Yesterday at SoulCycle in Bridgehampton, amidst a world of singers, burlesque dancers, spin bikes, a packed room and some seriously loud music, a new way to work out was invented in the name of charity for a lost loved one.
The fundraiser was to honor the memory of Clare Veronica Walsh, a former instructor who died unexpectedly at just 22 years old. The event combined spinning and theater, specifically, Moulin Rouge, and a full 1 and a half-hour performance to music, combined with sexy burlesque clad dancers (who are all SoulCycle employees) a guitarist/singer and an opera singer who was placed in the middle of the spin class and during his solos, wouldn’t even take a break from his bike.
Proceeds from the performance benefit the Clare Veronica WalshProject, part of the Lower East Side Girls Club. I don’t want to name drop but I can’t help it because for the second time in a week, I ran into Chelsea Clinton who was there and said, “This was awesome.”
Janet Fitzgerald, an instructor at SoulCycle who had the primary vision behind the event and instructed the class/show yesterday evening said, “This is a multi layer dream. When I was first asked to come to work for SoulCycle from Los Angeles I said you know what, I’m really not that interested, I’m going to get a warehouse and roll up the doors on the weekends and have cycling meets performance theater. When they heard me say that they responded with, ‘Fine. Come to New York and we’ll do it at the barn in the Hamptons.’ Last Christmas, I lost my dear friend and instructor Clare Veronica Walsh and she loved performance art and especially Moulin Rouge. She was an actress and a dancer and a singer as well, and it was her dream also to have performance art within a spinning class, so we did this for her.”
One of the owners of SoulCycle, Elizabeth Cutler was there riding the bike who said, “This is one of those things that makes me feel proud. All of this is thanks to Janet and the instructors and riders. It’s really great.”
Let me tell you, I was VERY impressed with the SoulCycle Theater Performance ride. The dancers never let-up and Janet didn’t either, pushing everyone to their limits. All of the lights were out inside, giving the cycling room a theater like effect, and I’ve never seen a group of people have more positive energy. The professionalism of the dancers and singers was at top level. I’m suspicious that nearly every SoulCycle instructor that performed last night has a theater background somewhere in their past, and if they don’t, THEY SHOULD!
Kate Walsh, Clare Veronica Walsh’s Mother said, “It’s a special event and it’s close to my heart and to a lot of people that are here. I’m so happy to see this and be here.”
At the end of the ride, exhausted, I stepped outside onto the front deck, which was decorated with black and red balloons to have a shot of “Absinthe” which was being passed out by a blonde girl wearing a burlesque outfit, which of course, was really just green Gatorade.