What is 5Rhythms® Dance?

5 Rhythms® dance – is a movement practice developed by Gabrielle Roth (a New York urban shaman), accessible to everyone.

The 5 Rhythms® are: Flowing , Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. Each rhythm is a gateway to aspects of ourselves, a state of being, a pattern. They relate to different moods, elements, life cycles, emotions, etc…and are expressed on the dance floor through different ways of moving.


Earth. Coming home to inner self via the body. A state of being grounded and fluid, surrendering to the flow of life by moving continuously and unpredictably. We soften any rigidity of the body and mind and practice being receptive to what is. Flowing is the rhythm of birth and the feminine. Movements are rounded and sensual. We let our feet guide us through the earth and the rest of the body fallows.


Fire. Definition. The rhythm of the heart and passion teaches us how we relate to the world. That place where we are focused, clear, know our “yes and no”, set boundaries and express ourselves. It is the rhythm of the masculine and it is driven by the pulsing beat that shapes us a thousand different ways.


Water. The rhythm of absolute surrender and a deep letting go. We disappear in the dance as we drop the ego. Here we practice moving without control. We release and shake everything that we hold on to, everything that burdens us and celebrate a “no mind” state. Chaos is the marriage of the masculine and feminine. The surrendering of the lovers. We can be centered in the mist of a world that is falling apart. We give ourselves to the wildness of a dance that can never be planned or repeated.


Air. When you really let go, you empty yourself and create space for the new. Lyrical is the rhythm of transformation. The weight of self-consciousness dissolves. A state of lightness, detachment, newness, where many possibilities are available, doors are opened and our imagination is set free. Nothing is fixed and there is a joy that comes with it. We are reborn and the soul begins to play.


Ether. The rhythm of emptiness, where gentle movements rise and fall, start and end, in a field of silence. We are full but empty. Awake, wise and rejuvenated. The dance becomes more of a prayer, a meditation. Spirit is moving us.


There is no particular kind of music that is used in 5 Rhythms® dance classes. The Rhythms® can be found in many different genres. In the same class you may hear electronic dance music, new age, rock, pop, classical, percussion & world music. The music may be recorded or live and at times we move in silence.

We all have our ways of being. As you dance the 5 Rhythms®, you may find more resonance with a particular rhythm than another. This indicates that you are more comfortable with some ways of being than others. On the dance floor, you will listen, expand, stretch, awaken parts of yourself that have been less expressed. You can explore new possibilities in how relate to yourself, another, and to the whole group. Dancing the rhythms can assist you in becoming fluid in our ability to shape shift and explore your full circle of options, to heal yourself of old stories lodged in the body and to remember your natural joyful ecstasy. The practice frees us from conditioning and invites us to embody our truths.


Put the psyche into motion … and it will heal itself – Gabrielle Roth