By the time this entry posts, I’ll be on my way to New York City in an ambitious attempt to attend Gabrielle Roth’s official memorial. As you may remember, I was incredibly fortunate to have attended what was supposed to be the 5Rhythms founder’s final workshop this past fall. She never made it to the event; rather, we danced as she died, and her bold son Jonathan and her brave husband Robert took command of the 4-day celebration of life, death, and the movement-inspired mysteries in between.
When we stepped into the studio that Thursday night in October, no one had any idea what we were walking into. Who was teaching? Was Gabrielle still alive? Would we dance? Would we mourn?
Tonight feels very similar in that whatever is to take place behind the Prince George Ballroom doors is as shrouded in mystery as the 5Rhythms practice itself. We are told that it is a memorial and “we will dance.”
So many questions remain, though! Will someone be leading the dancing, or are we to erupt in spontaneous movement when the urge arises? Will this be a walk-through memorial, with photos and mementos, albums, and videos? Will people speak? Is this more of an “open house” memorial: As people leave, more people enter?
Admittance is not guaranteed, and “we do have a finite number of people who can be in attendance at any given time,” read an email I received from the Moving Center staff. “Bearing this in mind,” it continued, “we know you will do what your heart tells you to do.”
My heart is most likely on the New Jersey Turnpike now, beating anxiously. And if I don’t dance tonight, I’ll dance tomorrow. Or, even if my fellow tribe members and I don’t make it into that ballroom, maybe I’ll still dance tonight, but in the street or a subway station or in a parking lot somewhere in Manhattan.
Because, “we’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” (Japanese proverb)
I love when I dance so furiously that my underwear becomes saturated—don’t know whether I peed myself.
Droplets of sweat roll down between my breasts down the fine line of hair to my navel,
Dripping drip down on the floor
Mixing with the tears that have fallen there earlier.
I love the smell of my sweat when I am in ecstasy,
Dampness under my armpits that repels some and makes others dive right in.
(Stream-of-consciousness writing from the aforementioned October workshop, when 5Rhythms instructor Lori Saltzman asked us to descriptively reflect on what we love. “Be specific,” she had instructed. “Write about the smells, sensations, and sounds that come along with this love.”)