Gail’s Dance: 5 rhythms balance life

• HCOA’s director teaches new way to move your feet
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

Gail Edgerly

Gail Edgerly

If a good working definition of life equates it with “energy in motion,” then a new dance dividing the five rhythms of creativity might help understand what those motions are and how they meld together to unblock the creative force.
That’s the idea behind “5 Rhythms,” a meditation dance class soon to be offered to Homer residents. An all-day introductory course will be taught 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 9 in the 40-foot yurt at the Alaska Yurt Village. The afternoon portion of the course will be taught to live music provided by Milo Matthews.
Gail Edgerly, Homer Council on the Arts director, as well as instructor of the course, brought the dance concept to Homer when she moved from Maine last year. “Five Rhythms,” depicts the five stages of the creative process: Flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness.
“It really is not a technique. It’s a map of movement that takes you through all the aspects of who you are,” Edgerly explained. “We’re waking up what’s our very own. This process connects us to our authenticity we are all craving.”
A keystone of the idea is a Taoist saying: “an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.” Dance allows the physical manifestation of the meditation, reaching from flowing to stillness.

Photos Provided - The foot movements of 5 rhythms are individual and geared for a personal experience.

Photos Provided - The foot movements of 5 rhythms are individual and geared for a personal experience.

Edgerly learned the 5 Rhythms dance 15 years ago when she happened to take a class from one of Gabrielle Roth’s trained teachers in Maine. Roth devised it as a movement meditation practice from the 1960s by simply watching how others move.
It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and Eastern philosophy. Roth describes the practice as a “soul journey,” connecting to the “essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential.”
Edgerly is one of the few certified teachers in the country.
“At my first workshop, when I heard the first song, I knew I had to have this in my life,” she explained.
She danced the practice for eight years before deciding to become a teacher. Six years ago, one of the instructors needed a medical leave of absence, so Edgerly filled in for her.
“I saw people wanted to learn how to deepen their practice and that I actually did have something to say,” she said. After that experience, she took Roth’s training.
Each of the five rhythms parallels a place in the creative process, with “flowing” being how people begin. Ideas flow in a gathering period, then comes to a “staccato,” or linear sense of direction. This is when we take action. Staccato then leads to chaos, the discarding of an idea to consider another one. “By the time you get to ‘lyrical’, a piece is transformed,” Edgerly explained. “At ‘stillness,’ it is finished. You feel a sense of peace and appreciation of self.”
The five mediations aren’t so much about format, as individuality.
“When we dance, we access each rhythm in our body, so the energy becomes more accessible in daily life,” Edgerly said. “We often live in only one or two rhythms, unaware of other possibilities. And when we move this energy with movement, we connect with what is real in ourselves, and can only love what we discover.”
After the one-day introduction, the class will be offered on a regular basis.

Creative Communities

Adult Creative Time at HCOA Starts Now

Planning a winter of creative pursuits? Does the idea of working in isolation get you down? HCOA is offering its gallery space for five Creative Communities to meet regularly and share artistic endeavors or offer others feedback and support.
Creative Communities are aimed at helping writers, artists, crafters, theatre enthusiasts and music lovers benefit from a sense of community. Like-minded creative folk may gather for conversation, generate ideas, or simply work in the company of others. Individuals are invited to bring their own projects—works at any stage—to continue making progress, and to share if they wish in order to gain insight into the areas they feel may not be working.
Creative Communities was an idea encouraged by local artists and the HCOA board of directors as a way to support creative people at work. The gatherings function without an agenda, providing simply a warm, well-lit, central location to enjoy a sense of community during the darkest months. Structure, if any, is determined by those who show up. More details at

TUESDAY SALON: Creative folk bring projects and paint, sketch, knit, carve, sculpt, bead, whittle or craft leather in good company. Whatever the pursuit, this is the place to share and create.  Tuesdays 5-9pm. Starting Oct. 5.
WRITERS’ REFUGE: Wordsmiths gather to share drafts, propose writing exercises, read aloud essays, ask questions and hear constructive feedback in an encouraging environment. First and Third Mondays 6-8pm. Starting Oct. 4.
THEATRE WORKS: Enthusiasts meet to read scripts, block scenes, share ideas and inspire one another to performance. Anything related to stage production is fair game. Second and Fourth Mondays 6-8pm. Starting Oct. 11.
MUSICIANS’ ROUNDTABLE: Composers, lyricists and musicians convene to share feedback, encouragement and innovative ideas to support and feed the creative fire. (started in August) Second and Fourth Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.
ART CITY SINGS: If you can talk, you can sing! Open to anyone who wants to sing in a casual, lyrics only, no-need-to-read-music atmosphere. (started in August) Second Sundays 6-7:30 p.m.

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Posted by on Sep 22nd, 2010 and filed under Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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