5 Rhythms Dance - An Energy Experience Second to None
I had the opportunity today to attend and participate in, a 5 Rhythms Dance, session or “sweat” as some refer to it. The dance has its origins in Native American culture and there are some similarities to a sweat lodge session and, hence the naming. What I experienced had the grandfatherly-like shroud of something truly sacred; it was almost as if the collective energies of the dancers created an impenetrable globe of protection, reflection, and expressiveness. Being one of only two men in the room gave me a completely different perspective on just about everything, a fact which I verified by having a lengthy conversation with my wife who was also there with me. I must digress for a moment and offer her thanks for getting me to go, since I was a bit skeptical about it. Yet as we spoke about our experiences, we came back with two separate lists of “permanent memory” types of interactions with the energy. I’m certain we’ll do it again, and since my experience was so amazing, I thought I share what the experience was like, just to help in your thought process.
The Five Rhythms
The Five Rhythms are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness and are considered much more than simple motions; they are considered States of Being. Engaging with these states of being, offer participants more than just sharing energies; they offer an opportunity to move among all planes of consciousness, if only one could give themselves over to the music and the movements for ninety minutes. Once the music starts, it doesn’t stop, even as the dance progresses into the next session. There are no verbal cues given during the session. The music triggers the dancers to progress.
Flowing was the start, with the musical selections being melodic, sensual, and whispering words of peace, harmony, and absolute relaxation, in the flowing session, focusing on grounding was the pipeline to inner truth. Giving over to the movements which resonate from deep with, releasing true core energies. You’ll find yourself reaching and widening your space, not to the point of crowding someone else, but simply to broaden. Rather quickly, you’ll realize that the movements you are making aren’t something you are conscious about; in fact it’s as if your body simply “knows” how to move to the music. The moment I realized this, it disappeared immediately, which perplexed me. But, it didn’t take me much time to analyze what had happen and get back to the place is was; the powerfully cool place. I had realized my core energy was controlling my motions and it scared me; yes, it was like I jumped at a hissing cat. Once I saw the fault point, I knew what it would take to return, so I allowed myself to relax back to the point where I once again crossed that line to paradise. The premise of this first phase is that everyone would “leave” or migrate into the next phase allowing their feet to lead them where they need to go in perfect trust, being flexible, and seeing the value of surrendering but also being soothed in an ethereal suppleness.
The softness takes a hard shift, right to Staccato. This phase is the celebration of masculinity. From the moment I learned this was the purpose, and being a man surrounded by women, my curiosity was pretty high. The music was percussive and strong, and there was a noticeable feeling of rising energy. The dancers around the room quickened their pace but in a way that it didn’t seem hurried, only faster. Most people moved with fluid motion as they had in the early part, but the beginnings of angulated movements, and sharper edges begun to appear as the session progressed. Almost on cue, the tempo and type of music shifted to something that had the makings of techno, hip-hop, modern jazz, and ancient drumming all combined into piece that seemed to pulsate with rippling bands of energy. The staccato session offers praise to the warrior spirit that’s inside of us all, as we battle the trials of being human beings. The heart opens willingly through this period, and I can’t be certain why or what happened, but I was some immersed in the music and found myself nearly on the verge of tears over a passage; it moved me in a way I cannot explain. The connection to our feelings, along with the connection with our feet from grounding in the earlier step shows us how to step out into the world. It solidifies our connections to those we care about, the things we love, and the people we love. Strangely enough my original idea of trying to see the differences between how I felt as a man and how the women felt disappeared immediately as I dropped into the rising mix of positive energies threading their tendrils around one another. It was a feeling that was both exciting and ever-so relaxing.
The staccato session was the hard and fast ramp-up to the Chaos session. The building energies throughout the previous portion would continue to build until ultimately, they are released in a thunderous and electrifying moment of near-climactic bliss; a moment that leaves a lasting residual that carries for the next forty-five minutes. The music gets quicker, the songs a bit more raw, and a clear addition of amplified electric guitars, pounding drums, and guttural pounding lyrics surround and penetrate the dancers, submerging them in energies pulled from the thickness of the surrounding air. The “feeding” is obvious as the dancing progresses into something akin to jumping up and down in a beautiful manner while making obvious hardened hand gestures. The thing to remember is that this session is called chaos for a reason, and true full release is chaotic and uncertain; fed by the core energies from within and the power of the ambient air, the dancers just kept going and going, pouring out every ounce of energy in every motion, and yet no one stopped, no one slowed. This was nothing short of being at a rave but one where the only drug being shared was energy.
The exchanges just went on and on, and only when the music led the crowd to slow down, did they slow down. The chaos seemed to have different effects on almost everyone, depending on just what level of release they were able to reach. The movement and the peak period served to reattach the body with its own energy field. I felt like my entire body, from every pore, was open and had energy free-flowing from inside of me to the outside. The exhilarated feel was better than adrenalin but a place we couldn’t remain, and thus we began the next phase of the session. Lyrical is the physical, energetic, emotional, and spiritual rebirth accomplished through dancing. Through Lyrical we break out of our destructive patterns of the past and surrender ourselves into the depths of the healing pools of energy surrounding us. The boiling mass of energy accomplished in chaos has calmed into a gentle lake of energy. I experienced something quite amazing during this session, as I watched my surroundings take on a psychedelic pink glow, which have a strange life force. At the same time, my hands had cobalt blue spots that were glowing like something from a science-fiction movie. I felt like I was at a Jimi Hendrix concert for a few minutes. The music and the energies were just taking me for a joy ride through the country roads of life.
Stillness or Being Still was the final session and briefly glancing around the room, it appeared that expending so much energy was taking its toll on about half of the crowd. In the stillness session, the music switches to pieces that are much slower, almost like something you’d dance to at a public school dance, but oddly sorrowful. The motions of the room became tighter, with people finding a space that they’d likely remain for the rest of the session. Unlike earlier where people were moving freely around the room, the tempo really had a “stay put” feel to it. As people settled in, they also began a much-deserved unwinding. People would sit down, lie down, stand perfectly still, and even stretch in place during the winding period, but before too long, everyone was on the floor in some manner. The person who ran the event read a passage from a text with writings inspired by Buddhism, which created an almost trance-like effect. The word’s seems to echo to the perfect volume and I found myself really engaged and enlightened. After that, the music got quieter and people slowly started sitting up and moving again. The meditation was quite effective at ensuring I wouldn’t leave without taking an amazing memory and feeling like I hadn’t felt in many years. Energized just wouldn’t do it justice, I felt like every molecule in my body was filled with relaxation, a totally-immersing “high on life” experience which I’m still feeling almost three hours later.