5 rhythms



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what’s 5 rhythms?

In 5 rhythms the person concentrates on the movement of the body and breathing, which quickly facilitates reaching a meditative state and allows him to feel his integrity and connection with the world.

The 5-rhythm dance was developed by Gabrielle Roth (1941–2012), who was a world-famous dance teacher, theater director, creator of Mirrors. Gabriella investigated innovative directions in theatrical art and on this basis she created this dance technique in the 60s.

This practice is a free and spontaneous dance. Anyone at any age and with any skill in dancing can dance it.

It emerged under the influence of shamanism, Eastern philosophy, gestalt therapy, mysticism, transpersonal psychology, the movement for the development of human abilities.

This practice can certainly be called spiritual: by moving the body, releasing the heart and freeing the mind, dancers find unity with their soul, a source of inspiration and unlimited human possibilities. Gabrielle Roth said:

«Dance is the fastest and shortest path to the truth. Our rhythms create an organic person. A person is solid, focused, real. In general, the task of practice remains the same: see what is stuck and make it move ».

What is 5 rhythms dance?

One of the purest expressions of somatic syntax is rhythm. In relation to the body, rhythm can be defined as a “regular and repetitive pattern of movement.” Repetitive movement patterns are deep somatic structures that can mobilize and integrate various qualities of knowledge and information processing in our somatic mind. Different rhythms can function as somatic “access keys” and “metaprograms” that organize fundamental patterns of relationships.

Just like different types of brain waves in the cortex (alpha, beta, delta, theta, etc.) cause different states of consciousness in the cognitive mind, body rhythms create different states of consciousness and different experiences in the somatic mind.

Gabriela Roth’s 5 rhythms are a good example of how rhythm and somatic syntax contribute to transformation. Gabrielle Roth developed the method after many years of observing energy movements in people and in life. In the book “Sweat Your Prayers” (1997), she writes: “Energy moves in waves. Waves are moving patterns. The patterns move in rhythms. The human being contains everything: energy, waves, patterns and rhythms«.

Gabrielle distinguishes five rhythms: flow, staccato, chaos, lyrics and stillness. These rhythms form a “metamodel” of change and transformation. These “5 rhythms” express archetypal patterns of energy that arise naturally in a given sequence, forming something like a more extensive pattern or wave.

The practice is based on the philosophical saying that everything consists of energies that move in a wavy and rhythmic way. Based on this, Gabrielle got 5 rhythms at the dance:

  • Flow
  • Staccato
  • Chaos
  • Lyricism
  • Stillness

These 5 rhythms allow you to feel and test yourself in the five basic qualities of the movement of life. A typical wave lasts 45 to 90 minutes. At the same time, 10-20 minutes are needed for each rhythm. During the lesson, the dance takes place mainly spontaneously, without specific instructions or without learning certain movements. The teacher adjusts the tempo using music that sounds in recording or live.

What is it for?

Man has danced since ancient times. These have been ritual dances destined to invoke the mercy of the demigods, dances of the victors in battle, dances of shamans, dances of the temple or in ballrooms. Dancing is as old as humanity itself, and dancing really accompanies our entire lives. After all, music is the sound from which it all began. Help to reveal our essence. And almost without thinking we are flowing, flying in the dance, combining our energy with the energy of the sounds of music.

However, our movements are often limited by certain movement rules of a particular dance style, or we begin to feel limited, being under the gaze of strangers. Or our mind begins to participate in the movement, trying to control the fulfillment of certain requirements of dance and society. This closes us and only the body and psyche participate in the dance. Some kind of artificiality is felt, and the dance loses its appeal, and the person does not feel full satisfaction, just fatigue. But the dance of the 5 rhythms is called to reveal the nature of our soul. This practice can be deeply spiritual: by moving the body, releasing the heart and freeing the mind, dancers find unity with their soul, a source of inspiration and unlimited possibilities to manifest their creative being.

    Benefits of the 5 rhythms

    • Flow / Flow: Following this rhythm, we strengthen the connection with the earth and receptivity, inhale and unite with our moving experiences. Keeping in touch with the body, with ourselves, feeling our own flow, we feel a surge of energy, as if a wave began to form within us.
    • Staccato: Staying on land and following the fluid rhythm of the current, we feel a surge of energy; and the staccato rhythm arises naturally. Staccato is a “masculine” rhythm, the wave continues to gain strength and we feel the energy that rises in us through a deep connection with ourselves and with our surroundings. Moving from the continuous movement of the rhythm of the flow to the rhythm of the staccato, the body begins to give the fluid expression of energy a certain form. This is the “yang” complementary to the “yin” of the current, the exhalation that follows inspiration. The staccato centered form includes concentration, perseverance and a clear definition of limits. The lack of centering, or “shadow,” leads to a lack of flexibility, causes aggression and cruelty.
    • Chaos: The feet, body and heart move in unison in staccato rhythm, the energy level continues to grow and reaches a point where energy becomes difficult to contain. The staccato structure is destroyed, and a third rhythm emerges: the rhythm of chaos, like a wave of foam, which reaches a peak. In the rhythm of chaos, we surrender, “let go” the neck and head, ceasing to perceive them as special structures, separated from the body and mind. The base of the flow, the courage and the perseverance of the staccato lead us to chaos, and we surrender completely to the spontaneous movements of the body. Chaos allows you to completely abandon old patterns. When the “frozen” energy comes out, we experience a renewal, a sensation as if the flow of water flowing freely through us refreshes us. The lack of focus, the “shadow” of the chaos rhythm creates confusion, a sense of loss of control or overflow. But the positive function of chaos is that it allows us to surrender completely to the freedom of our unique self-expression in a lyrical rhythm.
    • Lyric: The rhythm is the rhythm of spontaneous creativity, the expression of truth, the singularity and energy of the present moment. It has a deep connection and total freedom. It is often light and playful, like foam after the wave breaks on the shore, but this rhythm can take any form that expresses what we experience after the first three rhythms. After cementing the flow, the staccato and the complete abandonment of control in chaos, the lyrical rhythm returns us to naturalness, unpredictability and the free flow of life. Like the air, the lyric rhythm does not have a definite form and, therefore, can embody any form corresponding to the moment. But if we have lost contact with ourselves, “bleak” sides of the lyrical rhythm may arise: artificiality, superficiality or the desire to escape from the present moment.
    • Stillness: The lightness and freedom of lyricism lead to a rhythm of stillness, like a wave that reaches the shore. Stillness is not the absence of energy, but the complete presence of energy in a way that allows us to maintain contact with ourselves and with our surroundings, which is bigger than us. Gabriela Roth believes that stillness is the rhythm through which we open ourselves to the countryside. The “shadow” side of this rhythm can occur if our body and feet are not grounded, if we have lost contact with the current moment or with a source of energy, and it manifests as lethargy, dissociation, loss of connection with the body and dissolution in the field. Centered stillness is a dissolution and, at the same time, a complete presence: we become the center of movement associated with the entire field around us.


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