One of my favorite things about 5Rhythms (aside from getting to dance for two hours straight) is the wide range of music used during class. As I mentioned yesterday, 5Rhythms playlists are eclectic and can include everything from classical to country to techno. I love experimenting with different musical genres, but most dance classes don’t have that kind of flexibility. Zumba is all Latin music. Aerobic dance at the gym is all of today’s best hits but sped up x100 so it sounds like Minnie Mouse, not Lady Gaga, is singing. And then places that DO offer a full menu of music, such as the nightclub, where the Jackson 5’s “ABC” may follow Jay-Z, aren’t necessarily the most welcoming venues to open your heart to authentic movement.

As such, a mark of a great 5Rhythms teacher is not just his ability to get everyone moving but to be an awesome DJ as well. Music is key in this practice, and songs must flow seamlessly one into the other, meaning that aside from having pieces selected for each of the 5 Rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, Stillness), there must be transition songs that link one Rhythm to the next.

This gradual build-up in tempo and those transition songs are what really attracts me to the practice. I dance around in my living room a lot, and I have found that if I come home from work and immediately blast a very Chaos-like song and start jumping and running all over the place–while it may provide a short-term release of energy–I also get tired much earlier in the game than if I approached my living room dance more like 5Rhythms. I think the key to dancing is starting slow and building the fire, not jumping into the flames at the get-go. Without those lovely rhythms of Flowing and Staccato to launch me into movement, I’ll most likely conk out after 15 minutes, exhausted, unmotivated, and feeling somewhat anticlimactic.

Yesterday’s blog post took me a while to write, and when I was finished all I wanted to do was step away from the computer and move! At first I was very tempted to blast some drumming music and just go at it, but then I remembered how fulfilling a full 5Rhythms practice makes me feel, so I quickly cobbled together a playlist. I’ll admit, I was doubtful about getting into “the zone” (I was feeling mighty exhausted and kind of hungry), but 35 minutes later I had a decent physical and mental workout under my belt.

Here’s my playlist from yesterday, which also provides insight into how each of the Rhythms should “feel.” (Since I was rushed, I didn’t add transition songs for every Rhythm. Also, as you can see, I get most of my music ideas from So You Think You Can Dance, which is a great resource for finding new songs!)

Flowing: “Brotsjor,” Ólafur Arnalds (Tadd and Jordan’s vulture dance, Season 8 )

Flowing/Staccato: “Scars,” Basement Jaxx (Robert and Dominic’s clown routine, Season 7)

Staccato: “Sweet Dreams,” Eurythmics (Sabra and Neil’s boardroom dance, Season 3)

Staccato: “I Can Transform Ya,” Chris Brown (Russell and Kathryn’s hip hop, Season 6)

Chaos: “Riding the Waves,” Afro Celt Sound System (Jordan and Tadd’s African jazz routine, Season 8 )

Chaos/Lyrical: “Drumming Song,” Florence + the Machine (All Stars group dance, Season 7)

Lyrical: “Addicted to Love,” Florence and the Machine (Adechike and Kathryn, Season 7)

Stillness: “Time,” Inception soundtrack (no SYTYCD connection)

It ended up being a great playlist; it felt very well-rounded and I was blissed out by the end!

Thinking of creating your own 5Rhythms-inspired playlist? Here are some of my favorite songs for each of the Rhythms (I may or may not have a slight obsession with Florence + the Machine right now):

Flowing: “Teardrop,” Massive Attack (also known as the House theme); “Intro,” The XX

Staccato: “Where is the Love,” Black Eyed Peas (this gets everyone moving and grooving in a live class!); “Rock What You Got,” Superchick; “Run the World,” Beyonce

Chaos: “God is a DJ,” Faithless; “Dog Days are Over,” Florence + the Machine

Lyrical: “Coming Home,” Diddy; “Cosmic Love,” Florence + the Machine

Stillness: “Amazing Grace,” Walela; “Glasgow Love Theme,” Love Actually soundtrack.

 If you have a song you think would fit nicely into one of my playlists, let me know!

SYTYCD Season 7 tour