Q: Is this ecstatic dance?
Yes. No. Not really. Ecstatic dance is a generic term for free-form dances with a DJ, sometimes with spiritual overtones, often with a party atmosphere. While all of the modalities we offer are also free form (there are no movements to memorize, no right or wrong ways to move) and the music can be smokin’, they are all also fully developed movement meditation practices, each with unique philosophies, structures, and lineages, led by trained teachers certified in the modalities that they teach. In our classes and workshops, you will learn tools to promote deeper awareness and wellbeing that translates into your life off the dance floor in profound and significant ways. We choose “conscious dance” as an umbrella term for the modalities we offer rather than ecstatic dance for this reason.
Q: What is “movement meditation”? How can I meditate if I’m moving?
Free movement provides unique tools to let go of the processing “monkey” mind and open to intuitive, creative expression. Connecting with our aliveness deepens our connection to everything else in our lives. Insight develops as we witness ourselves and others, drop the masks, and our unique selves emerge. Repeated practice creates real transformation, in ourselves and in our world. For us this is a spiritual practice.
Q: Didn’t this used to be a 5Rhythms® tribe?
Yes, for our first decade (2006-2016) as 5Rhythms Philly, we offered primarily 5Rhythms classes and workshops. We began bringing Michael Molin-Skelton, then a 5Rhythms® & Soul Motion™ teacher (now a Soul Motion teacher and soon to be Open Floor teacher), in 2012. Now in our second decade, prompted by 5Rhythms Global’s request to distinguish and protect their trademark and guided by our historic relationship with beloved teachers, we’ve reformulated as The Philly Tribe. In so-doing we’ve opened our doors to become even more inclusive.
Q: Why do you promote these conscious dance modalities & not others?
A: All of the modalities we promote have one thing in common: they were all developed by prominent 5Rhythms® teachers motivated to create their own distinct movement practice. Thus, though it is sometimes a subject of contention, Gabrielle Roth is a common ancestor of them all. (Not the only ancestor, but a significant one.) We honor Gabrielle’s distinct body of work. We also honor the integrity of these other teachers and the modalities they have birthed. They are all members of our family.
Q: What differentiates these modalities from each other?
One of the most important distinctions is that none of the other practices follow the 5Rhythms® Wave format. The Wave is a trade-marked 5Rhythms® map.
Each modality shares many qualities with the others, but each has their unique signature. We could describe how we love 5Rhythms elegant Wave or Soul Motion’s exquisite use of ritual, Movement Medicine’s down-to-earth shamanism, Open Floor’s exploration of universal forms, & Azul’s return to Love. But this is just brushing the surface. Please use the links on our Home Page to explore what the keepers of each modality have to say in their own words. Read the descriptions of our individual classes and workshops. Talk to our teachers and the other dancers. But most important: dance them!
You may resonate with them all, with some, or only with one. We believe in cross-training and your freedom to choose.
Q: I notice that many of the images on your Home Page are of couples. Am I required to dance with partners to participate?
No. In our 5Rhythms classes you will primarily dance on your own in a group of people doing this same thing, but there are plenty of opportunities for natural partnering to arise. That's what you see in these images, but in each image you can also see plenty of people dancing on their own. Sometimes you will be invited to partner or be part of a group for specific exercises, but you always have the right to be on your own instead of in partnership if that feels right for you. In our Open Floor classes there are more exercises with suggested partnering, and in our Azul classes you will dance with the whole group, sometimes in a circle. But at no time are you required to do anything you don't want to do! Always honor your body and your boundaries, and if you have any concerns, please speak with the teacher!
Q: What should I wear? Should I bring anything with me?
Wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in. We dance in bare feet or inside-only dance shoes. No fragrances please—even essential oils! Many people are chemical sensitive. Bring water and anything else you absolutely need.
Q: Can I bring children?
Our classes are oriented towards adults, and the music can get loud. Please check with the teacher to see if a class is appropriate for younger children. Teens are always welcome.
Q: Why do you call yourself “The Philly Tribe: A Dance Sanctuary”?
Because it captures our intention:
Philly: Philadelphia, The City of Brotherly Love (and it’s surrounding areas)
Tribe: A community with common ancestors and practices
Dance: Expressive movement
Sanctuary: A place or space that is safe, fostering understanding—a refuge
Q: Why are the members of your collective called Tribe-holders?
In 2005 Rivi Diamond came to Philadelphia and, finding that there were no 5Rhythms classes here, began in January 2006 to produce 5Rhythms workshops and classes—retrospectively creating a historically significant foundation for our tribe. For her first workshop she brought Ya’acov Darling Khan (co-founder of Movement Medicine), then Kathy Altman (co-founder of Open Floor), then Amara Pagano (founder of Azul), then Jonathan Horan (Gabrielle Roth’s son and the Executive Director of 5Rhythms Global). But Rivi was only in Philadelphia for two years.
Most tribes have one producer. In our case, a group of dancers stepped forward to keep a monthly 5Rhythms class going. We were a team, working together to make decisions and lug equipment. We needed a different name. So we called ourselves Tribe-holders. When Rebekah became the producer, we maintained the name because we still operated in the same way we always had. In our newest incarnation as The Philly Tribe, being Tribe-holders has become our rudder, serving the energy of the tribe's larger intention: to share life and to love and be loved in return, plain and simple.