Connect
To Top

Meet Natalie Kuhn of The Class by Taryn Toomey in Westside & West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Kuhn.

Natalie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in LA on the westside. When you hear that, you probably think of a tan young thing making her way to the ocean’s edge with surfboard in hand. Not quite. I was a bit of a happy geek, leaning into my studies and becoming more and more devoid of Vitamin D as I found a community doing theater. My mom was an ex-nun, as kind and positive as the day is new. My dad is a classic “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” type who made a life for himself and his family from nothing.

My parents are more brave and generous than most because when I told them that I wanted to go to New York to study theater, they trusted me enough to say Okay. The beauty and the beast about being a performer is that you ride the low lows and the high highs. I’ve had just about every odd job you can think of from being a Food Tour Guide in NYC to a research assistant to recording the voice of an xbox character to spending endless night bartending at rock clubs. And as hard work and luck would have it, I’ve had the good fortune of performing around the world with David Byrne as a dancer and from St. Anne’s Warehouse to Sydney Opera House with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a performer.

In my late 20s, by cosmic serendipity, I met a woman named Taryn Toomey who was getting her friends together in the gym of her apartment building. I joined her, she asked me to teach, it all felt like kismet. And pretty soon, there were weekly classes being held at a kids dance studio, a website, and a name: The Class.

Six years later, the little crew of two became a company of 48 with Classes running in LA, Vancouver, and New York.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
From the very beginning, the method of The Class was about using the physical difficulty of fitness to understand the reactions of the mind. When I first joined Taryn, I was still getting the fitness part of teaching in my bones. A few months into us working together, my beautiful vibrant mother passed away out of nowhere. A complete shock. No one saw it coming – she wasn’t sick, she wasn’t in the hospital.

And that’s when The Class stopped being purely about fitness for me. It became about healing, expression, catharsis, a journey into myself.

No one really talks about grief. In America, we are so afraid of mortality and of death. We have every skin cream that promises immortality and to that end, we hide our dead six feet underground. Since then, I’ve experienced quite a bit of death – that of someone’s passing, that of divorce, that of an old outdated sense of self. And in all cases, there’s a depth that grief pulls you into and you have no choice but to let go. In a way, grief the ultimate and brutally necessary lesson in surrender.

Now, years later, I think about difficult emotions with much more appreciation. As we teach in The Class, a strong emotion carries information. And if we can sit deeply in ourselves enough to be with it, we step onto the threshold of our own evolution.

Please tell us about The Class by Taryn Toomey.
The Class in short, is spiritual fitness. What does that actually MEAN? Through simple, repetitive calisthenics and plyometrics, participants challenge the body to engage the mind. With guided instruction and powerful music, The Class invites students to witness their resistance to discomfort. The result is an expansive, heart-clearing and body-strengthening release. This Class will challenge and enlighten you all while building an incredibly strong, lean, resilient body. You will learn tools to empower your life.

I’m most proud that our work is making a positive impact on its students and in the world. Through this work, our students get to know themselves. And it’s that capacity that allows for all of us to connect to each other. And isn’t that what we’re all here for? To connect?

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
We must have been in 4th grade when Alison, Michael, Matthew and I went up to my bedroom, closed all the blinds, went into the closet and… busted out an Ouija board. Other kiddos were figuring out how to make out and we were figuring out if energy and spirits were real. Not mad about it.

Pricing:

  • The Class in LA is $25 for a drop in.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Scarf and black dress, the photographer is Catalina Kulczar Marin. (@catalinaphotog); Messy hair: Catalina Kulczar Marin. (@catalinaphotog); Chin on hand: Catalina Kulczar Marin. (@catalinaphotog); Outdoor group shot: @etienne_fro (instagram) or © 2018 Etienne Frossard; Indoor group shot: Armin Razmy (@arminrazmy); ndoor group shot #2: Armin Razmy (@arminrazmy)

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in