I attended my first 5Rythms class after seeing, hearing and feeling as they danced, bobbed and weaved past me at the Dance Parade three years ago.
A new friend I made at the parade, urged me to attend a class as she felt my connection to the, well..let's call it 'scene' or impression they made on me. I later found out there were over 7000 dancers at the parade and this group, mob of rag tag, 'disorganized' people seemed to be in a world of their own and yet so connected to it at the same time.
The idea of me attending a 'dance class' at the Joffrey Ballet rehearsal space no less, was more than a little daunting. The short story being that I was terrified. I arrived 30 minutes early on a 90 something degree June day and walked up the 5 flights of stairs as the elevator was out, my heart pounding the whole time...Hearing "Am I really going to do this? You are not doing this!" in my head the whole time.
When I breathlessly reached the 5th floor, I realized I should have brought some water and used that easy excuse to leave swiftly and decisively grabbing hold of this great excuse for dear life.
I bought a couple of bottles of cold water and stood in front of the building, teeter tottering back and forth if I should go back inside or just leave. I was almost talking out loud to myself and finally the stronger voice said, "You miss a lot of life by making excuses. Stop it and get your lazy scared self inside!"
And I dutifully walked up the steps accepting I was going in.
I could and will go on about my experiences dancing and doing what they call "Moving Meditation" in another post. Needless to say it was nothing short of a life changing experience. But what I most remember and one of my first thoughts I had was how wonderful and amazing this would be to photograph. The freedom, the carefree way we moved. So many feelings and such powerful imagery as I danced and flowed in the 90 plus degree space with about 100 others.
I accepted I would never have a chance to capture these experiences and put it out of my mind.
But I never lost touch with the connection I had with the experience and the friends I had made and I returned in a big way after this years Dance Parade but as part of it and capturing it. Only this time, from the inside.
When Lucia and Douglas asked me to do some photography for them, I quickly said yes.
Now the vision I had on the first day of dancing in a 5Rythms Moving Meditation was realized!
I danced and moved and bobbed and weaved like the rest of this happy 'mob". Part of the experience and dancing with my camera as I quietly captured some beautiful moments, movement and feeling.
Thank you Lucia and Douglas for entrusting me with this opportunity and thank you to my fellow dancers for their generosity of spirit and for also entrusting me to have the honor to preserve these beautiful moments.
The annual Dance Parade has become a symbol of personal renewal for me. Each year, after the excitement, energy and exhilaration of the parade are over, rather than feel exhausted, I find myself in a state of mind to live life in a more active, involved and well…connected way. If I didn't experience it firsthand, I wouldn't believe the profound effect this parade could have on me. More specifically, it's the incredible, positive energy from my friends of the 5 Rythms tribe. The enthusiasm, the sharing of positivity (I've never used that word before!) and their passion for community, connection and commitment is just what I have been longing for ever since moving back to NYC three years ago.
When I first heard the music of the parade as I was in my apartment, my first reaction was to shut the window. Luckily, first impressions are not always correct and I grabbed my camera and went out to see what all the commotion was about. As I turned the corner I heard this driving, weird, strong and sort of out of place with the rest of the music and energy of the other participants. I vividly remember my first thoughts and feelings as this somewhat ragtag group, meandered, I mean danced past me. I was so drawn in, I fell into step with them, in front of them, in the middle and behind, taking pictures and just knowing I had fallen into something very special. How special, I still am learning. I just know through luck, timing or force of destiny that has and is changing an important part of my life.
As a photographer, each parade has presented itself different challenges and opportunities. This year, I imagined I was photographing in 1967
Haight Asbury. I wanted to capture movement in the stills, and of course the passion, connection and joy of all who danced and attended.
To me, the Dance Parade signals start to the new year, a beginning, a renewal.
I never met the founder of 5 Rhythms, Gabrielle Roth. But her presence in spirit and positivity (I really hope this is a word!) were undeniable, rich and transformative.
A year ago I was in my apartment unaware of any "Dance Parade" going on outside but I did hear loud music and lots of activity...I went down to see what all the commotion was about and found a parade that was just starting...I drifted around for a bit until I heard hypnotic tribal drum music emanating from speakers on the bed of a pick up truck with a banner for Gabrielle Roth's 5Rhythms. I noticed the dancers following it were dancing as if in a tribal trance of sorts and I could understand why...I was drawn more and more towards them and wound up following the entire way..wishing I had the nerve to dance with no inhibitions on a bright Sunday down Broadway in New York City.
I photographed the experience and made friends with some of the 'tribespeople' and they invited me to join them to dance on Tuesdays at a Joffrey Ballet rehearsal space in the Village...
After much trepidation and more than just a little encouragement from my new friend Cindy, I nervously walked up the five flights of stairs (elevator was out) in 90 degree plus weather...
No words were said as the music came on and each dancer just seemed to do what they felt...it was more than odd at first...terrifying would be more accurate...but after a few minutes and realizing no one was really paying any attention to each other, I started to feel comfortable and slowly yet surely the music and the pounding rhythmic music was all I needed as the sun started to set and I soon fell into a comfortable groove and had one of the best times I could remember.
Well it's one year later...and I walked, danced and photographed the experience..
Thank you for the warm welcome guys, I'll see you all on Tuesday!