Christina Demmler writes…
15 years ago at this time of the year I emerged freshly out of the 5Rhythms teacher training in California. With Gabrielle Roth’s blessing , a small rattle as a sign of accomplishment and a lot of enthusiasm I ventured out into the world.
At that stage in my life I was , what a friend called a “cosmic agent”, travelling and visiting interesting places and communities. In August 1994 I came back to visit New Zealand, where I had been twice before. With the help of friends I started my first classes in Jennifer de Lions Studio in Westmoreland St. East, Grey Lynn. Jocey Fong was living there at the time and supported my early endeavours. I offered 3 classes per week, you can tell I was really keen to get the 5Rhythms known in New Zealand. This was a virgin territory, nobody knew about 5Rhythm Dance and only once or twice I met someone who had heard about Gabrielle Roth or read her first book “Maps to Ecstasy”.
After this visit I was very clear that I wanted to live in New Zealand and returned to Germany, my home country to pack my stuff. But always expect the unexpected….I arrived back in New Zealand in July 1995 seven month pregnant and with my new partner Michael in tow….we stayed up near Waiwera on a farm with a friend and I started teaching classes, driving into Auckland in rainy nights to dance with 4 or 5 people in Grey Lynn. ( No motorway in these days! )
My son was born September and we had moved to Titirangi. Everything was new and not always easy….new country, new relationship, new baby….in October 95 I started classes again, really because it was a life savour for me at the time.
Later when I studied Expressive Therapies I recalled my experience of early motherhood and designed a course using 5 Rhythms as a tool for integrating the huge change most women experience in their life with the birth of the first child ( or second….).
But the the dance also started taking me places and enabled me to meet communities here in New Zealand in a very different way. For several years I visited a strong community on Great Barrier Island, where women like Anne Kernoghan and Jude Gilbert kept dancing every full moon and bringing a new energy to social events that were otherwise often dominated by alcohol and drugs.
Another place I visited in those early years was Rawene in the Hokianga. This weekend happened thanks to Rosemary Beever and out of it grew a connection with Andrea who organised several events in the area of Whangarei. There were a number of workshops in Wellington thanks to a lovely Tara….
In the mean time I was offering classes in Auckland in the Ponsonby Community Centre. Later I moved to the first little studio of Black Grace in Kingsland and then we shifted into their big black box dance space just around the corner. During the time in Kingsland the dancing community grew in size and people seemed to enjoy the social gatherings afterwards.
Unfortunately Black Grace had to move out of their Studio and the new one off K ‘ Road didn’t really work very well. During this time I was also Studying Expressive Therapies and going through a lot of shifts and changes. Some classes were offered at the Grey Lynn Community Centre for a while.
Eventually I discovered the little Mac Andrews hall out in Titirangi and it become the rusty home of 5 Rhythms Dance for several years. There was always a great vibe in this little old hall, but it took huge effort to clean it, heat it and set it up for the night.
The Blockhouse Bay Boat Club had undergone extensive renovation and in 2006/07 I started offering 5Rhythms Dance in this beautiful space….and I still do.
It became the home of the Closed Group, a monthly in depth investigation of 5Rhythms Dance with a committed group over a year. And it holds us all beautifully on Friday nights, through ebb and tide…..
In 2001 I offered the first Summer Retreat at Prana and it has been a yearly event except in 2004 were I was very pregnant with my lovely daughter Zoe.
And we also have been doing a regular Winter Retreat at Mana over the last 5 or six years, often in collaboration with wonderful Yoga teachers like Neal Ghoshal or Louise Chasteau.
So Writing all of this down I realize it has been a journey so far, and that doesn’t include all the adventures in Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland , Fiji….I guess that will be another story!