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FIND IT! With Marvin

ith a background in dance and movement, Marvin Foster is responsible for searching the globe for the next best SoulCycle instructors. And to think he was reluctant to try a class in the first place…

Let’s get right to it — tell us about your very first class at SOUL.

If I’m being honest… I was over-stimulated the first time. I come from a dance background and I was a virgin on the bike. I was invited to take Stacey Griffith’s class. It was a dark room and I was trying to get myself comfortable on the bike. Something immediately clicked when I realized the connection between movement and the music while riding a bike. Once that hit, I knew I felt something like I had never felt before.

And then what happened?

To make a long story short, I was invited to audition to become an instructor. I kept putting it off. I’d just gotten back to New York City and I wanted to get my ground settled before I made any big decisions. I wasn’t interested in teaching cycling – I just didn’t think it was for me. But it all changed once I learned how connected the SOUL community of riders were. There’s nothing like it. And that’s what made me want to become part of the team.

What do you think riders can experience in your class?

People come for different things. For my class, I’m able to curate music and movement in a natural way for a crowd of people. That’s where my experience comes in – I’m able to move crowds of people rhythmically. The hope is that people come to my class and they leave class feeling some sort of success. It doesn’t matter what walk of life they’re coming from. So hopefully, they come for that.

The relationship between a rider and instructor is a two-way street. They get a lot from you, but you get a lot from them as well. What do you take from your riders?

Vulnerability — because I can identify with coming in and not knowing anything about what I’m about to experience. I want my classes to be like a tennis match — I serve it to you, you serve it to me, and we go back and forth. It’s a give and take, and the goal for any class is to have an exchange.

And within those exchanges, you can experience a breakthrough — something that is very hard to define but very real in feeling. What does a breakthrough mean to you?

Every rider realizes their breakthrough moment when they’ve completely surrendered. A lot of people say that about yoga. You have to surrender to the pose. At SoulCycle, we accept everyone, and riders of every level come in; you don’t have to have experience. Because we’re dependent on a bike, the rider and the instructor must surrender to the experience. You must surrender to the music, you must surrender to your reaction to it, you have to surrender to the cues and directions from the instructor. There is a lot of strength in vulnerability.

And how do you get to a breakthrough?

That’s a tough one. It’s just the moment. I can’t tell you how to get it, but I know you will find one.

What do you get out of each ride that you teach?

Music is always a motivator. I get high off of creating something that was in my head and then executing it in the studio. We often say that there’s a framework, and freedom within the framework so I love having all of that freedom. I always tell my riders that the goal is not for you to worry about how many calories you burned, but rather to create a little bit of magic and light so that when you leave the studio, people can feel your magic.

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