Written by Shelly Randall
Michael Molin-Skelton joins teaching team at Madrona MindBody Institute
Madrona MindBody Institute in Port Townsend is pleased to welcome Michael Molin-Skelton to its teaching team as a Soul Motion teacher.
A modern dancer from Los Angeles who was one of the first to be trained by Vinn Arjuna Martí, the creator of the conscious dance form known as Soul Motion®, Michael now travels all over the world teaching the Soul Motion practice and philosophy.
He is currently in Europe for the month of March, leading Soul Motion workshops in Italy, Austria, Belgium and Poland.
An African-American who leaps social boundaries as easily as he leaps across the dance floor, Michael shaves his head and often wears hoop earrings and flowing white skirts. Dance guru Gabrielle Roth once offered this description of him to a colleague: “He’s black, he’s bald, and he wears white.”
You can’t miss noticing him. And his arrival in Port Townsend is turning heads.
“To have someone of Michael’s caliber, with his international reputation, joining us—it’s a big deal,” says Madrona co-founder Aletia Alvarez.
Passing the torch
Soul Motion is one of the biggest draws at Madrona, a sanctuary for conscious living and the moving arts that this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.
The popular “Soulful Sunday” Soul Motion class on Sunday mornings has the largest turnout of all the weekly classes, drawing between 25-80 participants and averaging 35-40.
The dance is “a facilitated movement journey that stays curious to both freedom and form,” says Aletia, who is also an experienced Soul Motion teacher. She brought the dance form to Madrona in 2007 and has led the classes for the past 10 years, building a devoted following.
“We’re an established dance community, a community that’s taken 10 years to cultivate,” she says proudly. “We’re a group of people who have learned to move together.”
Now Aletia is passing the Soulful Sunday torch to Michael. She will continue to lead the Tuesday morning Soul Motion class, “Movement as Meditation,” and will fill in for Michael when he is traveling, but she is shifting her focus to the business’s development and growing Madrona’s role at Fort Worden’s Lifelong Learning Center.
Madrona’s Soul Motion students have enthusiastically embraced Michael’s facilitation of the Sunday sessions that many consider their “dance church.”
Center for the Soul Motion School
Michael’s move to Madrona solidifies it as a west coast center for the Soul Motion School, as both he and Aletia are on the core faculty.
This means even more Soul Motion apprentices will be coming to Port Townsend for multi-day courses, says Aletia. Madrona’s location at Fort Worden State Park makes it easy to host residential workshops and teacher training programs, with housing and meals provided on campus.
A Soul Motion School leadership program that will attract apprentices from all over the globe is scheduled at Madrona in April and May. June 21-25, Aletia and Michael co-teach “Soul Motion: Foundations,” a five-day entry-level program open to the public.
Aletia and Michael are long-time collaborators. They first met in late 2007 at a Soul Motion training at the Esalen Institute in California. After that, Michael traveled to Port Townsend many times for Soul Motion School events.
But it wasn’t until 2016 that his wife came for a visit. Anneli Molin-Skelton was immediately enchanted. Soon after, they sold their house in Portland, bought a house in Port Townsend, enrolled their 5-year-old son Jaylan at Swan School, and began teaching at Madrona.
“It’s such a beautiful community, and a beautiful place to raise a child,” says Anneli. “From Day One, I felt ‘We have found our people here.’”
The Molin-Skeltons are a couple who trusts their intuition. The two met in 2002 at a dance workshop in the Bay Area, and after spending 18 days together they were married in Anneli’s hometown in northern Sweden.
Anneli Molin-Skelton left a promising corporate career in telecommunications to become a dance instructor herself. She teaches a form of conscious dance called Open Floor, which is a new offering at Madrona.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, to raise a family through your art,” says Michael. But, adds Anneli, “We feel blessed and grateful to do what we love.”
Free dance April 2nd
Madrona MindBody Institute invites the public to come dance with Michael Molin-Skelton at a special Soulful Sunday session on April 2, from 10-11:30 a.m. It’s free to newcomers, half-price for regulars, and appropriate for ages 11 and up.
The dance is followed by a welcome reception starting at 11:45 a.m. for the new teacher and his family that includes a potluck brunch. “The public is invited to ‘Come to dance, stay for brunch,’” says Aletia.
Learn more, and watch a video of Michael Molin-Skelton in motion, at MadronaMindBody.com.