Coming for the first time
“Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?”
Guidelines for attendance at Moving Essence Classes
There are no steps to learn. Rather, the 5Rhythms practice is an invitation to explore where each rhythm takes you energetically and internally, and give expression to all of this: even that which feels strange, awkward, hurt or bored. This is where the practice can be most transformative – if you give it expression, it can change.
Move in silence. This is a moving meditation practice – chatting or talking with others distracts you and others around you.
No mobile phones or technology in the dance space.
This is a drug and alcohol free space.
Please come on time. Class entry opens 10 minutes before starting. Doors shut ½ hour after class starts.
Leave belongings in the community room. Enter the dance space quietly with only a water bottle.
Plastic cups and tap water are provided for use in the community room but no cups are permitted in the dance space.
Keep the dance floor and stage (installation) area clear of your belongings. Use the storage boxes provided in the corners of the room.
Pace yourself. Be responsible for your own wellbeing. Go gently with any injuries you may have and go at a manageable intensity. If you need to leave early, please let our staff know. Moving on the floor or on a chair is fine.
Wear loose comfortable layers. Please avoid precious jewellery, heavy scents or body oil.
Tops on. All dancers please keep your shirts on even if you are hot.
No socks or street shoes. Dance barefoot or in soft dance shoes.
No kissing or sexual engagement. This is a moving meditation practice, not a nightclub or place to pick up. Lose yourself to dance, not romance.
Respect boundaries. Many people come here to move freely in a safe space – alone, in pairs and in groups. Always respect your own boundaries and those of others. The exploration of this relational territory is an important aspect of the practice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need to book?
All of our classes are drop-in events at very large venues so no you don’t need to book.
For workshops and some special events, yes, we recommend that you book ahead as places are limited and can fill up. If you book more than a month ahead, you’ll get a reduced early bird price.
You can book online via our website calendar.
You can also register for a workshop at any of our classes. We take cash, credit/debit cards or cheques made out to Moving Essence.
We don’t take deposits for workshops. If paying the registration fee is difficult please contact us and request a payment plan.
What do I wear?
We recommend wearing layers of clothing so you can moderate your own body temperature.
We have a ‘tops on’ policy so please keep your chest covered.
We only dance in halls with soft wooden floors so bare feet, soft dance shoes or light trainers are best. If you have any issues with your feet (e.g. orthotics needed) wear the shoes that are recommended for you.
Please don’t come onto the dance floor wearing your street shoes. Dancing in socks is not recommended.
Remove any precious jewellery. Avoid wearing body oils and strong perfumes.
Bring a personal towel (if you sweat a lot), but there are no showers at the halls we hire.
Will I be able to dance for 2 hours?
Moving Essence welcomes anyone regardless of your age, abilities or disabilities. The practice is adaptable to the needs of the individual. We are all for making this practice accessible.
Please know that in a class you don’t have to dance non-stop for 2 hours! Many people spend some time on the floor, resting or stretching. We sometimes have chairs in the hall for people to sit in and move.
Since we started offering this work we have had dancers who are over the age of 80, people in wheelchairs, on crutches, with chronic fatigue, with hearing impairment, with mental health issues, in grief, with injuries and all varieties of physical, emotional and mental struggles. Being a human being is hard sometimes. That’s why we offer this practice.
If you have specific concerns or needs please speak to either someone at the front desk when you arrive or get in touch with us in advance of the event. Chances are, your needs can be accommodated and you’ll be able to attend.
All our events are held in wheelchair accessible venues and with toilet access. If you would like more information, please ask at the reception desk or get in touch in advance.
Can I come and watch?
You may be curious and want to watch to ‘check out if this is for you’ for a few minutes. However we offer 5Rhythms as a safe space for people to ‘dance as if no one is watching’ – so long term these events are not for spectators.
If you are not sure if this is for you – we’d suggest you give it a go. Participation can look like many things, simply walking through the space, moving gently on the floor or fully giving your self to moving to the music. Giving it a go is the best way to learn about the practice.
What if I need to leave early?
When attending a class, if, for some reason, you need to leave we will refund you the class price if you leave within the first half-hour of class only. Please inform the person at the front desk that you’d like this and tell them your reason.
