This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight is from Morgan Rae Berk, who together with her partner Jonathan Horan leads the Global 5Rhythms Tribe.
I never realized dancing in a room together with other people was something I was taking for granted. Looking back, it’s screamingly ironic that the upheaval 5Rhythms practice predicted rhythmically in the dance was an upheaval that no one, teacher nor producer nor student, was actually prepared for logistically. I’ve been hard-pressed to find anyone out there that already had a plan B for what would happen if we all suddenly couldn’t actually meet in our regular in-person spaces to practice.
One year later, the conscious dance producer persona that once was so second nature to my own movements in the world continues to feel like an impossible task and ask. Some venues will take a rental reservation; others just won’t until local restrictions ease up. Booking a flight is mostly possible, but full refunds (not just credits) and guaranteed border entry are not. Quarantine requirements, medically holding safe space, moral choices – what happens if we are responsible for many students getting awfully sick or, even worse, losing their life?
What was once a relatively smooth Staccato practice of setting the wheels in motion for a future event 6, 12, 18 months down the road now is filled with lots of false starts and stops and self-guessing – is doing this planning work even worth it right now?
Throughout the pandemic, eager students have sent emails daily: When will our current training finish? Is our next 5Rhythms training or SpaceHolder orientation scheduled yet? Is Jonathan teaching in Europe this summer? Are the NYC classes opening up in person again anytime soon?
The only answer I continue to truthfully uncover these days that isn’t over-promising or under-delivering is quite simply: I don’t know.
Headed into my 10th year of 5Rhythms practice as a student, I’ve learned that committing to Chaos is an opportunity to bring into balance the limitless energies of destruction & creation, a rhythm of surrender to un-knowing what comes next in its most essential form. Releasing what our planning world looked like before and being open to what is resourcefully emerging in new ways. Letting go of yesterday’s expectations of what was, moving fluidly with today’s possibilities of what can be, and organizing futures only once one string in the swirl of unknowns can be discernibly tethered down to earth.
For now, as a producer, this manifests for me as pouring my creative action into live.5rhythms.com. Bringing 1-2 5Rhythms teachers from around the world technologically online each week to showcase the diverse teachings that make up our global 5RTA field. Ethically partnering with musicians, choosing to consciously ask permission and exchange financial value for their contributions, out of respect for our extended musical family that has also struggled in the limiting of live events. Crafting self-study series such as the Begin (Again), Dancing with Myself, and coming soon – Dancing with My Space, that intentionally lean into the true existence and challenges students and teachers face – how to maintain a practice as a dancer alone in your home.
And, because practicing our way through Chaos always gives way to Lyrical, this digital dance journey around the sun revealed a new possibility that likely wouldn’t have gotten the kick in the butt it needed to be planned and launched in haste one year ago. While the necessity of live-streamed classes will likely go down as the 5Rhythms dancefloors (thankfully) reopen, this era birthed into being a 5Rhythms platform with longevity and purpose: an on-demand practice portal rich in teachings, ripe with collaborative musical partnerships, and releasing 5Rhythms into the world with more accessibility than ever before – from 50 countries pre-pandemic, streaming now into 130 countries worldwide.
To paraphrase Gabrielle Roth: You didn’t think this was about planning to dance, did you?