It was Molly that reached out initially. One half of the super friendly and dynamic Unapologetic duo, Molly McGibbon, approached CONKER to ask whether we would be interested in participating in one of their special classes which Molly described as ‘life coaching through movement’, commenting that ‘there is life coaching, therapy and counselling out there, and obviously loads of dance classes, but the two are never combined’. Suffice to say that I was intrigued as to what to expect when I arrived at the Unapologetic class!
Unapologetic was set up by partners Kimberley Collins and Molly McGibbon, both having experienced their fair share of life coaching and therapy as well as the sometimes-toxic attitudes within the dance communities. Molly even recalls a time when she was told that she ‘would never work’, due to her ‘image’; her shaved head, her desire to have tattoos, even her sexual orientation. The pair had enough, and decided it was time for something new, and so the Unapologetic programme was born, a programme created to ‘help others become free [from the need to conform], [to be able to] let go of fear and live this life unapologetically!’
The unique programme is supportive of every person, from any and every walk of life. The classes serve people of all abilities, of all genders and of all ages, allowing for fully supported and fully freeing self-expression. Each programme is four weeks long, three hours a week, and each week there is a new routine, style and goal.
When I arrived at the Victoria Gymbox to start the class, I must admit I was a little nervous. I hadn’t taken a dance class since I was around thirteen, and I can’t say that I was ever very good! Whilst I had been given a run down on what to expect on the evening, I was still unsure of what might take place over the next three hours.
I arrived at the same time as a few others who had chosen to take the class. Each of them had come for different reasons. Some said that they were recovering from an injury and were looking for a welcoming route back into the dance industry; another had been going through some difficult family problems and was looking for a community and a constructive means to help distract themselves … and make new friends along the way!
Admittedly, I was a little awkward at the beginning, none of us knew each other, some of our group were wearing proper dance gear, others were just wearing baggy tops and casual trousers. However, Molly and Kimberly certainly helped ease that… even though it did involve throwing us in the deep end emotionally (a top secret ‘deep end’ which you can learn more about by going along to their sessions!)… but it was something that served the team very well in growing closer.
Once everyone had arrived, we were organised into a circle, and told to introduce ourselves to the rest of the group, beginning with Molly and Kimberley. Whilst they did not give too much away about the plans for the evening, they gave us a brief overview, and were refreshingly transparent about themselves and the company. We were given a real sense that they were in this with us, and that this wasn’t just a business to them.
At this point we were introduced to Alicia Stratford, a self-described ‘Millennial Life Coach’. Alicia’s process utilises her own difficult experiences in life to try and help others who are struggling or who just want to make something of their life. We were told to lie down on the ground, the lights were dimmed, the soothing music began… ‘not a typical ‘warm up’ for a dance session’, I thought (as a complete novice) as the mindfulness session commenced. During her segment of the evening, Alicia talked about her own life, her business, and why she believes in the importance of not leaving coaching until you’re ‘at the end of the line’. Alicia’s honesty was incredibly moving and humbling. We were then encouraged to share ourselves through various challenges and activities.
The next stage was hosted by Molly and Kimberley and was the ‘dance’ section of the evening that I had expected. It was engaging and fully supportive of all members, with routines that were suitable for people of all abilities. This next step perfectly followed Alicia’s part of the evening, as it allowed people to ‘warm up’ emotionally to the warm community spirit of the night. It also gave people the opportunity to cathartically release emotional responses to experiences that may have been awakened in the previous section of the night, in a healthy and expressive way.
Through the experience, I rediscovered just how dependent the mind and body are on each other. There is an inextricable link between physical and mental wellbeing, making the inception of Unapologetic ingenious to say the least. As Alicia herself said: ‘coaching shouldn’t just involve sitting on a couch’. This proactive method gets people to become more aware of themselves, allowing for simultaneous healing and growth in all aspects of a person’s sense of ‘self’. Alicia was particularly keen to reinforce the power of ‘speaking’ what you want into existence, and how it was important to focus on the future, and not so much on the past; to look to what you want to achieve (whatever that may be), and not to look at what you have lost or what you don’t have.
Of course, this method, no matter how wonderful, would not work without sincere commitment and perseverance. The first session is free, a taster of the events to come. This is so useful if you want to see whether this would be for you. Alicia Stratford also offered follow up individual appointments to the session, to ensure that people made the most of the experience. Molly and Kimberley also operate a WhatsApp group chat to keep everyone up to date, and make sure everyone is on board with, and happy with the process.
Kimberley and Molly should be so proud of what they have created with Unapologetic, it is an experience that I won’t forget, and is something that can help so many people to take control of their own lives in a healthy and completely non-judgemental way.
This isn’t just a therapy session, it’s certainly not a weight-loss scheme. It is a lovingly made programme that aims to help you to learn how to own your whole being, to mindfully recognise your own potential, and to remind yourself that you are enough, you always will be, you always have been … now own YOU unapologetically.
Thank you for the wonderful and welcoming evening team Unapologetic.
Be sure to check out their story and maybe book in with them by visiting their site or visit them on social media …
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