Heartbeats Meet Drumbeats in Tribal Spin Class at Shades Valley YMCA

12698447-largeThere was no disc in the CD player and no iPod providing the music for Nichele Hoskins’ recent spin class at the Shades Valley YMCA.

Instead participants pedaled to the rhythmic drumming of percussionist John Scalici in what Hoskins called her Tribal Spin Class.

The seven-year spin instructor had been looking for new music for her class when she considered approaching Scalici, who performs with Get Rhythm.

“Everybody was really interested in the new concept,” she said. “I’ve been teaching spinning since ’97 but I haven’t done anything quite this innovative.”

Hoskins promoted the class as combining spinning and live drumbeats for an unparalleled and uplifting workout.

“This 45-minute class offers all the challenges of an interval ride with the intricate rhythms and energies of sweating to live music,” she posted on Facebook. “Heartbeats meet drumbeats for the first time in Birmingham!”

John Powers, a 54-year-old bicycle rider from Vestavia Hills, said he’s fairly new to spin class. But he said the tribal drumming was enjoyable.

“For me it’s all about cadence and rhythm and being on tempo when I ride,” he said. “Having John here with the drums, that’s rhythm. It was really awesome to bicycle at cadence with the drum rhythm. The time went by so fast. It was really good stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a good workout.”

Scalici said it was a “different kind of energy” than he experiences on stage.

“I’m feeding off what the cyclists are doing,” he said. “I’m also listening to the person who’s leading the class. It’s a tempo thing. It’s a cadence thing that I’m always trying to be aware of rather than showing off or performing.

“It is a very different thing but it’s a concept that’s very old,” Scalici continued. “Traditionally, sports, work, harvesting – those activities have all gone along with drumming thousands of years ago. It’s kind of a new spin on an old thing.”


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