A few weeks ago, I heard that Holly Rilinger was going to be doing a special fundraiser class for the Georges Malaika Foundation at the Flatiron Flywheel studio using live drummers and I wanted to go desperately. The Foundation is bringing education to 104 girls in the Congo and had tapped Holly to create the girls very first PE program. Seriously, I can’t imagine a better person to create that program and spread the love of physical education to a group of girls! As badly as I wanted to go and support the great cause, I also knew that I couldn’t even remotely afford the back row bikes and I was really bummed. Then, on Saturday late in the morning, when I was settling back into being home after my crazy trip and not rushing out into the world like I normally do on a Saturday, a notice from Flywheel popped up on Facebook that there were a very small handful of bikes that were being released and were up for grabs. I immediately hopped onto their site and snapped up one of those bikes with my lone remaining credit that I had been hoarding away. I was giddy and grateful that I would get the chance to go.
The very next day, I headed off to Flywheel ridiculously early for the 2:30pm event because I was so worried about the trains being all goofy from Brooklyn and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the class. I got there SO early that I was the first to arrive, so I went back to stash my stuff and got my first glimpse of the Harlem Drummers who were using the Flybarre studio to practice in. It was amazing to hear that infectious rhythm come from the studio and I knew that this class really was going to be special. I made my way to the lounge in the front to watch everyone file in and was floored by all of the people. I wasn’t the only one giddy about this class – from the moment people walked in the door you could feel this open, palpable energy starting to build. As we got ready, one of the Flywheel people warned us that this class was going to be very loud and if you ever used earplugs, you should get some for this class. The women next to me just laughed and said “Oh please, we are here for loud! Don’t they know Holly’s crowd?? We are going to be LOUD.” And to that statement, a roar went up from the hallway.
As we filed into the class, we saw the drummers sitting at the base of the instructor platform and Holly beaming away in the center of them. They played as we set up and the crowd was loud and dancing as Holly made her way around the room checking on everyone. The drummers played along to Holly’s energetic playlist of songs, perfectly suited to the drums playing along, and considering they never had a chance to practice in the room or with Holly behind them teaching the class, I was stunned at how easily they fell into place with the music. Holly is a rock star. I have said it before (like in my very first review of her, here) but in this class, she was magical. She danced and yelled and filled the room with her joyous energy and the riders returned every ounce of it back. It was the most amazing, joyous class I have ever been in. It FLEW by and by the end I felt high. After the class was over, people stayed and danced. They whipped their towels over their heads and cheered, hands clapping thunderously as we listened to the drummers continue on after the last song ended. As I looked around at all of the glowing faces, I took a moment to be so grateful to have gotten a chance to be there. I breathed it all in and reveled in the joy and magic of that moment.