When given the opportunity for a couple of extra hours of sleep, the average college student would take it in a heartbeat. Normally, we would embrace those extra hours of sleep, but on this particular glorious morning of April 5th, Daybreaker NYC was in town, and that was an unforgettable experience we just couldn’t pass up.
Daybreaker is an energetic, intense morning dance party craze that occurs not only around the country, but around the world. It requires attendees to get up at the crack of dawn, with a guarantee that there’s no better way to start your day. The general format of Daybreaker involves a yoga session at 6 AM, followed by the main event of the dance party from 7-9 AM.
Every Daybreaker party has a different theme, and the one we happened to attend was Polka Dots & Stripes. We decked out in whatever polka dots and stripes our closets had to offer, and somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed for the most epic dance party of our lives. While we didn’t sign up for the 6 AM yoga session (there’s only so much sleep we could give up), the rave itself was everything we imagined it would be and more.
At the door of the venue, Club Space Ibiza, we were greeted with hugs from Daybreaker volunteers and bright, colorful stickers with the Daybreaker symbol, which we proceeded to stick all over our faces. DJ Alyx Andar played mellow music as more people began to arrive. There was an open bar with a variety of health drinks and snacks to fuel our souls and bodies instead of alcohol; among the options, there was CORE Hydration, RUNA, Revive Kombucha, Perfect Bar and Organic Valley. Besides the health bar, Daybreaker enlisted Elliott LaRue as the party motivator, who spread messages of love, positivity and acceptance through his mic throughout the entire morning and partied alongside his fellow Daybreaker community.
After the brightly dressed crowd got a little breakfast in, we all joined each other on the dance floor to dance to some amazing beats. Every single song that morning had to be Shazamed because the tunes were just so decadent and energetic. The Daybreaker volunteers, or “mischief makers,” dispersed themselves amongst the pumping fists to bring the ravers completely in the spirit of irrational joy. Some of them carried inflatable zebras and others had hoola hoops. There were trumpet players making a little conga line through the maze of people, breakdancers strutting their stuff, and even a mime who was acting out his own creepy version of fun. If it sounds like this is just too good to be true, that was exactly how we felt in that moment.
There were platforms alongside the DJ booth, where any of the Daybreakers could get up and show off their moves to the rest of the crowd, no matter how ridiculous those moves may be. At a typical club, spotlight moments like these tend to be more exclusive and the message of inclusivity that Daybreaker promotes is inspiring. As someone who never shies away from dancing her heart out, Daybreaker Abby got up there the second she got the chance. There’s something so liberating about just letting your being go completely. The Daybreaker crowd is completely judgment-free. While Abby was up there on the platform, she felt their energy waves reach out and wash over her, and mirrored their energy and support right back. Even back on the dancefloor, animated dance circles were formed throughout the entire morning, with everyone encouraging their neighbors to jump right in the middle of the action and unleash all the pent-up energy that built up from the school/work week. We danced straight for two hours, allowing the pulsing beat of the music to guide our movements, sweating the residue of midterms away. When the crowd was at its very prime, the party motivator yelled, “This is not just a dance party, this is a community!”
When we thought we couldn’t possibly get enough, one of the lovely mischief makers spread out a volleyball net and the DJs threw gigantic beach balls to us and we participated in Daybreaker’s version of volleyball. The game continued for a couple minutes until the DJ broke out dancing and every cheered for him, enveloping him in a circle. Party-goers took turns dancing in the middle of the circle while through his microphone, the DJ talked about starting the day off right with positive intention. Then he played the most amazing song ever, Rise Up 2K16, which we have still been diligently listening to, and as the buildup arrived and the drop came, colorful bits of confetti came from the ceiling. It was good timing too because Abby turned to Rebecca and said, “This is literally right up your alley,” and Rebecca laughed in response. For anyone who knows Rebecca, she loves confetti and in that moment, she wasn’t just happy. She was elated. Then the DJ yelled out, “Choose to be happy!” and Rebecca swears she felt a tear come out. This is too much, she thought. But it seemed like she wasn’t the only one.
As we looked around the dance floor, we noticed a serenity among the people. Everyone was dancing comfortably in their skin and doing whatever they felt like doing. Without solo cups in our hands, our minds weren’t fogged up with alcohol’s intention and we were able to completely enjoy the moment with all its blissful clarity. There’s a stigma that exists around partying, that it always have to revolve around alcohol, but Daybreaker counters that stigma incredibly. One aspect of Daybreaker’s message that we align with is that people can revel in the moment, with nothing to influence our actions other than ourselves and the people surrounding us. All we need for a good, inspiring time are people that are open to dancing with each other, no matter what walk of life we come from. Daybreaker removes the superficial lens of partying that is clouded by sex, drugs and alcohol, and presents it in a different, sharper light. It brings a whole new meaning to the word “rave.” What we had thought was just going to be a morning rave with a couple of crazy people whom had the audacity to partake in such an activity, turned out to be an eye-opening experience. Usually, when we drink, we drink to relax and destress after a crazy week of schoolwork. Sometimes during more stressful times, it can seem like drinking is the only way we can really let go and have a good time. But at Daybreaker, we were immersing ourselves in a similar environment without the solo cup factor and that difference only empowered us more. We were literally high on life, as cheesy as that may sound. But it’s also scientifically true and Daybreaker knows that, because on their website, there’s a list and explanation of all the happy chemicals: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. The site elaborates how all the elements of the rave, from the hug at the beginning to the specific music they choose to the Yoga Session before the dancing are a part of the big scheme of giving people that “transformative experience” that is so euphoric.
After the party reached its absolute peak at 9 AM, party motivator Elliot LaRue beckoned every single one of us into an enormous, sweaty group hug and encouraged us to take what we learned this morning, and spread the good vibes to the streets of NYC once we left. Once the group hug dispersed, it was finally time for the ending ceremony. Up-and-coming indie pop band Ariana and the Rose led the cool-down, with the lead singer’s serene voice guiding us into starting our day as we sat in front of them like kindergarten children, swaying back and forth to the sound. When their performance came to a close, event organizers walked around and handed out the official Daybreaker mantra:
“There are things about ourselves that we need to get over, there are things about ourselves that we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of these things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.” (Benjamin Hoff)
With that inspirational mantra in mind, how could you not be ready to take on your day? On that note, we hope you all choose to be happy today.
Listen to the song that changed our mornings here.