RIDE OR DIE | Calida Kuzek, Instructor

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Meet Calida – a Toronto Instructor who began her teaching journey with the West Coast RIDE family. A professional dancer, Calida brings incredible rhythm and musicality to her classes, not to mention an unreal repertoire of hip hop. Get to know Calida!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in central BC called Quesnel (about 8 hours from Vancouver).

Can you remember your first RIDE class?

My first class was with Ash in Vancouver, which I think was a low key audition to teach…

How long did it take until you realized you wanted to become an Instructor?

I have a crazy universe story for this one, gotta give you a little back story tho. I had been injured for almost a year and had moved back to Vancouver from LA. I wasn’t dancing or exercising, I was absolutely losing my mind! When the idea to move to Toronto came about, I started day-dreaming about working with RIDE- volunteering, whatever, I just wanted to be involved. It was a Tuesday morning, I checked the RIDE job postings on the website before heading to physio.. At my physio sesh, I got the green light to start dancing again! I went downstairs after and sat at Wholefoods. Little did I know Ash was sitting at a table across from me and recognized me from teaching dance. When I left, I had messages from a couple Vancouver RIDE instructors asking if I would wanna teach and to take Ash’s class the next day. IT WAS CRAZY. The universe hooked me up hard. I took class and started training that weekend!!

How would you describe your teaching style?

You remember elementary school dances? You’d dance so hard, hit the sides for an apple juice and then your fav track from Big Shiny Tunes comes on and you had to run to bust it again. That’s what I strive for. I want it to be hard, I want you to sweat, have a moment of “oh my god I can’t do this” and then crush it!

Best part of being an Instructor is…

Connecting with the community. I feel so lucky to be a part of the RIDE fam.

Track you’ve had on repeat?

Really into SiR’s new album for mellow sexy vibes. Also RNP – YBN Cordae & Anderson Paak, U Say – Goldlink and Feel It Too – Tainy & Jessie Reyez

AM or PM RIDES?

Both…but more mornings.

Favourite way to sweat outside of RIDE?

Back alley dance jam.

How has becoming a RIDE Instructor changed you?

It’s definitely made me appreciate more genres of music. I was a bit of a hip hop snob before, and now I’m bopping to Drezo! On a more real note, when I first started at RIDE I was in a dark place. Being injured was hard on my body but it really messed with my mind. RIDE pulled me out. I was able to move my body again, to blasting music and connect with people! It seriously saved me.

Go-to quote or words to live by?

Feel the fear and do it anyways. Or you’re not failing you’re learning.

Who motivates you?

My bf Terry. He took on this huge new job in a new city without knowing what the heck was gonna happen, and he just went for it. He feels the fear and goes for it everyday. He also always reminds me to have fun and enjoy!

Favourite book?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

What’s your #1 life hack?

Eat your candy one piece at a time so it lasts longer. And, when you think to yourself “should I go pee before we go?” go pee. Cause you probably have to go pee and will regret it later.

Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon in the city?

If it’s sunny out, I am 100% catching rays. I’m still learning the city tho, so please send me recos for your fav restaurants/things to do!

Any hidden or not so hidden talents?

I’m really good at whistling.

If you could brunch with any person (past or present), who would it be and why?

My nieces, I miss them. They’re the best and say the weirdest things. I could totally go for a tea party with them now!

Best memory since you joined RIDE?

My Community RIDES for sure. That was the moment it sunk in that this was real! Also, making the move to TO was scary but I instantly felt like I had a group of friends. Everyone at RIDE was so welcoming and made me feel part of the fam right away. Thanks you guys <3

#1 piece of advice for someone looking to have a killer RIDE?

Do you. Don’t worry about what the person beside you is doing, listen to your body and honour that.

What has you stoked on life right now?

I’ve started teaching adult beginner hip hop classes Saturdays at RYU. I lovvvvee these classes.

What does RIDE mean to you?

RIDE to me is a safe space to be yourself completely. I feel so supported when Im riding. Everyone is on their own journey and not worrying about what anyone else is doing, but you know they have your back completely.

RIDE with Calida – find her on the Ossington Schedule.