What is SOL Dance Experience?
Finding the words to describe SOL Dance Experience is no easy task.
The SOL Dance Experience website simply states: “SOL Dance Experience is a LIGHTS OUT, free-form dance session for women of all fitness levels.”
And you could go to SOL Dance Experience to get in your exercise for the day. Dancing your heart out for a whole hour will certainly help you work up a sweat and burn off some calories. But to call SOL a fitness class just doesn’t seem sufficient.
You could go to SOL Dance Experience simply because you love to dance, but this isn’t the time to work on your technique or to show off your skills. You truly are in complete darkness, save the glow-in-the-dark tabs (or fireflies as the session leaders call them) that help you stay in your own area and keep you from bumping into other dancers.
The SOL mantra is “Find your light in the dark.”
Last night I went to SOL Dance Experience to celebrate my 35th birthday with a dozen members of See Jane Write. Using SOL Dance Experience as a birthday party isn’t necessarily a thing, but I certainly think it will become one after last night’s session.
Many of the members who came out were trying SOL for the first time.
“I’m so nervous,” one woman confessed.
“Is this going to be scary?” another asked, filled with trepidation.
But as soon as the lights went out and the music filled that air I swear I could feel everybody’s reservations melting away. Or more accurately I could hear the reservations melting away as I heard the ladies in the room shout “Whoo!” and “Hey!” and “Alright now!” when a song they loved came pumping through the speakers.
SOL Dance Experience creator Laura Gaines was determined to make this a special night for me and asked me to send her a list of my favorite songs. I got to dance to Janelle Monae’s “Yoga,” Joy Williams’ “Woman,” Missy Elliot’s “WTF (Where They From),” The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Tamar Braxton’s “She Did That,” Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” and many other favorites.
Of course, many Beyonce songs were in the mix including “***Flawless” and “Grown Woman.”
After a series of high energy, up-tempo songs, the more mellow “Hotline Bling” came on giving us a chance to catch our breath. One woman called out, “Are we all dancing like Drake right now?” We all laughed and said “Yep!”
When 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” came on all my girls sang to the top of their lungs, “Go shawty! It’s your birthday!” and I couldn’t have been happier in that moment.
We ended the night with Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” and lit up pink glow sticks for that final song, that final song that in that moment became our anthem (if it wasn’t already) and became our truth. At that moment I felt every woman in that room was certain she could conquer any obstacle before her and realize every dream in her heart.
And in case I didn’t already feel like a queen, for the final song Laura handed me a crown, a crown that originally read “Birthday Princess” but Laura crossed out the word “Princess” and replaced it with Goddess. Perfect.
After the session several women — including the ones who were at first wary of this whole dancing in the dark thing — exclaimed, “I want to do this for my birthday, too!”
And that’s when I realized that SOL Dance Experience is not just a unique fitness class and it’s not even simply a free-form dance session.
SOL Dance Experience is a celebration. All those women may have come to SOL that night to celebrate my birthday but in the dark they found the freedom to celebrate themselves.
If you’re wondering also if SOL Dance Experience is scary, let me assure you it is not. I am not a fan of complete darkness. I even sleep with my blinds cracked to let in the glow from the street lights. But at SOL Dance Experience I feel safe and secure. The darkness isn’t scary at all, but is unbelievably comforting instead. I can feel the darkness and the music wrapping itself around me, shielding me from judgment and self-doubt.
For me SOL Dance Experience is a spiritual practice. It is moving meditation.
But most of all it is a celebration of oneself.
At SOL Dance Experience you can celebrate and honor your body for what it can do without the distraction of worrying about what it looks like.
You can dance at your own pace and move only in the ways that feel right for your body’s ability.
You can find your light (and yourself) in the dark.
Learn more about SOL Dance Experience at soldancex.com.