An interview with 5 rhythms facilitator and founder of the Inner Rhythms dance camp, Angela Kapudija.
By Irena Bee
Imagine you’re dressed in comfortable, loose clothing. You’re in a spacious hall with wood floors and high ceilings. Around you are others like you, dancing barefoot, moving and responding to a DJ/facilitator who takes you on an emotional sound journey through five distinct rhythms – flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. These tunes blend seamlessly into a single, powerful 45-minute musical wave that you ride emotionally and physically.
The wave is for you alone; or to share with fellow dancers in groups of two, four or more. Without words you come together and drift apart, thanking each dancer with eye contact, a wave or a little bow. The DJ/facilitator sets an intention for the dance, a theme for you to consider or ignore. Each wave set is at times joyful, playful or it can be soulful or tribal, anything goes to get you to both surrender and connect. The dancefloor is yours to experience a moving meditation in a safe and supportive space.
If that sounds like something you’d like to try then Inner Rhythms dance camp weekend in the Sunshine Coast later this month may be the perfect way to immerse yourself into this growing form of music and self-expression.
Inner Rhythms 2 is happening from Friday 23 – Sunday 25 March at Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast.
Use promocode FUN to get 10% off your ticket.
What is a dance camp?
You may have noticed 5 Rhythms or other mindful movement classes popping up near you (open floor, body contact, biodanza, laughter yoga etc). A dance camp lets you deep dive and try these different types of meditative movement modalities and self-exploration in retreat form.
Think wellness retreat meets dance festival. Sessions are led by teacher / DJs trained in creating a safe ‘container’ for the session. The idea is that you tap into your body and experience freedom, self-expression and mediation through movement. You’ll see people laugh more often then cry but it’s fine to also sit and stretch or just close your eyes in stillness. Your participation is your choice.
How did you come up with the idea of Inner Rhythms?
Angela: “The seed was planted when I was in Hawaii in 2014. I was inspired by One Dance Tribe and I’m modelling Inner Rhythms on that. You bring a whole bunch of facilitators together and share different styles of dance.
“I really wanted to bring this to Australia. I just wanted to share this, and I’ve always loved collaborating. I want to bring together a whole different bunch of modalities and offer this here.
“Going on camp rather than to a class means you have time to just immerse yourself. To dive into a few days of just dancing and connecting and to have the music and all that. You get to try different facilitators and different modalities as well.”
Do you need any training as a dancer to come to the event?
Angela: “Absolutely not. This is something anyone of any age can do. Of course, your dance and your connection to yourself and others changes but there is nothing you need to know to be part of it.”
How did you come to be a 5 Rhythms facilitator?
Angela: “This was never the plan. I trained as a microbiologist. I’ve come from this professional, kind of scientific modality into creative music and movement and meditation.
“In 2014 I went to my first 5 Rhythms class. I had no idea what to expect and only a vague idea of why I was going except that I loved to dance but I was too old to go out at night in the dark, in heels and drunk.
“My challenge in life has always been to find that ecstatic sense of being alive and blissful without any substances. Just breathing and having an awesome time moving my body and feeling these emotions.
“Simply the idea of meditation can cast a shadow over the fidgety few who can’t imagine sitting still, in silence and focusing on breath.
“I was one of those who yearned for the benefits that meditation promised but could never manage more than a moment of practice before giving up in boredom, disgust and self-judgment.
“That first night I found a doorway into a community I didn’t know existed and I wanted to share that with others and to create a community.”
Angela moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast where she runs weekly classes. She ran the first Inner Rhythms in October 2018.
“To me the dance floor is an analogy for our life. It’s a playground where we’re learning so much about ourselves and so much about how to relate to other people and how to tap into that, you know, sustainable sense of joy.
“The dance should be a thing that grows, not the thing that you go to because you’ve got a hole to fill.
“I don’t like to be called a ‘teacher’. In this practice no one’s telling you what to do or how to do it or how you should move. I don’t ‘teach’. I think our role as facilitators is to hold the space, create a conscious dance circle.
