In recent years, evidence of the benefits of dance in all its forms has been demonstrated, and it has positioned itself as an effective tool for expressing emotions, connecting, creating, healing and transcending. In this article we talk about the healing power you can experience through the dance of the five rhythms. The movements generated by this practice allow us to unblock emotions and obsessions and to inhabit states that we usually avoid.

There are different forms of dance therapy, such as biodanza, dance movement therapy, Gaga dance, Gabrielle Roth’s five rhythms, among others. Each one has a different purpose, however, their essence is to connect with the self in order to express.


Today we will focus on the five rhythms of Gabrielle Roth.

The five rhythms

Healing through the five rhythms of Gabrielle Roth
The metaphor of the wave is used to represent Gabrielle Roth’s five rhythms. As they are upward movements that reach a high point and then descend again until they reach a calm.

An exciting practice where the human being is invited to go through five different states, related to the five basic emotions, to the cycles of life and to the elements. The passing through these rhythms constitutes a wave as they connect and generate an ascending and then calming sensation, promoting a state of healing through dance. Do you feel like doing this journey as you read these lines?

Here we go!


Before starting with the explanation, let’s dance with imagination

Just imagine!

That you are dancing in solitude on a big stage, you are still, silent, like the dark night, you notice your breath, how your chest sinks and rises, how it expands and contracts, you drop your head to the front, feel the weight of it, now you start to move it, however if it is the first time you experience it you probably do it shyly.

Even with that shyness you begin to explore and integrate other parts of your body. As your energy and rhythm increases, the movement takes over your arms, your hands, which create various shapes.  Then this energy travels to your chest, through your hips and into your legs and feet. The game begins.

You experience different shapes in a continuity of circular, fluid movements with your whole body: you play. Sometimes a particular part of your body takes centre stage.

The movements are successive and you have the power to listen to yourself and follow the movement, sometimes the rhythm is slow, sometimes fast, but always continuous, it is like the dance of the waves of the oceans when they are calm.



The drums are beating!

As you experience this continuity of movement and listen to the rhythm of the drums, the movements that your body creates become faster, it is as if you are entering a storm; this time they have a beginning and an end, they are more defined. You create lines, your feet are more present on the ground and become percussion instruments, your legs are like strong trunks that touch the floor.

You strike, you shake, you create a kind of definite outline of movements that you repeat again and again until in that ecstasy they start to run out and now….


Time to let go

Your body has no control, those schemes created with your body have been exhausted and give way to more abstract configurations, without a beginning or an end, just a constant creation, you are like in a trance state, you jump, you take vertiginous turns, you just let yourself go, there are no rules, mind and heart are one, in that ecstasy when you are about to explode…


Your body is like a rag doll, or rather like a feather: light, flexible. It has danced so much through uncertainty that its movement becomes soft, almost as if you were in the air, the breeze lulls you, invades you, runs through and moves our body, it’s like a waltz, you turn very softly, as if you were floating; from that fluidity the body itself…

Experience the stillness

Gently, gradually your body, you, go down to the ground. You descend, you breathe and you notice more consciously the expansion and contraction caused by your breathing, you listen to the melodies of your heart and how it beats all over your organism. You are alive! You are alive! Feel that vitality, that pleasure of having moved. Your body thanks you and your energy increases. Even though you are still on the ground, there is a surge of inner movement.

Where there is life, there is dance!


…How did you feel?


What are the five rhythms?

It is the corporal and spiritual work of Gabrielle Roth, its creator. She says that these rhythms constitute “the flowing structure, the DNA of the psychic structure. It is the mother tongue of the body. (1994)

They constitute the map of a territory, this one referring to the map of emotions (fear, anger, sadness, joy, compassion) from which it is founded.

Although all human beings have our own emotional map, with our rivers, oceans, valleys, peaks, etc., there are primordial elements that concern us all.


What do they teach us?

They are states of being, they teach us to live more consciously, to identify the different rhythms of life through which we move, they also invite us to identify with which of them we are more connected in our daily lives and also to identify the rhythms of others in order to observe which are discordant or complementary in order to act assertively.

Metaphorically, we can say that they constitute a map through which we travel through our emotional, mental and corporal worlds, the conscious and the unconscious, the internal and the external, the invisible and the visible. It is a practice to liberate. By travelling through different ways of moving and feeling through the body, these learnings are incorporated and generalised to our emotional and psychological world, generating new and more adaptive ways of feeling. Thus, we promote healing through the dance of the five rhythms.

“Moving the body through rhythms releases emotions, the release of the body inevitably leads to the release of the heart” Gabrielle Roth

By moving to these rhythms, it helps us to quiet the mind, it empowers us, a journey into our inner self for self-knowledge.

The five rhythms of Gabrielle Roth

When we work with Gabrielle Roth’s five rhythms we have to think about the metaphor. How each rhythm represents a phase of life and each period of our experience. Each rhythm flows naturally from the previous one, they are not directed but each person finds his or her own way to inhabit them from a basic premise.

They are done in the following order, which is why it is called the wave.


1- Fluidity

the healing of the five rhythms
First of the five rhythms is the fluid, which represents the earth, birth, mother and body.

The art of being fluid in our physical body, we contact the earth, we are in it. It is a space to observe and experience it. It is the conduit of our inner truth. It is the impulse of our own energy.  This rhythm is associated with the earth, the birth, the mother and the body.


2- Staccato

Elevart Gabrielle Roth Estaccato 5 rhythms
The second rhythm is staccato, which represents fire, childhood, father and emotions.

It is the gateway to the heart, setting boundaries, it is the inner warrior part. It connects with the feet and feelings, it has to do with how I take care of what I love, related to decision making, to say yes or no. It is associated with fire, childhood, the father and very corporal emotions. Associated with fire, childhood, the father and very bodily emotions.


3- Chaos

the healing of the five rhythms
The third rhythm is chaos, which we relate to the descent of the wave.

It is the art of relaxing our body, of letting go, letting go and moving from “should be” to “being”. in this phase we can let go of preconceived thoughts. Uncertainty, creation, intuitive being, freedom. Associated with water, youth, friends and mind.


4- Lyrical

Lyrical, gabrielle Roth 5 rhythms
The fourth rhythm is lyrical, related to tranquillity and well-being.

It represents rebirth, the transformation of destructive patterns. Creation is integrated and we can connect with our humanity, our wholeness. The movements of this rhythm make us more aware of our grounding and empowerment. It is associated with the air element, with maturity, humanity and the soul.


5- Stillness

Calma Gabrielle Roth 5 ritmos Elevart
The fifth rhythm is calm.

It allows us to take responsibility for everything we have experienced after having consciously gone through all the previous phases. Accumulation of all our wisdom gained through experience in order to tread new paths. Unity, state of meditation in movement, gentleness, compassion. Associated with the ether element, old age, death, universe-spirit.


How to practice dance to promote healing?

By simply dancing the five rhythms you get out of your comfort zone and promote new learning. Allow yourself to enter into them without judging your movements; for this practice there are no fixed rules or instructions, the energy of the body is its own teacher. The chosen music is taken into account to help trigger the movements and be a guideline as the body transitions into a new rhythm.


“A mind emptied of busyness, of the busyness that takes possession of so much of our lives, and reoriented to the natural rhythms of body and heart, has immeasurable power and an unlimited capacity for wisdom.


So, do you dare to go on this journey?


  • Roth, G. (1994).Teachings of an urban shaman. Healing through movement Ed. Planeta

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