After that time if you need to leave class early please let the person at the front desk know so that we know you’re OK. In all our regular venues we ask that you close the front door after you.
Leaving a workshop (which is not a drop-in group) is different – please refer to our Refund Policy or the registration information for the workshop you have registered for.
Can I bring children?
Yes, in Melbourne you can bring children to our Sunday Morning Sweats, the weekly 6pm Tuesday Light Waves class or to Fridays in Castlemaine. These sessions are Family Friendly. See our calendar of weekly classes for full details.
Children need to be supervised by an attending parent/carer at all times and you need to monitor the noise level of the child so that they can tune in and not disturb the quiet group moments of stillness. It can be helpful to bring additional quiet activities for them to do at the side of the dance space, e.g books and drawing materials or electronic devices with headphones.
Children under 16 years of age are free but need to be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
Do you have a concession price?
We don’t offer a concession price for classes.
We found it a ‘difficult dance’ asking people to show proof of concession and the many tales and myriad negotiations that eventuated.
We have simplified things by keeping our prices at affordable rates. Some of our classes are the same price that they were when we started back in 2003.
For workshops and events where booking is required we do offer a concession price. This is either an early bird price, if you book a month or more in advance or if you can present an eligible concession card.
If payment for a class or workshop is difficult for you please let us know.
Do you have lost property?
At St Brigid’s in Melbourne and St Mary’s in Castlemaine we hire storage areas and keep a lost property box on site.
If they find an item of clothing or water bottle our staff will put this in the lost property store and we won’t be alerted. If you contact asking about that item you’ll be advised to come and check for you item at the same time next week. We cannot return to the venue to collect it in the interim.
Items such as wallets, and phones we treat differently and either our staff or one of us may be involved in helping return this to you.
Items left at occasional hire venues in Melbourne (such as Abbotsford Convent or Preston) will either be left at those venues or brought to the main property store.
If you come regularly it’s a good thing to check lost property from time to time. Not to ‘shop; but to see if you have left an item in there.
We notify the community and donate the lost property to an OP Shop at the end of every Season.
Where can I get 5Rhythms Music?
5Rhythms is not really a genre, rather a container for holding a diverse array of music. That’s what is so special about it. If there is a song you love (see also our FAQ on playlists) we will most likely encourage you to seek out the artist (including the original artist if it is a cover).
The music we offer has been collected over a long time. It has come from our own collections, through meetups with other 5Rhythms teachers from around the world, from dancers inspired to share or accessed via streaming services like Spotify.
We pay APRA fees for the rights to play music like this. We pay for music and honour the songwriters by regularly acknowledging the medicine they provide for us.
There are some albums of music especially created for the 5Rhythms practice. David and Terrafunka have created a dynamic and uplifting album – Reveal. This is available online through Raven Recording. We sell this album as a download or a CD.
Gabrielle Roth, who created the 5Rhythms has a wide selection of music available. You can purchase Gabrielle Roth’s music on-line at the Raven Shop.
Can I get a copy of the Playlist?
We don’t share our playlists. That’s because we don’t prepare a playlist. We curate the songs by watching the room and choosing in the moment.
However if you want to know a favourite song or an artist please come and ask us AFTER the class?
If you interrupt your dance to come and ask us ‘what is this song?’ WHILE the song is still playing that indicates that you have left your dance experience to go chasing something.
Buddhist teachers would call that something like ‘grasping at experience’. In other words, it is an indication that you are so focussed on taking a photo of the sunset that you forgot to experience the beauty of the sunset.
Get the picture?
Trust us. Trust the practice. Trust that the perfect song will find you.
This invites you to learn more about the 5Rhythms so you can come to us and say “what was that delicious track you played to transition us between chaos and lyrical?”
We’ll tell you.
Then you’ll have both. The pure, ecstatic, wordless experience dancing to a fantastic song AND the fantastic song.
It goes without saying that we discourage the use any recording devices or Shazam-type apps during events.
The 5R philosophy and practice has had a profound effect on how I show up in the world. I am more centered and connected with myself and others. For me, this extends back 16 years. Meredith and David, expressing and sharing the rhythms of life with passion and skill. To both of them I am truly grateful.