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5Rhythms dancing with Jessica Howie in MallorcaOctober 6, 2015

Try 5Rhythms just once and, like me, you could become hooked on this uniquely liberating practice. When teacher Jessica Howie returns to the island on 10 and 11 October to run a workshop you’ll have the perfect opportunity to find out why.


What is 5Rhythms?

5Rhythms was created by American dancer and musician Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. Today, it’s a worldwide movement. The 5Rhythms are: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. Together they form a wave which you dance through in roughly 90 minutes.

According to, the rhythms are “states of being”.

Jessica Howie talks 5Rhythms

Jessica Howie has been dancing 5Rhythms since she 1998 when she went to a workshop offered by Gabrielle Roth herself. “There were 150 people in this church going absolutely wild. It was ecstatic. I was hooked from the very first and, since then, 5Rhythms has helped me heal a lot of my wounding. It’s been an amazing support in my life.”

Nine years ago, when Jess was living in Deia she decided to train as a teacher and create a 5Rhthms group on the island. Now, although she no longer lives in the village, Jess comes back twice a year to run workshops like the one which is coming up. Although she’s a teacher, Jess sees dancing 5Rhythms as a process of constant learning. “It keeps you as a student, connected, wanting to learn and having to walk your talk.”

I asked Jess why she thinks 5Rhythms’ impact can be so strong. “In western culture, we’re closed down. There are so many restraints on what we can be. 5Rhythms gives us the opportunity to open our hearts, take off our masks and be ourselves, without using words. We can be freer, wilder, more open and this carries over into the rest of our lives. I’ve seen people change radically.”

Too true.

About the workshop

The weekend on 10 and 11 October will be for people who are new to 5Rhythms as well as experienced dancers and Jess will be going back to the foundations of the practice. “I want this weekend to be about creating more life force,” Jess says. “We’ll find the places in us that are stuck and numb, unblock them, create more space in ourselves and allow more abundance into our lives.”

Coming back to Deia

For Jess, coming back to Deia is always a treat. “I miss going down to the sea and swimming when there’s no-one around,” she says. “I miss the sensuality of living in Deia, feeling connected to my body and senses and to the land. My girls are so free in their bodies from growing up here.”

5Rhythms and me

Forgive me for this indulgence but I’d like to explain why I champion 5Rhythms.

I grew up dancing in clubs (only we called them discos) but I hadn’t strutted my funky stuff for years. And I’d never been able to let myself go without a few drinks inside me. I went to my first 5Rhythms session with Jess as a dare to myself: to see whether I could dance sober.

I needn’t have worried. I took to 5Rhythms right away, helped by  the warm, inclusive atmosphere and the great music Jess plays. I loved the way things started gently and built up to an astonishing crescendo of intensity before winding down into stillness. I felt safe opening up about how I felt about myself and the practice in a room full of people I barely knew.

Since then, I’ve danced 5Rhythms as often as I can and I’m taken out of myself every time. After every practice, when I come back down to earth,  I (re)discover something about me and I’m changed again. And it’s such a joy to dance for hours.

If you can go to Jess’s workshop, do. I think you’d love it.

The workshop will be at Illes Marratxi, Marrati on 10 and 11 October. Contact for more information.


The workshop

Jess’s website

About 5Rhythms

On Jess’s current favourite 5Rhythms playlist 


Patrick Hill is co-founder, and co-owner, of Charles Marlow with his brother Charlie. He was the first to come from the UK to Deia to start the company. Today, Patrick continues to help set the strategic direction and splits his time between the UK and Mallorca

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