I am so excited to share with you a profile interview with the amazing and beautiful Lauren Levine, creator, owner and instructor of Studio27, a local movement studio located in West Ashley, South Carolina. Lauren is a force to be reckoned with! After years of working in one way or another with movement, Lauren has one mission: to help her students use movement to empower themselves and their bodies.
Many years ago, I had the honor of meeting Lauren at a local barre studio and was instantly drawn to her specific classes. There was just something about her helpful demeanor and graceful encouragement that I found motivating. So, to watch Lauren take her passion for movement and create a space all her own has been exciting. Trust me; Lauren’s positive enthusiasm is quite infectious.
To learn more, keep reading to learn how this former Radio City Rockette makes movement available to everyone.
An Interview with Lauren Levine:
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’ve spent my whole life moving. We all do actually. I only chose to make it a profession. And through those adventures I found myself dancing across the United States with the Radio City Rockettes, mentored by and touring with the “Doctor of Jazz,” Frank Hatchett, and taking a stop on the way to explore my love for wine as a Certified Sommelier.
My entire focus for the past few years though has been to take these experiences and turn them into what is now Studio27. I want to share the joy of finding balance in a lifestyle filled with happy bodies, a spirit of empowerment, and a community of friends. And this is what Studio27 is all about!
When did you open Studio27 in West Ashley, and what led you to take on this opportunity?
I feel extremely lucky to have had great teachers over the years. And Studio27 really is a cumulation of several different practices and movements I have collected over the years. I have worked at different studios, but wanted to refine a different type of combination practice that focused solely on the movements that make you stronger from the inside out. It is all about you, your body, and your inner strength growing over time.
And thankfully on September 13th of 2016 I was able to open the brick and mortar studio in West Ashley that we’re in now. I feel grateful for this space and the people who helped me build my business up to this point every day!
For someone who has never taken a method/Pilates class before, explain what type of exercise or workout it is.
Have you ever had the feeling when everything clicks into place and something all makes sense? This is what Pilates did for me after decades of teaching at various studios. Whether it was dance companies, ballet, jazz or other fitness studios, there was always something missing. And the connective element for me was when I discovered Pilates.
This may be cliché, but the easiest way to explain the exercise is to do it! But in short, my sessions have a base in Pilates with layers of ballet, jazz, ballet barre, and various physical therapy techniques to create a class that gives back to your body.
After integrating certain elements of Pilates into my combination practice I began to see reduced-to-non-existent pain levels, much higher levels of functional strength, and great overall body results through an easeful, joy of movement exercise. This was a breath of fresh air! No longer did I experience myself, or for my clients, a “no pain, no gain” practice.
What is one misconception people often have about attending a method/Pilates class? How do you help change that?
The most common misconception is that they worry they won’t be able to do it. My entire mission is to help every person who comes in my door. Even the small group sessions are centered around personal growth and development. I watch each student, play with certain ideas of movement, and work with them to achieve a practice perfect for their pace and body’s needs.
So for the people who may be worried about not being able to complete a class I would encourage them to give it a go at Studio27! Many of my students walk taller, feel better, and are able to breathe out much easier after these classes. And my goal and favorite thing in the world is to watch people feel stronger inside and out through this practice.
Ok, since Pilates is usually thought of as a ‘woman’s workout’, do men ever attend your sessions? If so, what do they usually say or do after taking a class?
While my current clientele is mostly women, men do take Studio27 private sessions or small group classes. They are usually surprised how much they enjoyed their time and feel that it would be the best compliment to lifting, sports, golf, etc. I have had male clients gain a deeper understanding of movement and text me pictures of winning trophies, holes in one, etc. that they attribute to finding deeper connections to their bodies. They feel empowered and know that Pilates movement and Studio27 Method movement give them strength, flexibility and knowledge, which is power.
What should someone wear for one of your classes?
I recommend wearing slightly more fitted, but comfortable workout clothes. I prefer going barefoot, but if you find your feet may slip, several students love the “grippy” socks!
How often do you recommend someone take these classes? Is there a benefit for doing it more often?
Just like anything in life, the more you do something, the more benefit you see. I have students who come several times a week all the way to once a week or when they find the time to drop in. I do have packages as well which help you get into Studio27 more often if you like to do so!
Our bodies are capable of great things, but we, at times, feel not as strong or balanced. I believe we have an option to bring ourselves, and our bodies included, back to optimal health. And this does take consistency. So what that means to you at the end of the day may mean a few times a week or a few times a month. It really does depend on your body and your time.
Are there any other workouts or exercises you recommend in addition to method/Pilates?
I am a big fan of the benefits of swimming and plain old walking! I get asked all the time if it is good for us to run, jump, etc. Pilates and Studio27 Method in particular is a practice created to make all other activities possible through strengthening you from the inside out!
There is no need to totally give up something you love. But you may need to do a little more, less, or a different type of strengthening/movement along the way to supplement. After all, the goal of my studio is to make doing what you love accessible.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received from one of your classes or clients?
You know, all of the feedback is the best feedback for me. I feel like the luckiest human being on the planet. The reason being is how I get to hear what my clients think, how they feel, and the fantastic progress they make after committing themselves to this type of movement.
