ABOUT THE PROJECT
The area of South London where I have been teaching 5Rhythms for the past three years with street kids is reputed to be one of the worst for poverty and crime. When I come to the playground, they clamber up my legs, tugging at me for a dance. "Is it us today, dance lady?" Those working on their latest moves try them on me for a laugh. Oh, to be so cool! Teaching the freestyle form of the 5Rhythms, I have seen them develop their confidence and self-esteem, work out their anger and frustration, and leap with joy across the dance floor to land in stillness, connecting deeply with each other. To witness the damaged soul transform itself back to innocence, this is beauty.
A 10-year-old autistic boy is developing his emotional awareness through dancing the 5Rhythms, and his school teacher has noticed the difference. He has begun to engage with the other children, express his feelings through movement, and stay engaged throughout the lesson, which is something he cannot do in other lessons. He expresses joy in his dance, and afterwards he is more relaxed and less agitated.
In one of our sessions a 10-year-old girl whose mother is in a gang expressed her rage and trapped feelings of anger. Ever since then, she has been able to tame her temper by dancing her pain.
KIDS' COMMENTS AFTER CLASS
“I feel empty, relaxed”
“It helps me sort my head out of stuff”
“It takes me to other worlds I didn't know were there”
“I learn to express myself, I have more confidence”
“I am less shy now”
“I don't mind dancing in front of my class mates anymore. I don't care”
“Its fun; it makes me happy”
“I can be me”
-- EMMA LEECH - 5Rhythms Teacher, London