Infinite Variation: A 5Rhythms Exploration of Gender

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The Bissu of Indonesia have five genders: makkunrai (“female women”), oroani (“male men”), calalai (“female men”), calabai (“male women”) and bissu (“transgender priests”).

Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian have no gendered pronouns–no distinction between she and he–just a single pronoun for all people.

500 species of fish can change sex in adulthood through the activation of a set of genetic switches. Humans have the same ancient genetic switches–with a genetic damper that continually prevents them from activating. 

From the moment we are born–even before–perceived gender shapes our embodied reality. We get cuddled or rough housed with in different ways if we are called girl or boy. We are praised for being beautiful or strong, graceful or brave. When we veer from the expectations for our perceived gender, we are shamed–or worse–as tomboy or sissy. Our embodied self is shaped, limited, pruned, constrained into a culturally acceptable expression of our expected gender.

Some of us manage to fit safely enough within the boundaries of the gender we have been assigned–and some of us spill out over the edges. All of us deserve more.

The Bissu, Finns, fish, and 5Rhythms all teach that we are more than we have been pruned to be. Western culture teaches us that flowing is the domain of women and staccato the realm of men. But 5Rhythms teaches us that both are the birthright of all people.

All of us have the right to inhabit the full range of our humanity. Both nurturing, inward, earthy flowing and percussive, active, outward staccato–and the creative chaos that erupts when these two seeming opposites meet, breaking out of the absolutes of each and creating space for our lyrical shapeshifter to emerge. The self for whom all manifestations are possible. Expanding into the stillness of infinite interconnection.

In this workshop, we will investigate the ways our gender expression has shaped our embodied selves. And we will travel the map of the 5Rhythms to explore possibilities of expansion, into the infinite variation that each of us is.

My classes are open to and affirming of people of all genders, gender expressions, sexualities, races, ethnicities, ages, sizes, religions, and abilities.

We have a limited number of scholarship registrations available. Please contact me if you are interested in applying for a scholarship or sponsoring one. 

Note that this workshop is three full days and space is limited to 18 dancers. 

Hourly Schedule


3:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Please arrive by 2:40 to check in


12:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Please arrive by 11:45 and bring a dish to share


1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Please arrive by 12:45 and bring a dish to share

Book Event

Infinite Variation Early Bird

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Available Tickets: Unlimited
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Aug 07 2020 - Aug 09 2020

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Aug 07 2020 - Aug 09 2020


$225 Early Bird through July 10 | $265 Full Price


Sacramento, California
Location TBA
Melanie Cooley, 5Rhythms Teacher


Melanie Cooley, 5Rhythms Teacher


Majica Alba
Majica Alba
(916) 835-9034

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