“HOLIDAY DANCE CLASS, $10, 2:00 p.m.” the Instagram post read. All I could think was how out of shape I was, especially dance-wise.
Dance has always been a passion of mine, whether I’m watching or partaking in it, but I’ve never been able to make the time to pursue it consistently. Recently, I’ve been in a funk where I want to dance so badly, but due to my schedule, funds, time, or a combination of the three, I’m rarely able to.
On that Sunday afternoon, however, I decided I had to make it happen.
I texted my friend Grace Ann and we both decided we would go. Whether we felt confident, or not, and we headed to the new Bloom Healing Arts Studio to try something new.
“Arts therapies are so healing for many. It is necessary to process the worries and struggles of daily life and release those emotions associated with them. Some people are okay with just talking them out, but highly creative people need other options, in my opinion” studio co-owner Mandy Applegate Bloom said. “I think that's the beauty and the curse of being an artist--many of us have a deeply dark side. It can produce some beautiful art, but we must be sure to take care of all aspects of ourselves. I believe that regarding our dark side as a necessary part of the self and not repressing it is important, but I also believe none of us should foster our own suffering for art's sake. We can most definitely heal the suffering part, and let our art evolve into something more mature and healthy. For those who haven't explored their inner creativity, it may be a way for them to bring out some deep emotions as well, then let them go in the form of art, dance, writing, or making music.”
Bloom Healing Arts Studio opened in August 2015, and has offered classes in yoga, dancing, hooping, and stretching, as well as services in life coaching, nutritional therapy, Migun thermal massage bed, energy work, chakra reading/balancing, Reiki, and meditation. With such positive energy flowing through the studio, I immediately felt welcome and at ease when I walked in.
“I once visited an all-encompassing, multi-practitioner wellness center in Greenville. It offered all types of healing modalities, from acupuncture to massage to colon hydrotherapy. There were two up there, actually. The one I felt drawn to also had a health food cafe and a new age bookstore,” Applegate Bloom said. “I moved back to Columbia and realized that was my dream- to open something dynamic in the way of healing in my home town, and have all of my friends and connections in the healing and spiritual realm join me!”
When we got into the studio this comforting vibe that Applegate Bloom and her studio exudes filled the room, but there was still one catch: we had no mirrors. I was expected to let go of my perfectionist disposition and just dance. Needless to say, I had no idea how this was going to go.
“We’re going to start off with a warm-up, but I wanna focus a lot more on safe, well-rounded stretching.”
Applegate Bloom led us in a warm-up composed of some familiar dance stretches and isolations with a bit of a yoga twist on them. It was different, and it challenged me, but I felt the benefits immediately.
Leading us across the floor, Applegate Bloom helped both myself and Grace Ann let go and have fun as we tried different old-school showgirl steps and high kicks. Both of us had taken classes before and both of us had performed around Columbia before, but this was out of our comfort zone… And it was fun.
“I believe we are already very well connected to the arts community as we have both been very active local performers (we’ve both been on hiatus since having the baby, but plan on getting back out there as soon as she starts sleeping through the night). I think the yoga and specifically the dance classes are going to be very popular within the theatre and dance community. Our studio space is available to rent for any groups wanting to have an intimate performance or rehearsal space and we have rotating art gallery for local artists to feature their works. We have also been in talks with an art teacher to offer a children’s art class in conjunction with a yoga class for parents so they do not have to worry about finding someone to watch their children while they do yoga,” co-owner Bobby Bloom said.
This unique, uninhibited space has so much to offer, and we were soaking it in for all it was worth. We eventually began working on a combination that was fun, easy, yet still challenging enough to be creatively and physically stimulating. The craziest part is, I eventually forgot that there weren’t mirrors. I was having so much fun creating and doing that I was able to let go and just be.
“We all live with discomfort on some level, or on many levels. Healing, to me, is taking a good look at ourselves and confronting the pain of the mind, body, and/or soul and making a shift. It's about a conscious decision to ALLOW yourself to feel good,” Applegate Bloom said. “Once you open the door to healing, you often find exactly what you need to fix or remove the discomfort, or rather, it finds you! Many times it consists of removing crutches and limiting beliefs, and is not always an easy process. But, the outcome is living a more authentic and healthy life that's free of discomfort on whatever level it has manifested. Most of the time the only thing standing in our way is our own self.”
By the end of the class, I was laughing and smiling and just felt great. Sure, my toes weren’t perfectly pointed all the time. Yes, I know I have soft knees all the time. Of course my extension isn’t the best.
But I was happy and in my creative element.
“It takes someone well-versed and fluent (or an artist, if you will) in finding these causes to pin-point many health issues people face. Mandy is such an artist, she listens to clients’ issues and seeks to find different ways of helping and guiding the client to heal themselves by changing their lifestyle and partnering those changes with the different therapies we offer at our studio,” Bloom said. “We are constantly looking to help our clients find the right therapies for their needs and if we don’t provide a service, we can refer them to someone who does.”
Check out the Bloom Healing Arts Studio (735 Meeting Street) for a myriad of healing and creative services. Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or Instagram, or go to http://bloomhealingartsstudio.com/ for more information!