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Across the Land, Dancing Jews Are Praying With Their Bodies.

In the middle of the dusty Black Rock desert in Nevada, during the annual Burning Man festival, lies an open dance floor made of bamboo. The canopy above billows in the breeze, and colorful flags invite passersby to experience the spectacle within. People of all ages, shapes, sizes and genders are aflutter in the crucible of dance. Grown men cry with vulnerability and openness; women howl and thump their feet with war cries. As the music shifts and changes from the thumping sounds of chaos into softer, lyrical melodies, bodies connect and hearts align. A soft voice croons into the microphone. "Welcome to Rhythmwave," it says. "What you've just experienced is the 5Rhythms."

One of thousands of theme camps at Burning Man, the annual desert arts-and-music festival in the Nevada desert, Rhythmwave is based on the 5Rhythms, a "conscious dance" practice founded in 1977 by Gabrielle Roth. Conscious dance foregrounds the movement, not the party around it. Without drugs or alcohol, dancers use the sounds of the music to move the body while stilling the mind, in a moving meditation. When Roth died in 2012, she left behind over 250 certified teachers, a burgeoning community of conscious dancers whose practices include offshoots such as Open Floor (founded by her students), and a school of "movement as medicine" taught from Albuquerque to Australia.

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Author:Groner, Rishe
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Dec 14, 2016
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