I’m fascinated by the subject of creativity – how it comes about and how we can nurture it. To delve into this topic further I ask some very talented artists about their creativity – where it stems from and how they use it in their work.

I hope that by hearing about creativity from these really creative individuals, we will be inspired to rediscover our own creative spark, no matter how deeply hidden, to utilize it in our stagecraft or any other art form for that matter.

In the second episode of the blog series, I spent a relaxing time with Vicky Rainbow of SoulShine Wellbeing Space in her tranquil, artistic place in Abingdon. The multi-talented Vicky offers classes, workshops and retreats in Nia Movement, dance, yoga, meditation, arts/crafts and holistic therapies.

I asked Vicky about her aims for SoulShine and how she came to create the wonderful space that brings together dance creativity with artistic creativity.

“I had a vision that I wanted to create somewhere like this when I lived in Spain about 10 years ago, but I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the means. Then a few years ago my Dad passed away, leaving me some money and it felt like the right time. I was itching to do something that I’d dreamed of for years. I started looking for a little studio in the garden but then a friend helped me find this place – it had such potential and made perfect sense!

“There was room for an art space and a dance space and extra room for a therapy room, it felt secluded, had ample space for parking and was well located near Abingdon and Oxford. I thought that here was a place where I could utilize all my skills and talents – it offered me the whole package.”

The SoulShine space is quite unique, it’s part of Vicky’s home but also quite separate, I asked if this was a conscious decision?

“Yes. Sometimes I rent out the space when I’m not here and there are therapy sessions happening throughout the day so I needed that divide.

“I knocked down walls and changed things when I first moved in. I realized my original plan didn’t quite work so I swapped the dance and wellbeing space around and utilized the outside space more effectively: we spend as much time as possible outside during retreat days and Nia sessions.”

I asked Vicky to tell me more about Nia and retreat days.

“Nia has been around for 35 years. It’s a dance fitness and wellbeing practice that combines simple steps with 52 moves blended into routines. It’s a mix of steps and free dance, using the energies of dance, martial arts and healing arts like yoga. Usually it’s an hour long routine travelling through 7 cycles. It’s like a holistic version of Zumba, but we do it barefoot. It’s more gentle, non-impact on the body and free-flowing.

“Depending on the energy and needs of the group, a retreat day will include a Nia class then a mindfulness meditation movement session. Then we have a vegan gluten-free lunch and move to the art space for a lovely craft activity in the afternoon, making affirmation tiles or something else. This will be followed by a bit more meditation movement and maybe I’ll sing some songs.

“My ideas for retreat days are constantly evolving. I’m doing a 2 day retreat with a coach and essential oils expert in September.”

See a video of Nia dance on Vicky’s Instagram page here.

I was interested to find out more about group dynamics and the pressure that, as group leaders, we feel to make everybody happy and comfortable.

“It can be challenging but that’s teaching! I have to sense the overall need, not always the individual need, but even in small groups I try to give everyone a little of what they want. I try to remember that I’ve been to events and sometimes I don’t necessarily enjoy every element but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the day as a whole.”

Finally, I asked Vicky about how the wonderful space she created inspires her.

“I often think ‘wow’ when I look at what I have here. I just feel so grateful that I’ve got a space I can share with people and I want to find the best way I can to help people and that fulfils me. I’m on a journey of exploring how to use my skills and discover what people really want.”

Well I know that people love coming here because I’ve been a few times and I love it! It’s a special place. You can find out more about Vicky Rainbow and the fabulous work she does at SoulShine at https://www.soulshine.org.uk/.

If you’d like to discover your inner creative spark as part of a fun, pressure-free singing and acting group in Oxford, take a look at www.openstagearts.co.uk