The 5Rhythms is, as Gabrielle Roth put it, “movement as spiritual practice”. There are no set
movements. The dance to the five different rhythms is improvised and about creating your own
dance. Movement forms (like sharp, rapid movement for the staccato rhythm) to express the energy
of the danced rhythm are the only guidance. The journey through the rhythms is called “the Wave”.
The idea is that by moving the body, you release the heart and free the mind. A state you can
connect with the essence of your soul, your source of inspiration and unlimited possibilities.
Roth created the music herself but any music that expresses the energy of the rhythm can be used.
Fundamental to the journey is the idea that everything is energy and everything in nature and the
body moves in waves, patterns and rhythms.
The 5Rhythms Principles:
The archetypes of the rhythms were developed to help explore the different states of energy within
the dancer and not as a dogmatic execution of them.
On the body level the Flowing rhythm represents the archetype of the mother and meets with the
Staccato rhythm of the father in the Chaos rhythm, the artist.
On the heart level the Flowing rhythm represents the archetype of the mistress and meets the
Staccato energy of the son in the Chaos rhythm, the lover.
On the mind level the Flowing rhythm represents the madonna and meets the Staccato rhythm of
the holy spirit in the Chaos rhythm of the seeker.
The shapeshifter stands for the Lyrical rhythm and the alchemist for the Stillness.
The Flowing Rhythm
Inspirations for the expression and dance of the flowing rhythm are wheat waving in the wind, tai
chi, Isadora Duncan, shadows of clouds rolling across the landscape or calligraphy. Mother, Mistress,
Madonna. The movements happen in synchronization with your breath, rising and lowering your
arms. The movements melt into each other.
The Staccato Rhythm
Inspirations for the dance of the Staccato rhythm are Flamenco, Mick Jagger on stage, striking a
match, hiccups, Charlie Chaplin, karate or German. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The focus of the
movement is on the exhale. Sharp, defining movements.
The Chaos Rhythm
Inspirations are Fassbinder, tornado, boiling water, Jerry Lewis or flea market. Artist, Lover, Seeker.
The movement is wild, shifting your weight back and forth. Shaking it all out. Flapping your arms.
The Lyrical Rhythm
Inspirations are spring, Audrey Hepburn, Matisse, skipping ropes, champagne or Brahms. The
Shapeshifter. The movement is like chaos just lighter, skipping and barely touching the floor.
The Stillness Rhythm
Inspirations are a Butoh dancer, Buddha, an owl, desert or a sleeping cat. The Alchemist. The
movement is super slow motion. Stop, continue and stop until you come to a rest.
All rhythms danced in sequence.
The 5Rhythms can be danced anywhere, alone, at home.
The 5Rhythms benefits
The practice can be transformative, expressed and released emotions, inner clarity, a sense of
strength, joy, a better sense of the body, courage, inner healing, creativity, self-acceptance and
The creator Gabrielle Roth
Gabrielle Roth (1941 – 2012) was an American dancer, musician, director and urban shaman.
Born in San Francisco, Roth trained in traditional dance techniques.
She became a masseuse at the Esalen Institue in California after a knee injury ended her dancing
career. Suffering from depression and rediscovering dance, she found that her body healed itself
through dance, despite what the doctors had prognosticated. Gestalt psychiatrist Fritz Perls offered
her to teach dance to his therapy groups at the Esalen Institute. She discovered that the body can’t
lie, as soon as you put it in motion the truth kicks in. Naturally her structure and transformative
process of the 5Rhythms journey developed.
Since her death in 2012 her son, Jonathan Horan, leads her
“The Moving Center”
school in New York
and continues to develop her work.
Claudia Kohl is an artist, Alexander
Technique coach, designer and author.
She is the founder of The Artists Coaching in Berlin,
a studio dedicated to support artists in their
creative, artistic process as well as life.
She has helped singers, musicians, actors,
dancers and circus artists, to build a
healthy and inspired carrier. Claudia likes to work with artists suffering
from anxiety, bipolar disorder,
depression, chronic pain, burnout or
artists with the courage to start something new.
She comes from a background of theatre and dance
before studying the Alexander Technique and
developing her own method with the artists
of the famous Cirque du Soleil.
As a nomad and curious soul she has
traveled and experienced more than most people
do in their lifetime.
She believes that art is what we are and
that it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. She is known for her down to earth, loving and highly inspired, engaging approach to coaching. Claudia’s insights inspire audiences around the world through her monthly “Inspiration” newsletter and online coaching. For artists in Berlin, besides one on one sessions, she offers weekly Bohemian Brunches and Artistic Vision Quests.