“My philosophy is to facilitate a process for your journey and give you the music to act as a guide. I’ll provide some words of guidance or inspiration but it’s your journey, it’s your practice.
“We are each our own teacher on how to live life in this world. That’s how we learn best; when we become both our own teacher and student of life.
How important is the music in all this?
“Music is so important! I’m very picky about choosing my set.
“I want something that’s going to move the class, to really tap into that emotion. For each wave I create a beautiful story that arises out of nothingness into something.
“The different rhythms have a real impact on the group. I see it when there’s a fun, funky song – people then just want to connect and I can see it in their step. When I play something more soulful or more classical then it takes the dancer into their own world, into something within themselves that they might need to investigate. Perhaps where they’re stuck. So, it can be plain fun or it can be like a therapy.”
How do you find your music?
All the facilitators are either musicians or trained to DJ. Personally, I use Spotify a lot. I put in words and phrases to get the right tune or mix. Sometimes I’ll go searching by artist, other times I look for the type of music I need. I don’t tend to use a lot of music that has got words. I find the words take people out of the dance and they become too heady, you know, the whole point of the dance.
“It’s like Gabrielle Roth (the creator of 5 Rhythms) said that we all just need to drop into the body. If we’re feeling stuck in our heads then the music and the rhythm grounds us into our bodies. So, you’re in a place where you can’t criticize yourself.
“You need to get out of your mind. Get out of thinking how you’re going to dance or how you’ll look. Get out of the comparisons which we do in life. Somehow music allows us to drop in and out of our head. Out of that monkey mind, out of that chatter so that we can hopefully encounter our true self.
“The music does that. It reminds us to breathe and to be in the moment. That’s the beauty of the music and it’s just a beautiful thing about dance; conscious dance. You don’t have to talk to anybody or relate on a verbal level. We’re all just kind of there.
“We’re there to find our autonomy and individuality and within that we also find our place in the world and our place in relationship.
“There is so much to learn and so much to tap into of which music is such an important factor in where the journey will take us. Whether it will make people cry or laugh or have fun, or even whether it will make people grieve.”
Talk about the program and the facilitators?
We’ve teachers coming from all over Australia including Alice Springs, Melbourne and Adelaide. I’ve had facilitators recommended to me and that’s how I know I’m working with the best. Australia’s free dance teachers are known as world’s best.
“It’s an experience for me too because I’ll be dancing with some of them for the first time.
“The first Inner Rhythms had day passes but this time I want everyone to immerse themselves and experience the event for the weekend. It will be an intimate group like One Dance Tribe. We were all there for the whole time together. The program has been put together to start high, go deep and end high again so that people have a journey alone and together.
“Here is a beautiful opportunity to dive deeper into the practice.”
“There will be morning yoga and beach yoga and beach walks. The venue is right across from the beach, incredibly beautiful. And currently of year the turtles are there and of course the weather!
“All food and drinks are included in the price but I people easily walked to the cafes to get ‘real’ coffee. It’s not about depriving yourself, it’s about indulging your senses and building a supportive group for the weekend.”
Will there be any live music?
“Lulu & Mishka are another level. They are incredible musicians and they tour the world chanting and singing with their heartfelt music.
Are you going to keep going with Inner Rhythms?
“I hope so but every year will be different. I really value all these modalities and I just wanted to bring them together. Next year there will be a different set of modalities and a different set of teachers with our favourites as well.
“I have a vision of offering this experience in Australia and I’ve had people come from New Zealand, Europe and all over Australia this time and last, so I’m hoping to grow this event each time and keep it international and local.”
About Inner Rhythms Dance Camp
A weekend Immersion into Conscious Dance, Movement, Meditation and Yoga.
Bringing together 10 facilitators from around Australia to 1 amazing location on the Sunshine Coats Queensland.
Offering you a weekend exploration into Open Floor, 5Rhythms, Contact Improvisation, Dancing Freedom, 5 Elements Activation, Aqua Dance, as well as beach Yoga, Art Therapy, Laughter Yoga, Labyrinth Walks and an evening Concert with special guests Lulu & Mischka.
Trybooking – https://www.trybooking.com/ZMGA