Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dance Party on the Upper East Side: Soul Cycle with Danny Kopel

Ah, Soul Cycle. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. I hate that a class series expires in one month. I hate having to pay for cycling shoes every time. And most of all, I hate the ridiculously competitive Monday noon sign-up process. Why do I keep coming back then? Because I love the amazingly talented instructors. I had been hearing great things about Danny Kopel, who has amassed quite a following in the past few months. Everyone seems to be clamoring to get into his weekend dance party classes at the Union square location. This weekend he was subbing for a regular instructor up in my 'hood on the Upper east side and I was shocked that I was able to nab a front row-center bike!

 The Upper east side Soul studio is undergoing a much-needed expansion. Currently there is very little room to stand around and wait. The cramped feeling intensifies once the earlier class lets out and the later class waits around for the bikes to be cleaned. Sweaty shoulders brush past you. Shoes and jackets are being put on in the entrance. Luckily this will soon change (renovation starts this weekend) so the check-in/waiting process will be much smoother than I experienced.

UES Studio; Source

Now, Danny. What a ridiculously fun ride and what an absolute show-man. He walked in and commanded the attention of the entire room immediately with a flick of his bleached blond hair. We started the class by warming up off the bike, in second position. That caught me by surprise but I loved it. "Get in rhythm with your neighbor," he  hollered. "It's sexier that way!" I'm all about the riding to a beat and this was one fun synchronized class. Danny would get on and off his bike throughout the class, and a few times he gracefully jumped up and landed perfectly perched onto the handlebars in a swan-dive! I could not stop smiling!  The class itself was non-stop, and was a lot more challenging than the other classes I have taken at Soul Cycle. He had us sprinting, doing intervals and threw in plenty of those bike push-ups and oblique crunches. Personally I am not a fan of the bike push-ups and I don't believe I am going to get chiseled abs with those oblique crunches but in this class it did not matter. I was just having too much fun, and those moves are actually more fun if the beat is just right. I was at a dance party! Twenty minutes in and we were drenched. On seeing that Danny opened his water bottled and lightly sprayed the front row.

The music was amazing. I don't know what most of it was and a lot of it was remixed but the music was synchronized to perfection. At the end we even stretched to a beat! Also Danny kept up the dance party atmosphere by flickering the lights on and off. It worked.

 In sum, this class was wildly fun! Danny is one of the most charismatic group class instructors I have taken class with, AND he's such a sweetheart in person! Rate your Burn recently listed him as one of the most charismatic NYC spin instructors so it's not just me. I've already booked my bike with Danny for Monday while he's still subbing on the upper east side. 83rd street Soul Cycle Studio, please take note: We want more Danny!