What is 5Rhythms?
5Rhythms doesn’t have set steps or moves and you can dance any way the music moves you – there’s no way to get it right or wrong. Many people start out using it as a workout or a ‘club without drugs’ but it can also become a very deep practice when you get into it. People come to see it more as a meditation and a kind of personal psychotherapy without words. Treat the Sunday Sweat as your laboratory for self-exploration and personal growth – it’s a safe place to experiment with the ways you relate to yourself and others – to notice your patterns and try out changes, a place to express yourself, explore yourself and be yourself, however you are in-the-moment
I’ve just walked in and everyone seems to be doing different things – what are they up to?
They’re warming up. Some people stretch while others just start to dance gently. Often it helps to start on the floor, moving gently and feeling your weight supported. Try to get warm and get moving in any way that feels right for you. This is your chance to ‘arrive’ and begin letting go of everyone and everything else in your life for a couple of hours and focus only on yourself. We do this by focusing on what our body needs.
What happens after the warm-up?
There will be some instruction from the teacher – sometimes a lot and sometimes very little. Most classes comprise some solo dancing, some partner work and some dance as a whole group. As the name suggests the rhythm and tempo of the music will usually progress through 5 rhythms in a wave from flowing music to staccato (rhythmic music) to chaos and back down to lyrical (lighter music) and stillness (music for moving with the quality of stillness-like in tai chi).
What happens if the teacher says “take a partner” and I don’t want to?
The most important thing is to be true to yourself. This might mean thanking but stepping away from a partner or just turning your back. It’s a gift to the other person to be honest with them – and if they feel hurt or rejected this is just the more material to put into their dance and learn to express and move through, as a practice for when it happens in real life.
What if the teacher gives an instruction and I don’t feel like following?
On the one hand, if an instruction feels wrong for you, you don’t have to follow it. On the other hand this is a laboratory of sorts – you are encouraged to experiment trying thing that break your usual patterns. If its unusual for you to try something new then you might go along with the teacher anyhow. If it’s unusual for you to say no, then you might want to try doing so here.
What do I do when I get bored, feel really self-conscious, busy-headed or judgemental?
This is a movement meditation and while its great to be totally present, conscious and absorbed in your own body and dance, most of us can’t sustain that state throughout and we can all be distracted. The teacher will offer you different ‘doorways’ to help you but here are a few suggestions in the meantime:
- Put any thought or feeling you are experiencing into movement – dance your bedroom or self-consciousness… Exaggerate it, get fascinated by it – on the whole really being where you are is the best medicine and you’ll be surprised by how quickly it changes into something new.
- Focus on any body part such as your left elbow and let it lead your dance. You will find different body parts have very different dances for you and that as your dance becomes stranger and more varied it will absorb you more and more.
- Connect – find someone else to dance with and focus on them.
Some people seem to be having sensual dances together – what’s this all about?
You might see people dancing together intimately on the floor or otherwise. Occasionally there’s some sexual energy between them, other times you’ll imagine there is just because it’s such an unusual sight. This is a practice of presence in which you can express a fleeting attraction, or even just a longing for physical closeness without committing to marriage or even conversation after class. You should be prepared for connections to change from class to class. Some beginners are broken hearted to find that someone they had an amazing dance with, goes on to dance just as closely with another person. If you do end up feeling rejected, disgusted, jealous etc, we encourage you to try to put those feelings into your dance.
What should I do if someone seems really upset?
On the whole people can handle their own feelings and we don’t advise you to try to comfort the crying or soothe the angry. The teacher and crew will keep an eye out for those who might need help.
What if I knock into or hurt someone by accident?
Keep your eyes open when on the move and stay aware of the space around you so as not to hurt anyone. Even so it may still happen. If it does then you are responsible for them – to check they are okay, to take theme out and apply first aid or get help as needed.
So is it just ‘anything goes’? Are there no rules?
Well yes, there are some absolute boundaries:
|You are encouraged to:||But the following are not welcome in this class:|
Touch that the other person seems unreceptive to
|Dancing with sexuality / sensuality;||Explicit sexual activity such as kissing|
|Reach ecstatic places;||Drugs and alcohol|
|Connect with people;||Talking on the dance floor|
|Arrive and leave on time;||Coming into the class after 7.45 or regularly leaving early.|