I am so humbled by the healing power of movement and the strength it creates in the ladies and men I work with. I kid you not, I receive beautiful texts, emails, and phone calls almost daily and that is why I can’t single out the “best” feedback. My clients really are my guiding light.
Studio27 isn’t only a place to find strength in movement, it is a true community of people passionate about empowering themselves and each other. And when you are surrounded by people like that, all feedback is fantastic!
You’ve had a lot of previous experience in dance – tell us what it was like being a part of the Radio City Rockettes.
I never dreamt I would be a Radio City Rockette. It has been such an honor to be part of a great American tradition and such an amazing group!
When I received my call from Radio City, I had actually broken my foot and left another dance contract to heal. I had no apartment, I was supposed to be on a ship, so instead I was staying with my parents. When my mom called me to the phone, I threw my crutches to the side and jumped on one leg up the basement stairs to answer. Ha!
Thankfully I healed in 6 weeks, which was the exact date they needed me to start, and off I went! There are no words to express every experience I was lucky enough to have dancing as a Rockette. Standing on the stages in costume, waiting quietly for the curtain to rise is humbling and a feeling I can’t quite explain. The fittings, friendships, dedication, and passion for precision. I loved every second of it!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
I remember my first day, a year and a half ago, when I decided to listen to myself and step away from all outside studios. I rented space at DanceFX to teach my own mix of Pilates, yoga, and dance, and I just really hoped at least a couple people would show up.
I swept, I paced, and I prayed … every day. I was so shocked that they did! I kept reading, learning, trying, and knew if I failed, I was going down swinging! That first day (and months) were so much harder and stressful than standing in front of thousands of people performing on great stages. It felt so personal.
I’m not sure of my exact proudest moment, but know those moments and days strung together have proved to be the most amazing (and scariest). I do have to say for all the people who believed in me then and continue to do so, thank you!
What are your future plans or goals for Studio 27?
My plans never end for Studio27! I have so many layers of the practice to work on and expand. Studio27 has been open 6 months and I am about to bring in my first Studio27 instructor which is very exciting. I am also in the works to develop a new Yoga/Studio27 style program which will be available over the next few months.
And to continue the excitement, we are conducting our very first retreat in partnership with the local company Cellar Experience in May!
Overall, my goal is to open others’ eyes to a better way of moving. Breathing life into a business like this has been so wonderful so far, I can’t wait to see where it takes us next!
Ok, now for some personal questions:
How do you start your day?
I drink a glass of lemon water, take probiotics, and make “to go” tea with honey. My amazing husband also fixes us a “Breakfast Blast” smoothie (Gluten-free oatmeal, half a banana, plant based proteins, orange juice, ice, flax seed, chia, green superfoods mix and blueberries). After that I call my Mom and make my way to Studio27!
How to you keep a healthy work/life balance?
The first six months of having a storefront open is definitely a difficult time to maintain consistent work/life balance. I truly live, dream, and breathe Studio27. I am lucky in that I find it an adventure! I am also very lucky my husband is the BEST advisor, having owned his own business for a decade or more.
We schedule our together time to make sure it happens. I am also a bit of a dreamer and introvert, so I make sure I have time away to recharge. My family and friends are amazing! They know I just opened a business, and are so supportive, even if I don’t have as much time to spend with them right now. At least they know where to find me!
What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
Observing and being a part of the excitement for healthy movement from the students who walk in my door! Watching them leave body pain behind and find a deeper sense of alignment and freedom and confidence of movement. I love hearing what movements they do on their own that help them. I love hearing how they have incorporated this movement as a new way of life. We really do communicate with each other a lot at Studio27. It is all about the adventure for myself and my clients.
Your favorite quote?
I have so many favorites. On the back of my Studio27 card, you will find: “There is no bad movement, only movement done badly.” by Eve Gentry. So I’ll stick with that one for now! I really do live by it in practice and in life.“There is no bad movement, only movement done badly.” by Eve Gentry @studio27 Click To Tweet
What’s the one food or meal you just can’t live without?
I don’t really have a food or meal I can’t live without, but as a Certified Sommelier I am a sucker for gorgeous wine and wine pairings.
Any advice you’d like to share for someone who wants to follow their passion?
PLEASE, DO IT!!! If you die tomorrow, what would your regrets be? Take your own personal doubts and questions, then answer them!
Willing to share your guilty pleasure?
Running heavy amounts of essential oils, baths with Epsom Salts and watching HGTV marathons. Add cheese and wine into that equation as well!
I oftentimes find myself staring at Studio27 and dreaming of the next adventure I can provide for the students. There are endless possibilities with Studio27 and I love it!
As you can tell, Lauren’s talent and passion comes through in many of her answers. And her desire to help others experience progressive improvement in what their bodies can do is truly authentic. In fact, this is one of the many reasons I am drawn to Lauren as a teacher.
Ready to feel empowered through movement? Check out the Studio27 schedule here, and sign up for some classes. Who knows? You may be ecstatic to show off some Rockette-style legs by summer!
Keep moving everyone!
pics provided by Studio27