(A big thank you to the talented Sara Wass for the photos. Check out her work here!)
I had first read about Daybreaker on Fast Company (the one place I go to quite frequently and happily follow on Twitter for news and interesting things). The article title and hook (by Rebecca Greenfield) was “What a Sober 6 a.m. Rave can do for You.” Being the 22-year-old girl that doesn’t drink, loves to dance, and embraces mornings, I had to read the article.
And I wasn’t disappointed. I read Daybreaker founder Matt Brimer’s quote in the article: “Nightlife can be exclusionary. It can be judgmental. It can be dark.” About 2.5 seconds later, I signed up for the Daybreaker email, and I waited. About a week after that, I received an invitation to a Daybreaker event in Brooklyn. It just so happened that two of my five sisters were flying into New York and would be there for the event. I called Meg. 5.5 seconds later, I bought three tickets to the DayBreaker in Brooklyn.
Meg, Misty, and I had set our alarms for 5:00 a.m. In order to have enough time to strap on our sports bras and make it to Williamsburg by 6 a.m. for an hour of yoga before the rave started.
Five in the morning might seem pretty early to wake up for a little do-si-do, but I was so excited I found myself wide awake at 4 a.m. The whole concept of Daybreaker appealed to me. I kept thinking how cool it would be to come together with people who were willing to dance without the alcohol to defend their embarrassing dance moves. I had chosen a job that required me to work nights because I prefer to be out and about during the day—mornings have always made me smile. To have a social event before the sun rose was like a dream come true. A little yoga to warm up before I broke it down on the dance floor was just the cherry on top.
After my excitement for dancing in the morning somehow fell back onto thoughts of my ex and my very raw broken heart, the 5:00 a.m. Alarm rescued me from my lonely thoughts. All three of us threw off our covers. I geared up with shiny patterned leggings and a neon headband. Meg and Misty wore more pastel-colored things and didn’t think much about it in their half-asleep movements.
It was dark even by the time our train arrived. We walked in the dark. It was unusually warm and the air was just humid enough to be called sticky. Once we reached the right block, we started to see more and more people gathering in front of the entrance of Verboten. We walked right in. I gave them our names, they gave us tattoos on the wrist and we continued on.
The venue was amazing. The DJ set up was front and center. Super comfy and thick Lululemon mats were being handed out (which worked out great for my sisters who were just visiting). It was dark, but through the rainbow lights and disco ball, I could see that the bar was decked out in bottled drinks—water, veggie juice shots, juice, teas… I whipped out a mat and my sisters and I found spots at the front. Yep. We were just that excited to be there. Or at least I was. Misty might have still been waking up.
The yoga class was taught by Francesca Valarezo. She was amazing. She kept me motivated through her own positive energy. She was beautiful, sassy, and everything I needed in a yoga instructor to keep me going at 6 in the morning. I ended up talking to her later that morning. We exchanged emails and she reached out to me promptly the next day with more info on her yoga practices and uplifting words in an email.
And then the yoga session ended. As soon as the last yoga mat was rolled up, people started to conquer the dance floor one step at a time. There was no fear. There was no hesitation. There was just music, and movement, and… love.
For the next two hours, I was on the dance floor with my sisters and everyone else. I had been to a club before, but this was completely different. Everyone wanted to be there. They had woken up early and come out to have a good time, and it was easy to see that. The atmosphere was extremely positive and energetic. Everyone was dressed colorfully. They were smiling and embracing each other. I felt like anyone in the room would support me in whatever adventure I set out to do that day. It’s really hard to explain how connected I felt to everyone in the room. I got a kind of tribal vibe, and felt that I wasn’t with just a few random strangers but with a community of happy people. I have to say that the staff was very friendly and inviting. Also, The Golden Pony killed it up there with the music. Every bit and piece of that morning made the morning leading up to that first cup of coffee powerfully uplifting.
It was the first time in New York that I forgot about corn mazes, drives with the sunrise, and hurtful truths. I wasn’t thinking about work that night or my unfinished novel. I wasn’t thinking about paying rent or eating one too many cupcakes. I wasn’t thinking about how cold next week would be or why he never called.
I just danced with Brooklyn until we broke the day open.