What is 5Rhythms®?

5Rhythms is a practice for creative dance, movement meditation, and embodied presence. It’s a holistic and fun form of exercise that is sweaty and soothing, and where you can move your body, imagination, heart, and psyche. There is no set choreography or steps to follow. There are five movement qualities called rhythms that provide a container and structure for improvised movement exploration.

No special skills or previous experience in dance or movement is required. 5Rhythms is suitable everyone regardless of age, experience, gender, or level of physical fitness and ability. All that is necessary is an open and curious mind, and a willingness to explore, perhaps even adventure into new and previously unknown territories.

The structure of the practice:

rhythms and waves

In 5Rhythms® we explore five different movement qualities or “rhythms”, which build naturally on each other, and together form a “Wave”, a complete and fulfilling journey through different landscapes of movement. The five rhythms are called flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness. The rhythms are simple enough that anyone can do them yet big enough that there’s room for a lifetime of exploration. The Wave forms the foundation of the practice, and we dance through waves, again and again. Yet it is a different experience each time: the music is different, the group is different, we ourselves are in different emotional states, with different physical needs, and so on. One can never dance the same Wave twice.

Dancing a Wave is sweaty, fun, invigorating, enlivening, and calming. It is like an inner shower that washes us clean of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Join a class and discover the magic of the dance for yourself: soften into your fluid movement (flowing), clarify and articulate your expression (staccato), shake out and loosen up (chaos), lighten up and let your creativity soar (lyrical), and slow down and move your meditation (stillness).

”Movement and breath
are gateways to presence.”

– Karoliina Valontaival –


5Rhythms® moves us on many levels and connects holistically with many aspects of our lives.

Gabrielle Roth. Photographer: Robert Ansell.

Gabrielle Roth and the global dance community

5Rhythms® was created by the American dancer, theatre director and musician Gabrielle Roth. She began to develop this method in the 1960’s in California.

5Rhythms is a global dance community. There are tens of thousands of dancers in over 70 countries. There are over 500 certified teachers worldwide (just one in Finland, yours truly!). The movement language of dancing is a bridge across cultures and generations: when we dance, we can discover our own and shared humanity.


5Rhythms® practice contains different levels, which offer different ways of exploring ourselves and our lives: the physical body, emotions, mind, relationships and our personal history. Gabrielle developed these different levels and called them “maps”. Each “map” still contains the Wave and Rhythms at its core. /p>

All classes and many workshops are Waves level and are suitable for everyone. Other “maps” are explored in weekend workshops and usually require sufficient previous experience in 5Rhythms, because the material can be more challenging.



Physical body, breath, and movement. Discovering our own movement and learning to enjoy it. Learning to become aware of our breath and joining breathing and moving.



Our emotional landscape and their embodiment: fear (flowing), anger (staccato), sadness (chaos), joy (lyrical), and compassion (stillness).



The dance of our family, our relationships, the cycle of our lives from birth to death: birth and infancy (flowing), childhood (staccato), puberty (chaos), maturity (lyrical), and old age and death (stillness).



Exploring the mind and the power of seeing into ourselves, who we are, our patterns, our strengths, our defenses. Dancing into awareness and freedom.



The dance of archetypes created by Gabrielle Roth. Playing with and discovering different aspects of ourselves. Becoming whole and fully alive.