythms Chapter written by Mati Vargas-Gibson, USA & Mexico, Sarena Wolfaard Scotland, & South Africa and Emma Roberts United Kingdom & France

Hot off the press! We are happy to announce that, after a few years in the making, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeingis now a fully published tome with a chapter on 5Rhythms. (The 5Rhythms® Movement Practice: Journey to Wellbeing, Empowerment, and Transformation) written in collaboration by 5Rhythms Teachers Mati Vargas-Gibson (Dallas, Mexico), Sarena Wolfaard (Edinburgh, South Africa), and Emma Roberts (Brighton, Paris).

Building on the premise that, in recent years, a growth in dance and wellbeing scholarship has resulted in new ways of thinking that place the body, movement, and dance in a central place with renewed significance for wellbeing, this book(geared to the academic community and the general reading public), "examines dance and related movement practices from the perspectives of neuroscience and health, community and education, and psychology and sociology to contribute towards an understanding of wellbeing, offer new insights into existing practices, and create a space where sufficient exchange is enabled. The handbook's research components include quantitative, qualitative, and arts-based research, covering diverse discourses, methodologies, and perspectives that add to the development of a complete picture of the topic" (from the Handbook’s Introduction).

Specifically, Chapter 39 on the 5Rhythms...READ MORE



by Marc Silvestre, France

As a 5Rhythms teacher, I have worked with a wide variety of people, including business managers and children. Years ago, at a big class I organised in Paris, I noticed that if you turned left into the building you would go to 5Rhythms, and if you turned right you would see homeless people lying in the doorway.

I was struck by the fact that we were there to practice something spiritual to open to the world, but we didn’t even say hello to those people.So I started doing regular classes to raise money for causes like this.

Then, through a yoga teacher colleague, I became aware of the situation of people who are transsexual and working as sex workers in West Paris. At that point, I knew nothing about this group, but I did know that the 5Rhythms practice is great for so many different kinds of groups – and I was sure it could be used creatively with these people too.

I started meeting with people from an association called Acceptess T who work with transsexual sex workers in Paris, particularly those with AIDS. I organised two 5Rhythms events with them to reach this community. My approach was to be willing to give my time and money and to do the best I can, in exchange for learning something from them.

80 % of the transsexual people who came to my first taster class were sex workers...READ MORE



by Karen Ritscher, New York City

The first time I walked in to lead the Dancing with Dementia group, I was vetted by one of its “founding elders.” “Are you one of us or one of them?” he asked. I responded with an enthusiastic “YES!”

Having the privilege of sharing the 5Rhythms® with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease continues to be the highlight of my week. They are my true and fiercest spiritual teachers of Presence with a capital P, and constantly remind me to drop my ego characters, get over myself, and enjoy the potential and love in every moment. This group is a constant inspiration for witnessing the grace and humor with which one can face daunting end-of-life obstacles.

As a group of people who might be feeling isolated and distant, they have formed an amazing bond with each other, and with me. We have a space in which people can move freely with their celebrations and their depressions. Sometimes it feels more like a wacky junior high school, with lots of jokes and teasing, or a kindergarten of wild animals. They are humorous and kind to each other — pointing out when someone is not moving or needs more encouragement, or offering an invitation to partner.

Every week we do a unity circle with passing repetitions (leading and following). The dancers support each other and are patient as each person finds their unique gesture to contribute. Often at the end of class, during the closing, one or another of them will speak about the power of the heart and the importance of connection. How beautiful to have this energetic, visceral connection through movement even as the linear mind is slipping away.

Because in many ways it’s a class on Chaos...READ MORE

Forest Dance


#DanceAnywhere #DanceEverywhere


by Karoliina Valontaival, Finland

Nature is my refuge and my place of restoration and rejuvenation. Literally a sight for sore eyes. Spending time in nature soothes, calms, and balances me. I find solace and inspiration in the endlessly beautiful shapes and harmonious colors.

As an environmental educator, I spend most of my days outdoors in all weather conditions, coaxing children and young people out of their urban cocoons into a more connected, aware, and intimate relationship with the earth under their feet and the nature around them. Professionally, I’m also interested in the positive effects nature has on mental health and our overall well-being – as well as our physiology (spending time in “green exposure”, for example, lowers the stress response in the body, e.g. lowers heart rate and levels of stress hormones). It’s a hip new area of research, confirming what many of us know experientially already.

I’ve begun exploring combining my two love affairs of dancing and nature both for personal reasons as well as professionally...READ MORE



by Simon Tanner, United Kingdom

Today I have decided to commit to life as I commit to the dance.

Moving to centre floor, I begin in stillness. Facing the altar, bare feet on ground, head aloft in the rafters, lit in the glow of the evening sun through portals up high to the world beyond. This is the inner dance, the sacred dance, the dance of connection. I kneel, breath in, breath out, thoughts falling away as music fades in.

As a slender tree in the breeze I bend, slight at first, increasing in amplitude as the wave builds. Opening as a bud, letting the fingers of sound inch into my being to penetrate deeper within. Present to breath, to body, the cool air on my cheeks, the cotton resting gently on my skin, I rise to a stand as the first ripples flood across the space within my core, filling me with feeling. My body responds; my arms roll out as my feet sense the earth through the carpeted floor. My head arcs to worship East, North, West and South. My shoulders curve as they follow the rising and falling symphony, belly rising inhale, falling exhale. Arms swooping now as the volume expands, feet raising from floor, rolling through other bodies, finding the emptiness between... READ MORE



Gabrielle passed away in 2012. 

2 + 1 + 2 = 5 (of course) 

It was on 10/22. 

1 + 2 + 2 = 5 (of course) 

It happened at 7:25 PM. 

7 + 2 + 5 = 14. 1 + 4 = 5 (of course)

October 22nd was the 5th anniversary of that heart-wrenching event. Instead of giving you my thoughts, I thought we could turn to someone much more gifted and talented -- Tim Booth, the lead singer, composer and lyricist of the band JAMES. Tim has blessed Gabrielle and me with his affection, respect and generosity over the years. His song, “Moving On”, will move you in and on. Here’s what he says about it:

"I first met Gabrielle in 1994 through a fabulous synchronistic web. A clairvoyant... READ MORE


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.

is co-curated by

Morgan Nichols and Morgan Rae

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