The Story of Camilla
The year is 2003 and the weight is at its highest – 131 kilograms
Camilla Steen Larsen has been through a lot of turmoil and many years of lying to herself now shows both on the inside and the outside.
Something had to change and after writing a letter to her father, something all of a sudden happened – within in three months Camilla lost 20 kilos.
”I got a taste for it. I was out of working as cook and now working for my father as an dental assistant. The 9-5 working hours , the steady income, meals at the right times – it all fit a lot better in regards to the once-for-all lifestyle change I was coming to”
It only took her 11 months to reduce her weight with 54 kilos, but that was nowhere near where ‘the work’ was to be done – the real work began in getting use to not weigh those kilos, all layers of protection gone….
”Everything came 54 kilos closer the relationship to myself in particular.
My attitude also shifted. So at age 27 I blushed for the first time receiving a compliment. It became a journey getting to know myself all over again. To embrace the new and the softness, that suddenly had come to surface. I became conscious of situations where everything got ‘too much’, where I would normally sit down with a bag of candy not to feel what was really happening in me. As well as a deep anxiety of becoming an overweight again. For me it was to find the reason why I got to be so overweight in the first place – and changing that – not to this time as so many times prior putting the weight back on again plus a few.”
The meeting with Nia
After a few years break Camilla was back as an aerobic instructor. She had taken the medical QiGong training and a friend brought her to Nia Class.
Let us just say, that was not love at first sight.
”I had my rigid opinions on what class teaching to music was and thought it was a bit too soft feel-yourself-like thing. Again an attitude that belonged to “the old”. However I also knew when after the second class with same experience, honestly feeling angry and irritated, that here was the perfect middle way between aerobics and qigong. Why did I get so angry at choreography to music with happy people dancing – all of which I loved? Something was on here a door I needed to enter”
After only two Nia classes Camilla went to Portland, Oregon in 2006. This became the beginning of a journey which continues on. Now Camilla has all five belts and is a certified Nia Black Belt Teacher.
When Camilla came back she was the only one teaching Nia in Denmark. But with a feel, a passion and a drive leading her to opening her own studio in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.
The journey to StudioNiaCph
“Incredibly people travelled with me from space to space for my dance classes. The first place we were was so damp that clovers grew out of the walls. I brought my own black and white checkered linoleum floor, rolled it out and duct taped it onto the concrete floor, voilá let’s dance. I was so grateful that they came to dance with ME – several of them still dances with me today.”
It was renting already established dance studios on five different locations in Copenhagen until the right space appeared. Camilla wanted more, she wanted her own, despite the risk of being the only one in the country teaching Nia – a pro as much of a con.
It lasted a year and a half to find the perfect place
”For the Danes Nia was something new and it takes time – we are not the fastest ones to open our arms and embrace the new. In the US Nia is almost as well-known as yoga and that is what I hope will happen in Denmark as well.”
The passion behind StudioNiaCph
Camilla’s decision of opening her own studio went through many ”what if’s” and ”this could potentially go wrong”, but in 2010 she found the right space and took the leap of faith.
”I thought I am going for it – I risk big, I win big.
That is what I feel I have done. I have found strength by not falling back into old habits of ”I can’t do this” or ”I am not good enough for that”, ”what if”, ”It’s also so tough for me as I’m the only one in Denmark.” These beliefs that previously had a hold of me having me eat to drown my feelings.
I dared to face my biggest fears and be able to feel, this is right! I love going to work and see how something is being moved in people. To see the shift in them especially the changes of old habits not always shifting with an ear-to-ear smile.
I found out that what makes my heart sing is to let my story inspire others to find their truth, their worth and dancing path in life.”
Where is the dance taking us?
Camilla has opened up to share her story of losing both her parents to cancer right when on the verge ready to spread her wings wide. Camilla held lectures for ’The Danish Cancer Society”. Camilla shared the tools that Nia and Soul Motion® has given her – all used when she stood in the midst of grief.
”Dance gives me everything – for the first time after teaching since 1991 I could say that with Nia I got it all at once. I both lose myself and find myself at the same time. Nia has without doubt kept me holding on to the life changes I made in my life. Nia helped me keep my weight off.
It has not always been fun. I stood in class with tears running down my cheeks. But it is okay – everything is perfect. My experiences is what I take with me when I teach. I have been there I share from there. I call it motivation through movement and can I inspire and accompany people in finding more pleasure, belonging, worthiness and connection in life, I feel honor in joining them in their dances on and off of the dance floor.”
In 2011 Camilla had her first Soul Motion experience she fell in love. It was a workshop weekend with the founder of Soul Motion Vincent Martínez-Grieco. “If it wasn’t for already having went the whole way with Nia to Black Belt I am not sure, I wouldn’t have changed lanes. In that dancing field I met a part of me that I did not know as well as the one learning 13 principles and perfect them. I clearly remember an elderly gentleman in the workshop. He had been sitting on a chair for most of the workshop and could barely walk on his feet and there he was across the room from me standing swaying his hands over his head – one of the most inspirational dances I have had. I was deeply touched. I drove home on the German Autobahn I was still dancing and felt like being moved by what was around me.
A secret love affair
That first weekend of a Soul Motion experience became her secret love affair and was the seed to the new name of the studio – Be moved.
Furthermore a solid pillar for the bridge building between movement modalities Camilla stands tall for.
“I wish for all of us to come to a point where it does not matter what it is called Nia, Soul Motion, 5Rhythms, Open Floor, Movement Medicine – it is dance and it enhances our consciousness. Dancing calms our nervous system. Dance stimulates, heals and gets us out of the habitual.
Let us join hearts and begin our dance from here, both on and off the dance floor – the world need us in our embodied presence.”
The secret love affair with Soul Motion lasted for 5 years until she heard the clear ‘yes’ in her belly to step into the training. They were a match from the beginning and still today Camilla gets a sassy smile on her face when sharing how both Nia and Soul Motion sparks a tickling aliveness under her skin in their own unique way. Camilla leads both Nia and Soul Motion classes and says: “for simplicity let us just call a class with me being moved with Camilla.”
Passionately she lives her dream of bringing dancing to the world as an entry to come one step closer to ourselves. She is invited to facilitate on international dance floors across the globe and strongly believes that every single one of us matter and make a difference. She calls it live · love · lead
Camilla reaches dance floors, CEO hallways and model runways in Denmark and internationally and through personal guidance and changes in the way we move the circles of change ever widening reaching far out into the everyday.
Her personal journey has led her to teaching joy for living, give shine on shame through the at times edgy terrain of conscious sexuality said out loud.
“Our bodies are instruments of energy and love. How can I surrender into being love(d) when not having accepted myself fully in the shape in human form I am or the feelings of despair, shame, fear are not welcomed? I am here to love whatever arises, more.”
There are always questions danced within Camilla and she is always curious to know more of what she does not know.
Camilla is part of staff at the Soul Motion School as alumni coordinator supporting graduates in their continued practice, assisting at teacher trainings and serving as mentor coordinator. Her heart strongly beats for the power of leaning into the arms of community to learn from one another.
“I am done with me, me, me and all about we, we, we.”
10 years after the opening of the studio, a new name that could hold both Nia and Soul Motion, two full floods and a total rebuild twice Be moved studio has become a ‘grown up’ – space for communities across loving to gather, learn and unlearn on the lovely bamboo floor gracefully held by Camilla.