By Parker Radcliffe, Senior Instructor at SoulCycle
Music is, and has always been, the way that I've made sense of things. I continue to be so grateful for the opportunity to have found SoulCycle shortly upon arriving to New York City. I instantly realized that this is the place where I would be able to create daily soundtracks, inspired by city life — and THAT really appealed to me. No matter how hard I’ve tried to take other paths in life, music-related projects have always continued to present themselves. It's my oldest interest, and the one I'm most passionate about. The people who currently take my class understand completely what I'm about just by the music I play, and it has encouraged to me creatively dive in even deeper.
After 3 years of teaching between 12-15 classes week, I had become an unofficial DJ. I felt like the next necessary step to help enhance my own class would be to learn the actual ins and outs of scratching on vinyl. I signed up for Scratch Academy courses, a DJ school in NoHo, and took the spring introduction series. Shortly after graduating, I purchased my own mixers and have been working at bettering my craft ever since. Being able to DJ at New York Fashion Week was always a dream of mine, and I've already been able to work at New York Men’s Day (part of NYFW) twice this year. That alone has made it so worth it!
As the hot weather approached, I decided to combine all this newfound inspiration into a project that I could work at developing all summer long, alongside partner and SoulCycle manager Stephanie White — we called this Soul Tropic Nites. It started as a simple attempt to put on a once-a-month, hipster-type, summer party inspired by music and the feeling of going out. The experience became much more about learning to become present with one's self, emotions, and personal story, as opposed to the "escape" that we can tend to associate with partying.
It turned into a 4-part class-series journey that metaphorically started out with us in the green ripeness of summer. The path slowly took us down underwater, and then shortly back onto land as new beings. The series finished with us reaching total enlightenment, this one was visually inspired by crystals and clouds. The whole experience felt like a rebirth. The ability to share, and have other people connect to and within this project has made me so happy.
We added special live elements that included two DJs — DJ jeremyrl and DJ iamnsr — live music, and choreographed dance numbers by fellow instructors. All of this was included to help the rider go from the normal Soul class experience to an even more heightened state of energy and intensity.
Soul Tropic Nites soon became #soultropicnites to my Instagram following. I would use it to tease the subjects or themes for each ride. The hashtag allowed for people to get involved as well. Together we created a mood board of over 300 photos. There is now a history for the community there. It serves to tell the story, and the energy can be felt from each photo even if you weren't present to experience it first-hand.
Retrospect has given complete clarity to just what Soul Tropic Nites was really about. It was a way to share my personal journey while safely exploring my message and own personal motivation for doing this job. I wanted to tap into how I can be of best use to the universe in order to really be of help to others. I am inspired by nature, emotion, the arts, all types of music, meditation, visualization, and the list goes on. I was able to incorporate all of these elements in different ways, but nature and purity took over as the top energy motivators, wrapping it back around to the tropical and nature-inspired.
I've never been more excited about the future of my purpose within the fitness community. I think that changing the stigma of what a fitness class is or can be can save lives. It can. It can bring people in that have never been able to connect or care enough in the past. Culture is changing and now it’s really cool to be fit and healthy. It is crazy and amazing to think that society is embracing an exercise class that is participatory performance art. I can't think of anything more important or socially current to dedicate my time to.
As far as what’s coming next — Marvin and I will be hosting two 90-minute ride events in both the NOHO (10/24) & West Village (10/30) SoulCycle studios. It will be Halloween-inspired, called EXERCISM. I will be DJing the whole thing, and Marvin and I will team-teach. Come out and eee what this whole energy thing is all about.
Parker Radcliffe is originally from Salt Lake City, UT, and currently residing in SoHo. He moved to New York to pursue a fashion career shortly after graduating from the University of Utah, started taking SoulCycle classes almost upon landing, and the rest is history.
Parker was recently promoted to Senior Instructor after 3 years of teaching and 4 with the company. He currently works at the corporate office helping to develop new and existing talent across the country, and also DJs on the side, mostly fashion projects and private events in downtown Manhattan.