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13 November 2014

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You are in: Somerset > Arts & Culture > Getting in the rhythm

Emma Britton BBC Somerset presenter, Jean Rankin, 5rhythm dance teacher

Emma and Jean getting into the beat

Getting in the rhythm

A dance craze from London is growing in popularity in Somerset. It's called 5Rhythms and no dancing skills are required. BBC Somerset's Emma Britton put it to the test with 5Rhythms teacher Jean Rankin.

5Rhythms started in the US more than 20 years ago and has since grown in popularity in London and more recently in Somerset. There are established classes in Glastonbury, but now it's expanding to other parts of the county.

On the Morning Show presenter Emma Britton and producer Will Richards had a mini dance class.

5Rhythms teacher, Jean Rankin said:

"It's about finding your inner rhythm. There are five rhythms that together make a wave, so when we dance the 5Rhythms we dance a wave."

5rhythms during the Morning Show

Will began biting his lip in the dance

People with disabilities can also enjoy the classes.

"I've got a guy who comes to my class now, who suffered a stroke two years ago, and he dances sitting down."

There is a lot variety in the music genres which can range from pop, world to electric, and in each class the music can, and does, vary.


This is the first stage of the 5Rhythms.

"It's the antidote to rushing, the stress of our lives and the fact that we're all running ahead of ourselves."

According to Jean the idea is to start off by "putting our attention in the feet, we really feel our feet, feel the contact with the ground."

The idea is to find a circular movement by ''following your own flow".


The second stage is ''all about being in the beat'' where the music is "very clear and definite".

Again with 5Rhythms, there is no right or wrong way to dance, but to get in the beat of the music and simply do your own thing.


The music becomes more up tempo for this stage.

It is about ''the rhythm of our time. There is so little you can control in your lives-  from the person driving at 30 in a 50mph zone, your teenage children, the financial meltdown, but when you dance you can let go."

This is the stage where you can really let go and feel liberated.


After letting go, the tempo of the music changes.

This is the stage where "something really magical can happen, where we can lighten up, feel the tips of our toes, our fingers, and really become creative and find our own funky lyrical dance."

Emma described this stage as the moment when you reach the top of a mountain and you can start to come down on the other side.

(Meanwhile, Will began to bite the bottom of his lip and admitted to feeling ''like a bit of a wally.")


This is the final stage of the wave, where the music is softer, ''where the whole wave comes to rest''.

(At this stage Will starts to sway backwards and forwards)

"You stay moving but your movements become very slow, sometimes you'll stop, so it's like musical statues, and just breathe.

"You feel your body and feel yourself, your own heart beat, like you come home to yourself."

'Sense of yourself'

Jean Rankin spent several years learning this dance form and began her training course in 2007, qualifying in October 2008.

"I got into 5Rhythms because I love dancing. When I was a teenager I'd go out to discos and when I was a student I'd go out to see bands, clubs, and stuff but now at middle age, none of that fitted anymore. But now it's great to go out and hear great music and dance and feel great."

One aspect of this form of dancing sounds New Age, but Jean says it's not about religion, but it does have a spiritual aspect to it, although not everyone feels about the dance in that way.

"It's about the truth of who you are, breathing into your body, it can be very touching, where you can get a sense of yourself as part of something greater."

She also says that it is natural for people to feel self-conscious but that most people get over this stage to really enjoy it.

"It's not about what you look like, it's about how you feel."

One class has been well-established in Glastonbury for several years, and now extra classes have been laid on in Glastonbury and Norton Fitzwarren.

Click on the right of this page for more details.

last updated: 06/03/2009 at 16:50
created: 06/03/2009

You are in: Somerset > Arts & Culture > Getting in the rhythm

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