‘Léon really got it down…
this gentle way of leading us into deep work.’
Léon is a certified 5Rhythms teacher and was trained amongst others by Gabrielle Roth, founder of the 5Rhythms, Suzannah and Ya' Akov Darling Khan and Andrea Juhan. He has been teaching the rhythms since 2008. Léon also performs dance on a regular basis.
Léon's movement classes are informed by many practises and disciplines. Contact Improvisation, Instant Composition and the field of Somatics are important inspirations along side the 5Rhythms. Among others he studied with: Julyen Hamilton, Suprapto (Prapto) Suryodarmo, Jacques van Eijden, Nancy Stark Smith, Paul Linden and many others.
The 5Rhythms is a movement practise that grew out of the human potential movement in the 1970's and was founded by the creative marvel that was Gabrielle Roth. In keeping with its name it has 5 phases or rhythms that take dancers on a journey of tuning in (flowing), expressing (staccato), surrendering (chaos), expanding (lyrical) and being (stillness). Anyone, regardless of age or physical condition, can dance the 5Rhythms. You only need a body that breathes, a heart that beats and a willingness to be curious.
Let the soft animal of your body do what it loves...
The 5Rhythms is part of a larger movement family, which includes conscious dance practices like Open Floor and somatic practices like Body Mind Centering and Continuum. As a dance practice it also shares many similarities with art forms like contemporary dance, (contact) improvisation and theatre.
Conscious movement, like the 5Rhythms, differs from regular exercise and dance forms like ballet, in that it is primarily experiential. If you want to learn about your weight for example, you can stand on a scale to measure the kilos. Weight as an abstracted number, however tells you nothing of your experience of weight. You might feel you have heavy legs and a light head. In movement weight becomes dynamic: we can suspend it, pour it or yield to it. One moment we might feel weightless, the next massive like a tree. Similarly, the 5Rhythms is not about learning steps or a choreography. It is also not about exercising the body to look great, healthy or attain some other future goal. It is about experiencing the body and the world from the inside out, as a participant. The poet Mary Oliver expressed this much more eloquently in her poem 'Wild Geese':
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Each of the 5 rhythms lets this soft animal tune to a different aspect of our experience. For me, the 5Rhythms just make sense and it is a practice I keep returning to again and again for over 16 years. Below you can read about each of the rhythms, but the best thing, of course, is to experience them.
In the flowing rhythm we allow ourselves to soften and make the space a place where we and others feel home. This rhythm is about grounding without getting stuck; making our dance fluid and receptive. We tune in, acknowledging whatever wants to move and follow our feet as we snake and swirl through space.
In staccato we tap into the energizing pulse of life that connects us with the world around us. We let our body's talk and give shape to whatever arises. We practice thinking, acting and feeling at the same time. Finding focus and clarity in our movements. Staccato is about heartfelt communication and brings us to the edge of inside and outside; me and the other.
In chaos we step over the edge and let forms and shapes go, dissolving our identity into the floor. Chaos is about surrendering without losing one's center. Often we find ourselves shaking as our bodies open up to a natural trance. This shaking helps the life force move through layers of stuckness so it can errupt into joy, grief, anger or bliss.
Letting go creates space for transformation. In her book Connections Gabrielle Roth writes: 'Energy moves. It is impossible to pin down, impossible to box in.' In Lyrical we align ourselves with this moving force, with Change itself. The previous rhythms have prepared us to find our moving center, a dynamic balance and now we are ready to stretch our sense of self. We can bring our imagination in the body and find resonance in the room. Lyrical is playful, experimental and full of creativity.
Stillness is the last stage of the journey. In this rhythm we allow things to sink in and settle down. Stillness is a place of integration and ending, but also a doorway into the unknown. If we allow ourselves to fall through the cracks and enter the space between, a vast terrain appears. In the space between our thoughts awaits our bigger mind and in the space between effort and collapse there is grace. In this place dancer and the dance can become one and our movements a meditation.
The Rhythms have a spiral nature, where each rhythm grows out of the previous rhythms. Together the 5 rhythms form a wave of energy. The 5 rhythms are deceptively simpel. There a bit like a fractal. As you zoom in on a rhythm you'll find that it contains all the other rhythms. This makes the 5 rhythms a rich and dynamic practise.
For more info on classes & workshops visit the CALENDAR