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Revolve Fitness has an instructor exodus problem

(Photo: Christianne Philips)
(Photo: Christianne Phillips)

Revolve Fitness creative director and master instructor Christianne Phillips taught her last class at the Union Square studio on Monday night—and her surprising exit comes amid an exodus of top talent at the indoor cycling company.

Phillips was at the helm of Revolve’s programming, designing classes and recruiting and training instructors since it opened its first studio in Washington, D.C., four years ago. She then moved to New York City to help open the Union Square location, just over a year and a half ago.

“I have a fundamental disagreement with the direction the owners want to take [Revolve] in,” Phillips says. “Out of respect for the people who still work there, I can’t go into more detail.”

Fortuna Realty took back running the brand from CEO and President Sylvan Garfunkel last January. In the months that followed, Kristin Kenney left, followed by Dyan Tsiumis and Jason Tran, who both ended up at team-based Flatiron studio Swerve. Master instructor Kira Stokes, who helped create some of the studio’s classes, is also not currently on the schedule. And Revolve’s D.C.-based head instructor Alex Gardner also resigned this week.

“Dyan, Jason, and Kristin left for the same reason as I did,” Phillips says. “We all really believed so passionately in the method, but there were certain conditions from the owners that weren’t met.” Stephanie Nieman and Ary Nunez also left for Peloton earlier this year (although Phillips says it was not for the same reasons).

“As much as we are sad to see Christianne pursue other endeavors and are grateful for all of her contributions to Revolve, we are excited for the next chapter of our spin studio,” said Morris Moinian, owner of Revolve and principal of Fortuna Realty Group.

In terms of next steps, Phillips is now consulting for a few boutique fitness studios to help with teacher training and music (she’s also a DJ), and she says she won’t join another cycling studio immediately.

Moinan, meanwhile, said Revolve would continue to stand out in the competitive market via its “focus on form, safety, and an athletic approach to developing each individual rider,” and it’s making plans for new classes launching soon. “The next chapter begins with our Sky Ride in late August, details coming soon,” he says. Which could mean new horizons (or a setting sun) for the boutique cycling brand. —Jamie McKillop

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