5Rhythms DC

"Between the head and feet of any given person is a billion miles of unexplored wilderness."

Gabrielle Roth


What are the 5Rhythms®?

The 5Rhythms® of Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness form ‘The Wave’, a simple movement meditation practice that encourages us to find our own dance of embodied feeling and to discover ourselves at our most fluid and creative level. The Rhythms are different ways of moving that are related to different ways of being in the world. As we practice them, we bring more of ourselves –body, heart, mind & soul- into movement, on the dance floor & out in the world. There are no steps to learn and it can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age, fitness, ability, or experience.

FLOWING  the fluid, continuous, grounded glide of our own movements, the letting in -the drinking in- of our own experience.

STACCATO  the percussive, pulsing beat that shapes us a thousand different ways and allows us to let out our true expression.

CHAOS  the rhythm of letting go, releasing into the catalytic wildness of our dance that can never be planned or repeated.

LYRICAL  the rhythm of trance, of letting go of letting-go, where the weight of self-consciousness dissolves, and we lighten up and disappear into our own uniqueness.

STILLNESS  the quiet emptiness, where gentle movements rise and fall, start and end, in a field of silence: the Rhythm of Letting Be.


Find out more about Gabrielle Roth's 5Rhythms® on their website

What to bring + wear

These are movement events above all else, so do expect to move. You may be rolling around on the floor – dress accordingly. Yoga or exercise clothes work great. Bring an extra layer for when things quiet down. Most people dance in bare feet; soft-soled dance shoes or dance paws are recommended if you need foot protection. Dance sneakers are permitted. Other shoes are not allowed on the dance floor. Dance in stocking feet at your own risk! Socks tend to slip on the hardwood floor and for that reason are not considered safe. There are changing rooms if you need them.

We have water for sale ($1) or else bring your own. On Fridays after dancing, we have snacks and socializing.

What happens on the dance-floor?

We were all beginners once, so be welcome!

Usually (though not always) there is a warm-up with music. Use this arrival time for yourself, to stretch, move, and let the journey to the dance space drop away. We all use this time differently, depending on what we need. It really helps if people don’t chat – it can distract others from sinking into their practice – and you into yours. If you come late don’t be surprised if you find it harder to really drop in to your dance.

The 5Rhythms certified teacher will be leading the class and following the group energy. Because we show up to class feeling different every time, each class experience will be different. The essential map is The Wave (the 5Rhythms danced in order) and you will almost certainly dance through a Wave at least once. The teaching may focus on one Rhythm, one aspect of the Rhythms, or on a specific theme. You’ll probably be dancing on your own sometimes, and sometimes with a partner or a group. There will be a wide range of music and maybe periods of silence too.

Each class is a complete process. Your presence helps make it happen! Please honor yourself and others by arriving on time and staying through till the end. (If you know you have to leave early for some reason, please tell the teacher beforehand).

Suggestions for your first dance

  • Wear clothes that let you move freely, and have layers so you can adjust for more or less active movement. Bring water: don’t let yourself dehydrate.
  • Dance barefoot or in soft-soled dance shoes only, beware of slippery socks.
  • Go at your own pace. Be responsible for your own body (stay aware of injuries & limitations). Keep your eyes open to stay aware of others.
  • Don’t distract yourself or others with talk.
  • Bring along some curiosity about yourself & others too! Move how you feel -and stay open to changing.
  • Know that everything that is alive has its dance, and your only task is to find & express yours.
  • Enjoy yourself! (Excessive seriousness may slow you down).

Interested in joining the dance? Find an upcoming class or workshop.