March 20th, 2014
Surfing the Dance Wave


By: Doug Romig

It was a Sunday morning and we were going to dance. It was an unusual concept for me. When I walked into the Broadway Academy of Performing Arts, I had no idea what to expect.

This was Dance Wave, based on the 5Rhythms movement system founded by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. Think movement and meditation combined with amazing music. Over the course of approximately 1-3/4 hours, it was is like riding a gentle wave that carries you up and up and then back down into a relaxed state to unwind and release all the tension built up inside. It was a rush.

The wave flowed in planned spontaneity. The 5Rhythms method builds from flowing (grounding), staccato (expression), chaos (release), lyrical (surrender) and stillness (emptiness).

This was a free-form dance gathering with a few simple rules: no conversation on the dance floor; no alcohol or drugs; and no photos or videos. (At the end of Dance Wave, the facilitator photographs the group of dancers.) Another guideline was respect for each other’s space on the dance floor. Dance alone or with someone who wants to dance with a partner. Finally, move your body however you want. It’s your dance. One of the clearly expressed tenets is to relax and be yourself.

Imagine a forty-something; six-foot, one; two-hundred and mumble-mumble pound white guy with Scottish and German ancestry moving freely to world music.

No one cared how I danced. I was like an inflatable waving man you see in front of car dealerships. After the warm up I really let go and got down and funky. Moving around the room, dancing to the beat, both aware and oblivious to those around me, it became something that moved me in ways I had not anticipated. It felt good. Really good. After the dance, one woman came up and asked if I was the guy writing for “that online magazine.” When I confirmed her suspicions she said I really got into the spirit of dancing. I think that was a compliment.

At the end, the stillness part of the exercise offered a time to stretch and relax. The wave began to flow off of me. With eyes closed, I relaxed to the music after moving in ways I never thought I could or would. Once my eyes opened, looking around at the others on the floor around me, I realized that my experience was not unique. Others were stretched out, sprawled all over the floor, totally at ease.

As I left, I was relaxed and tired from a good workout for my body and, I am surprised to admit this, my spirit. (And that didn’t stop me from buying a cheeseburger on the way home.) Over the next few days I found I had more energy, less pain, and more peace.

Dance Wave meets on the 2nd Friday from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm and on the 4th Sunday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Admission is $5-$10 sliding scale.

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Cover photo by Helen Morrow.

© Doug Romig, 2014.



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