We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Jane Gray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha Jane, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I was raised by very dedicated parents who, as dental practice owners, always went above and beyond for their patients and staff to help those in need. Balancing that work ethic, free days were jam packed with water skiing, road trips, game-viewing, every adventure was on the table. I feel so blessed to have epic childhood memories of African adventures with family.
When setting out to carve out my own career in the dance world, as wonderfully doused with beauty and triumph it is, being a ballet dancer requires everything you have, especially starting out. I completed a BA Law degree during the day and danced all night to train as much as possible. I had an incredible opportunity to move from South Africa to Vancouver, Canada to study dance. There I danced all day and worked all night to help cover costs of living abroad, I was so blessed to have a pilates certification, so that between dance contracts, I had an income. And like any free-lance artist, you can never juggle too many gigs. When you’re doing what you love, it is hard to separate work/life, and it didn’t matter because I was full of energy and hungry to dance as much as I could. I was living the artist life surrounded by incredible people.
When I moved to Los Angeles, my perspective started to shift. I had had amazing experiences dancing, but was feeling it was time to start living my surfer girl dreams, and to spend more time in nature than in the studio. I had worked hard to re-build myself in a new city, and country, and had great dance connections and amazing clientele. I was nervous to move a client’s session so I could have a day-off. I was nervous to take a surf lesson instead of going to ballet class. I was nervous of leaving a studio, because working at 4 different studios was a scattered and travel time was eating the hours of my day. But slowly, I started to make small adjustments to my schedule and choices, and each time, I felt rewarded. My first 7am surf session was a dream come true, I met dolphins and new friends. This is how I wanted to live. Within a year, I started to notice that I was soul happy, and it felt supportive to be taking care of myself in this way. This continues to inspire me and can’t wait to share this passion for movement both indoors and out!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
This answer would have been so different pre-pandemic era. But due to the closure of so many studios, I’m so grateful to continue my work pre-dominantly in-home with my incredible clientele. It was a big moment of letting go when everything closed. What has ensued since, is a delightful, deep co-creation of exploring movement, journaling, release work, breathe work, meditation, props, working in-doors and out-doors, on the machines, off the machines and first and for-most honoring the body’s intuition, the feelings on the day, and allowing their bodies to be the ultimate guides of the session. I found a whole new way to be in service through movement and body awareness. As things open, I am excited for collaborations percolating in the future. Check out our in-studio session offerings below! https://www.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Coffees and Tahini Croissants at Great White, Venice.
Walk on the beach path to check out Muscle Beach.
Rent a foam board, and attempt a surf at Venice Beach.
Stroll on over to Butcher’s Daughter for veggie delights
Grab a beach blanket, and a picnic and watch the sunset.
Ride the ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier.
Ride a scooter home.
Breakfast at Malibu Farm
Hike Topanga Canyon
Early Drinks and Dinner at Dukes
Check out a late night comedy show somewhere in Hollywood.
Grab pastries to go from Gjusta.
Introduction to skydive tandem Skydive at Skydive Elsinore.
Dinner somewhere random on the way when you get stuck in traffic, an element of surprise.
Head out to Griffith Park Observatory.
Head downtown for lunch to the Arts District and pick a brewery of your choice.
Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Dinner at Otium.
Introduction to rock-climbing in Malibu State Creek Park.
Dinner at Charcoal Venice.
Drinks at The Whaler for beach sunset.
If it’s Winter..
Ski day in Big Bear!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
If I had to choose one: my mentor, Marta Hernandez (Vancouver). Marta trained me as Pilates Instructor, gave me my first job, and created a home for me to grow as a person and as instructor for all the years I worked at her studio. We kept in touch as I followed toured with my dance company and finally moved to LA. Now 15 years later, she has circled into my life in such meaningful way, as we collaborate with clients via zoom.
She continues to share her knowledge in GYROTONIC®, Tai Chi, Chi-Gong and TCM. Check out her zoom class resuming in September 2021.
Private Movement Sessions: White Lotus. Pacific Palisades.
These sessions are based on single client occupancy for privacy and safety. (1 client , and 1 instructor in the room)
The room boasts a full line up of Pilates and GYROTONIC® machines supplemented by yoga, breath-work, meditation, release work and yummy self-care techniques.
$250/hour. Check out our website for more details. https://www.creatingbody.com/private
The Reformation 10: This is a 10 session program, that will dedicate your body and mind to transformation. The program is tailored towards your needs and goals to rebuild your movement foundation through awareness, a deep understanding of core-work, postural analysis, stretch and release techniques, breath-work to nurture your nervous system and a wealth of techniques to integrate into your daily life and a build a sustainable self-care routine. $2250.00. Check out our website for a detailed program description. https://www.creatingbody.com/private
Kelly Bonsack and Raymond Joyce ( Surf)