I moved from Missouri to New Jersey in 1991. My job had been eliminated in Kansas City and my two options were Atlanta or New Jersey. I opted for the east coast. It was definitely an experience. I had just turned 40; I had wiped the slate clean and was ready to start anew. From the beginning of my time on earth, at least as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a dancer. I had natural rhythm…I could keep the beat. What I fell short in was learning dance steps. Somehow my brain and my body did not connect. In dance classes, if everyone was moving to the right, I was moving to the left. As much as I loved dance, I kept it to myself and only danced in my room when I was young and only in my house or with friends as I got older. Dance classes were not for me.
In the mid to late 80’s, I heard about this woman, Gabrielle Roth. They called her the Urban Shaman. She would go into the subways under NYC and dance. I fell in love with her essence. She had developed 5 Rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, Stillness). Then I found a book “Maps to Ecstacy” by Gabrielle Roth. It changed my life from being a closet dancer to a profoundly grateful, grooving, free dancing, flowing, belly dancing, rockin’ out to any kind of music ecstatic dancer. Maps to Ecstacy was my bible. I would get groups of friends together and we would dance to the 5 Rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness). I was truly ecstatic in every sense of the word! And when I found myself in New Jersey in 1991, my “bible” close at hand, I was directed through a friend to Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms classes and workshops in NYC. Being from the midwest and never having gone to a BIG city, I was a bit nervous about traversing by myself into the unknown, but traverse I did. Her workshops were intense, her classes were brilliant.
Alas, I worked for a giant corporation and my time soon became caught up in the To Do lists and the daily missteppings of the corporate world. My only respite was doing the 5 Rhythms; it was my healing path, my path back to sanity, to nature. When I retired at the age of 48 and moved back to the midwest, my bible came with me.
I’ve been in Wisconsin now for 13 years. The rhythms of life, the seasons are all contained with Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms. I’ve never stopped doing them…they are a part of me…perhaps not doing them on a dance floor, but certainly embodying them in my everyday life. When I found out through a friend’s Facebook posting last week that Gabrielle Roth was near death, it jolted my reality. I knew I needed to honor this woman who had given me my wings. On Saturday, October 20th, my entire Nia class included Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors music and the 5 Rhythms.
On Monday, Oct. 22nd, Gabrielle Roth took her last breath and let go of her physical presence on earth. Her elegant spirit, her beautiful dancing spirit, remains in my heart and the hearts of millions in the world…in the universe. And on Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, Debbie Rosas, the gifted divine feminine presence and co-founder of The Nia Technique, offered her own gratitude for Gabrielle Roth. Please visit http://www.nianow.com and read Debbie’s beautiful gift of words.
Just as Gabrielle Roth and the 5 Rhythms opened my heart and gave me wings, Debbie Rosas and Nia’s 52 Moves provided the avenue for me to acknowledge my sacredness, my power, to honor the beauty of my body, to speak the eloquence of the joy of movement by teaching and sharing Nia. I have a new bible and it is my body and my life. Thank you Debbie, thank you Nia. I have stepped into my greatness.