August 30, 2014

This blog consists of my own subjective experiences on the 5Rhythms® dancing path, and are not sanctioned by any 5Rhythms® organization or teacher.

 I dreamt of rainbows.

They came dancing in.



While on vacation in Cape Cod, I saw the most vivid rainbow I have ever seen.  It manifested in its full expanse, from foot to foot, and there was a second, slightly-more-faint arc dancing around the first.

I arrived late to Tammy’s class Friday night, and with a horrible pinch in my back.  Truthfully, it was my own fault that I arrived late.  I wanted to get some special body lotion that is sold in a nearby health food store.  I would have had just enough time if I was staccato about it, but when I got there I found myself distracted by all the appealing things. 

The pinch—an angry nerve in my left middle back—started while I was waiting in line for the bathroom at the store with a heavy bag on one shoulder.  It was excruciating to breathe; and I found myself inhaling as shallowly as possible to avoid the sharp stab of pain. 

When I entered, I was nearly fifteen minutes late, and the room was crossing the threshold from Flowing into Staccato.  The pinch persisted.  Although everyone was picking up in energy, I lay down on my back.  I tried my best to breathe deeply although it was agonizing.  After a little while, I got up and tried to move.  A sharp “ouch” escaped me despite the rule against speaking, and I crumpled back to the floor.

I feel guilty when I miss Flowing.  It’s like abruptly jumping into a conversation when you don’t know what the conversing people are talking about.  The idea that the ground of Flowing is what keeps us all safe is a teaching I have heard many, many times.  When I feel pulled out of Flowing and into Staccato, I often try to delay it, feeling like it is my responsibility to thoroughly attend to Flowing before I even think about moving with the vigor and exuberance I ache for.  

Not only did I arrive late, but I was working with this terrible pinch.  I have had pinches before, and I know that they usually dissolve after a short time, but I did have one that hung on and hung on.  Miraculously, the pinch eased and I stood up on the dance floor. The room was fully in Staccato, and filled with friends who I was eager to dance with.   

I imagine that my dance looked like Staccato; and I was in sync with the people around me, but privately I was in Flowing.  I softened myself as much as I could, avoiding the emphatic collisions between adjacent muscles that I so love, and kept my mind on the sensation of my feet touching the floor as much as I attended to my smiling partners.  In part, I was afraid to experiment with any tightness or edges inside my body because I did not want to re-engage the unpleasant nerve pinch.

As so often happens in dance and in life, the obstacle of the pinch showed me something new.  Being socially in Staccato, but privately in Flowing gave me something delightful about how to be soft.  After Tammy spoke during the brief interlude between the two waves of the class, I moved from Flowing and into a patient Staccato with a lanky, lithe friend who I love to dance with.  Energy rolls fluidly down his arms and out his feet and he moves easily to the edges of himself.  Even while going wholeheartedly into Staccato with all its gorgeous stops and levels and angles and edges, I retained a trace of the enhanced softness that I had investigated earlier.    For the first time ever, I was heartbroken when the music shifted into Chaos and we separated.

My energy flagged briefly at this point, and I lingered near a column where I wasn’t too much in the open.  Shortly, the song switched and I was wild in Chaos, flung about with momentum in diagonal, spiral, asymmetrical motion.  Still, in Chaos, I retained a trace of the softness that I found by accident earlier in the class, owing to the fact that I was afraid to re-engage the muscle pinch.

During the interim teaching, Tammy called our attention to a group of objects, carefully lit on a little table by the east wall of the studio.  She explained that at one time this had been called an altar, sometimes it has been called an installation; but that the woman who first arranged objects for a 5Rhythms event in this way, Martha (Peabody), calls it “visuals.”  Tammy shared that she likes using “visuals” best because it has the “most space” of the three options.

On the way to the class, I had been thinking about the theme of space.  Before we left our rental cottage at Cape Cod, my son, Simon, and I decided to visit the beach one more time.  Astonishingly, yesterday’s intricate sandcastle was intact, beautifully eroded to sheer castle cliffs by surrounding waves at now-passed high tide.  Our closing gesture was to stand facing the vast horizon, scanning the sea, with our arms outstretched, and to breathe and take in the vast space around us. 

This week, when Simon and I stepped out of the Queens Art Museum and into Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Simon held his little arms out wide and said to me, “Wow! Look at this Mommy! Look at all this space!” while taking a big breath in. 

One thing I notice with interest is that in a driving, rhythmically-complex chaos song it is during the brief interludes that have no apparent beat that I feel most alive with creative inspiration.

Chaos emptied me into a low, arcing investigation of diagonals as the force of the solid floor rocketed my foot up and across me again and again.  Soon, Tammy had us partner and wove in a song with traditional Irish music.  I found myself kicking and bouncing, barely touching down, short of breath—joyful and free.

At the end of the class, as we moved into the sublime rhythm of Stillness, I closed my eyes and let spirit take over.  I saw rainbows moving through me and out the palms of my hands, eventually moving in luxurious ribbons around the entire room.


We saw a rainbow

Perfectly rendered, vivid,

Partly doubled—

A shimmering mirage of form

Adorning endless space.