New year, new workout: DAYBREAKER's growing dance party before work

- Imagine a world where you roll out of bed, brush your teeth, throw on your glitziest spandex and drive in the predawn light to a random building in an obscure neighborhood. Once you arrive, you find others like yourself congregating outside – also dressed in sequins, colorful wigs, fishnet tights and platform shoes. There’s a bouncer at the door wearing neon sunglasses who asks for your name.

Upon entering, you’re immediately hit with layers of upbeat, funky music and see a massive bar stocked with espresso drinks, fresh pressed juice, Cliff bars and bottles of water. It’s like an alternate universe. One where instead of finding yourself here at 12 a.m., tipsy and ready to dance the night away, you’re here at 6:30 a.m. as a pre-game for the work day. You’ve swapped the Saturday night ensemble for Nike Frees and a sports bra.

All of this, sober.

DAYBREAKER is the alternate universe for the late night club goers. It’s about dancing your face off early on a Thursday morning before heading into the office, without inhibition or judgment, and feeling absolutely great about it. Instead of focusing on the substance aspect of traditional nightlife, it’s something you do sober – ignited by the high-energy dance party, euphoric atmosphere and all around good vibes.

The event draws a mix of people, generally early 20s through late 30s, including professionals, entrepreneurs, designers, artists and musicians.

And seriously, everyone is super friendly (which isn't always the case in a big city like Los Angeles).

I first went to DAYBREAKER in the spring of 2015 at a warehouse in Downtown LA. It was picking up steam, but seemed still relatively unheard of when I started surveying my larger circle of friends. I remember being very impressed by the turnout and the fact that there could be so many "morning people" exuding sunshine in one room.

This week I went to the first event of 2017 in Venice, California - and it was even better than the first time. People were somehow MORE friendly and MORE pumped about the event. Countless people just walked up to me and introduced themselves.

I made like five new friends just by cutting a rug on the dance floor.

As most good ideas do, DAYBREAKER started over a late-night falafel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2013. Community organizers Radha Agrawal and Matthew Brimer mused over the idea of dancing before daylight with people they love and in a place that welcomed “camaraderie, self-expression, wellness, mindfulness and a little mischief.”

“DAYBREAKER started out as a social experiment and an art project with the intention to think about a way the community could gather that was not divided by alcohol, mean bouncers or digital divides,” Agrawal said. “We wanted to bring back dance the way it was meant to be brought back. The idea was born out of a frustration in nightlife and a desire to bring community back in a real, positive way.”

The first event was held in Dec. 2013 in the basement of Coffee Shop on Union Square.

“After the first event, there was a line of our friends waiting to hug us and thank us and say, ‘This is what we want and were looking for.’ The vibration of the room is unparalleled. The morning is a time where everyone’s cup is full and everyone sees life as full of possibilities,” Agrawal added.

It has since exploded into a movement, happening regularly in Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Toronto and Washington.

It’s also growing to other cities worldwide (Austin, Barcelona, Berlin, Dallas, Dubai, Lisbon, Mexico City, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Diego, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Vancouver… just to name a few).

The event draws between 300 to 500 people on average, but sometimes larger events are held on boats or in music halls that can fit 800 attendees.

As far as the music goes, each DJ varies depending on where you are in the world. The events I've attended have also included a brass band.

“We always like to bring local flair to our experiences and we also have a few wonderful resident DJs too who really get our vibe,” Agrawal said.

In addition to the cardio sweat you get from dancing, DAYBREAKER also holds a morning yoga session before the dance party kicks off. I don't regularly do yoga, but I will say it was an extremely satisfying way to stretch out and ease yourself into a morning dance party.

The cost to attend is $35 per ticket, or $25 to just dance. Your ticket includes dancing, food, healthy juices, coffee, tea and a room full of “glass half full” kind of people.

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