Laura Interval Gaines – Creator
As a former professional fashion model turned actress, I spent many years struggling with the idea that I wasn’t (fill-in-the-blank) enough. Thin, talented, pretty, smart … you name it, I was constantly stressed about it. And then, on the dawn of what some would call middle-age, gasp, I realized that my life was not at all what I wanted. So, I set out to make changes, big changes, leave-everything-that-I-had-in-my-life-behind, changes.
During these extremely tough times, in my own constant struggle for physical and mental balance, I began gathering and leading artist groups to help others (and myself) deal with these issues in a supportive environment. As a student of psychology and journalism, it became obvious to me that a closed, shut-down body will always produce a closed, shut-down mind, so I began to create exercises to open both.
These exercises led me back to doing something I had done often when I was younger, something that always gave me strength and clarity. Dancing. Not in a class, not at a club, but all by myself. In the dark. I used to do this for hours at a time, locking myself in my bedroom with my favorite tunes. It was an escape, a release, a way to check-in with myself and let go of whatever emotions I had trapped inside. I’d simply forgotten the practice as I got older, busier, and less self aware.
When I encourage women in my groups to break into free-form dance, there’s always a barrier of self-consciousness and a resistance or inability to do it at home. My mission became clear: how can I get a group of women to dance with complete abandon, in a room together, for enough time to make it good exercise for both the body and the mind?
SOL was born.
I’m finally living the life I want. I found a partner who shares my passion for creating life one day at a time. We spend our time inventing playful concepts. (Our company, Opi and Me, LLC has licensed products to toy companies all over the world.) Through my artist’s and women’s group work, I’ve developed steps to help in creating an ideal life, the first of which are to be taken in the dark with full abandon. Join me in this dance through the darkness. Let’s DO this!
MEET OUR SOL SISTERS
Shannon Skipper – Session Host
Lauren Rae Brown – Session Host
Lauren loves the thrill of movement and dance without the pressures of performing for others to see. Her creative and personal life has been kicked into high gear since attending her first SOL session in mid-May 2015. She is ecstatic to get the opportunity to hone her skills at listening deeply to and trusting her inner voice and body. By making SOL Dance a regular practice, she feels she’s in closer touch to her inner sense of what is most right for her – what she really wants in and out of life – and is a more confident woman for it. She is honored to be able to offer SOL Mates the safe space, encouragement and support to show up and move freely. She shows up to SOL ready jump, clap, dance and laugh with a big smile on her face. Lauren is a registered yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance, a licensed massage therapist specializing in lymphatic massage and Thai yoga massage and co-founder of Embody Practice Center. She leads weekly gentle hatha yoga classes & SOL Dance sessions as well as monthly restorative yoga workshops at Embody Practice Center in Birmingham. Read about her SOL Experience here.