5Rhythms® with Christopher Boylan


Roots and Wings

I’m inviting you to dance, you may want to know a little about me.

One of my earliest memories is dancing with my brother Mark. The tune was “Scotland the Brave” playing from a thick dusty 78 rpm shellac disc. My Dad’s records in their yellowed sleeves fascinated me. “Scotland the Brave” was my favourite. It had beat, it had passion and it had rhythm. It was equally good for dancing and pretend sword-fighting. Something must have been going on. Mark and I both now teach Five Rhythms. I didn’t fulfil my early childhood desire to become Scottish but I never stopped dancing.

I tried out many more identities. Being myself wasn’t enough. I always had to be a something. A revolutionary, a streetfighter, a pacifist, a hippie. I was all over the place! The one consistent thread was that, wherever I was, whoever I was with, I would find any excuse to dance. My dancing feet carried me to the quarries and woods and traveller’s sites of the free party scene. I danced all weekend, most weekends. I danced myself awake.

It wasn’t a gentle awakening. The identities I had moved through were a way of escaping truths that I wasn’t ready to acknowledge. My world was turned inside out, there was nothing I could do but dance. Fifteen years ago I stepped into my first 5 Rhythms class and knew I was home. It was so simple! All the time I had hungered for nothing other than to be myself. To escape the zoo of characters inside my head. To let go of the hurts of the past. To be here, now, in this moment. To dance.

My dance is now a teachers’ dance. It’s a privilege to “teach” but it doesn’t really make me any different from anyone else on the dancefloor. The real teacher in Five Rhythms is you, the dancer. All of us who are curious enough to explore what happens when we move are developing the practice. For me this is work of gratitude; a way of thanking all those who have brought me to this place, the wise ones, the screwballs, the party-monsters, the ones who have harmed me, the ones who have loved me. All of my teachers. This is work of love. I love to dance. I love to share what I love. Come by, let’s dance!


I completed my teacher training with Gabrielle Roth and faculty in October 2008. The training followed 8 years of intensive study of the 5 Rhythms maps, particularly with Alex Mackay, later with Ya’ Acov and Susannah Darling-Khan, Gabrielle and her son, Jonathan Horan. I am a member of the 5 Rhythms Teachers Association, this means that time dancing with me counts as waves prerequisites for 5 Rhythms teacher training.

I am an engineer by trade. I have worked in machine shops for most of my adult life.  I still work as a self-employed machinist. I love making things - it keeps me grounded. My machining background helps bring a particularly practical slant to my teaching. I’m fascinated by the life-tools we can each discover in the simplicity of movement.

I’m deeply indebted to my human teachers. I am equally indebted to my teachers in the non-human world. I can watch a heron for hours, learning more about the relationship between the rhythms of staccato and stillness. I take inspiration from the playful lyrical fluidity of otters. Teachers are all around when we open our eyes!

I have a particular interest in offering 5 Rhythms for people and groups who might never otherwise get a chance to dance.  I welcome invitations to teach under-served groups. Particularly young people, survivors of sexual child abuse and adult rape, those with physical limitations and “metal health” difficulties. I hope that in the future this will become the main area of my movement work. At the moment, I don’t charge for work in these areas, so, if you know of a group that might enjoy a dance, please get in touch.

I am happy to travel to offer classes and workshops in new areas if there is enough interest.


Why I dance . . .

Background and interests . . .

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