5 Rhythms

Tribute to Gabrielle Roth

Two year ago, a visiting teacher on a modern dance class introduced the 5 rhythms warm-up, moving through head to toes, dancing body parts on rhythmic percussions. Without saying its name or revealing its history, the teacher just guided us through the dance. It stood out for me, from many other warm-ups. It felt as a little pathway to the way I perceived dancing.

Some time passed, and I discovered the work of Gabrielle Roth, came across her legacy in the form of 5rhythm, which today counts hundreds of teachers, and much more dancers.

Through this short post, I want to express my gratitude to her work, and share a video of her explaining the concept of 5rhythms, which in the early stage, she called the Wave Dance.

Gabrielle Roth explaining what she initially called the Wave Dance, and later became known as 5rhythms, one of the first forms of ecstatic modern dance for wide audience and not only for dancers

If you want to experience 5rhythms yourself, listen and dance to the guided version, that I am sharing in a video below. What you need is space, where it is possible to dance, free 30 minutes, and desire to give it a try. Move aside the furniture pieces, and make sure the space is suitable to dance; better dance bare feet, it’s much safe and rewarding way. Put the guided track on, and embark in your first journey. It lasts thirty minutes. Enjoy your dance!

30 minutes audio of Gabrielle Roth guiding the 5 Rhythms on the background of percussion music

If you want to learn more and experience dancing waves with a group, search for worldwide classes on the website of 5rhythms.

A valuable resource for educators

In the context of contemporary education, be it at schools, colleges, universities or workshop gatherings, one of the most needed exercises are the group bonding and trust building activities. In the interdisciplinary education much can be adopted from music education. The nature of musical education, demans teaching group skills for performance, for co-creating music, or playing in a band or orchestra. I want to share as inspirational and a very valuable resource for educators Pass the Sound, which lists up to 30 exercises that can be used in the group context;

Some of my favorites are creative writing, names on pulse, body percussion, and the trust game. The trust game, I have been using in my teaching for past three years, and was very glad to see a comparable exercise included on the website.

“The source Pass The Sound is a shared learning resource, offering free warm-up, skills, creative, and workshop exercises for musicians to use whilst facilitating group music-making contexts.” However I believe these games can be used in other forms of education, e.g. in an interdisciplinary classroom.

The exercises listed on the website were developed by a number of institutions, such as Royal Conservatoire The Hague and Prince Claus Conservatoire Groningen,  The Netherlands, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik, Iceland Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, United Kingdom.

These recordings and website have been made possible with the support of the Société Gavigniès & co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

Do you know any other comparable site, that is a good resource for educators? (reply in comment)

Voice Percussion

The art of Konnakol

Nowadays many are familiar with beatboxing from hip hop and rapping, but as the first inspiration of using voice as percussion, I want to highlight Konnakol, the art of vocal percussion from the South Indian classical Carnatic music. It refers to vocally performing percussion syllables while simultaneously counting the tala (meter) with the hand, and in itself can be exquisite peace of musical performance. The first video I want to present is a beautiful duet performed by Vidwan B R Somashekar Jois and Kumari V Shivapriya.

Vidwan B R Somashekar Jois and Kumari V Shivapriya are reciting few rhythmic phrases set to Mishrachaapu Tala followed by a special Mohara-Korvai composed by Vidwan B C Manjunath.

Konnakol is often part of a larger musical performance. Recently it is heard integrated in music compositions other than traditional carnatic music as well. For an in-depth study of the history of Konnakol see a MA thesis KONNAKOL The History and Development of Solkattu – the Vocal Syllables – of the Mridangam by Lisa Young, kindly shared on the website of the singer.

Do you know any comparable voice percussion traditions from other styles of music, or cultures?

Reply in comment