A new business called Spoke recently rolled into the old bike shop by the post office. The three owners have been renovating the building’s interior to fit their multi-use vision for the large space and plan to welcome the public with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.
With an art gallery, yoga, bodywork and Gyrotonic studio, performance, concert and meeting space, Spoke is designed to be a hub for creative expression and the healing arts. Wooden benches carved by Vashon artist Bruce Dearborn define a seating area by the floor-to-ceiling windows. A moveable wall provides a versatile solution for the studio’s many intended purposes — from cordoning off a heat-retaining classroom for the hot Bikram yoga to forming wings for a small stage. Up the back stairs, out of the fray of the soon to be busy lower floor, is a private treatment room for bodywork.
Friday night will exemplify the mission of Spoke with an exhibit of paintings by Vashon artist Olivia Pendergast, a sneak preview of an upcoming show by the performance group Acrobatic Conundrum and music by island composer and musician Christopher Overstreet.
The three owners — Abby Enson, Christine Nelson and Aimée Nicole Lewis van Roekel — each pursues artistic and/or healing endeavors. Enson, a choreographer, dancer and bodyworker, helps clients by using the Gyrotonic method, a movement system with specialized equipment for increasing range of motion and developing core strength. The three owners — Abby Enson, Christine Nelson and Aimée Nicole Lewis van Roekel — each pursues artistic and/or healing endeavors. Enson, a choreographer, dancer and bodyworker, helps clients by using the Gyrotonic method, a machine-based exercise system used for increasing range of motion and developing core strength. Gyrotonic practitioner Margaret Hoeffel, with whom Enson has shared a Gyrotonic studio for the past six years, will join the new collective. The larger space allows Hoeffel to add a specialized piece of equipment to her original Gyrotonic tower. Christine Nelson teaches prenatal and restorative yoga as well as yoga classes for children. Van Roekel founded ShakesKIDS, a youth production company for students to work through Shakespeare’s canon before graduating from high school. She also established Bikram Yoga Vashon, and it was in van Roekel’s Bikram yoga class that the three women met.
“That’s where the dream manifested,” Nelson said.
In a recent press release, the women wrote that they “bonded by our mutual desire to do work … that frees and focuses individuals to be able to realize their dreams and potential. (We) hope that through honoring the individual spark and authentic expression of it, the community and world will be bettered.”
Van Roekel explained that all three women have children who are involved with the performing arts, and the threesome wanted to find a place they could offer to artists of all ages.
“We wanted a space to create art and do bodywork, a space for people to hold workshops and concerts,” van Roekel said.
The old bike shop fit the bill perfectly. When asked about the name — Spoke — the women laughed and said they began by calling it the Old Bike Shop but soon realized the name might be confusing to folks expecting to find bicycles for sale. They eventually landed on Spoke and liked the double entendre inherent in the word.
“Spoke is both a noun and a verb,” Nelson said, with van Roekel chiming in that they all are obsessed with words.
“Spoke also fits,” van Roekel said, “because the work done here is about people finding their own personal voice.”