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Daybreaker's two-hour dance parties happen around the world, morning or night
Daybreaker's two-hour dance parties happen around the world, morning or night | © Andrew Rauner
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Dance Away Your Stress at This NYC Rave

Picture of Salma Abdelnour
Updated: 10 October 2018
An early-morning dance party followed by a sweaty commute to the office doesn’t sound like the best way to start a weekday. But it could be the smartest mental-health decision you make all year.

On World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2018, you’ll have a chance to test-drive the impact that two non-stop hours of dancing can do for your state of mind. That’s when Daybreaker, the company behind the global morning-rave movement, returns to New York City to host one of its hugely popular dance parties. But the event, to be hosted at Williamsburg’s William Vale Hotel, will be one of Daybreaker’s rare evening parties, so there’s no need to set your alarm for the crack of dawn. The event kicks off with yoga at 6pm, followed by dancing from 7pm to 9pm. If you get hooked, you can sign up for one of Daybreaker’s upcoming morning events to get the full experience.

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Thousands of people around the world dance at Daybreaker | © Andrew Rauner

Daybreaker’s philosophy is simple: dancing lifts your mood and motivates you to tackle the day and night. The idea is also backed by neuroscience. Dancing triggers the brain chemicals dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, along with endomorphins, to create a cocktail Daybreaker’s team tags with the handy acronym DOSE.

Running, spinning and other workouts trigger those happy chemicals too, but “what makes dancing at Daybreaker totally unlike any other morning fitness routine is that it’s expressive, and connects every attendee to an inspiring local community,” says Daybreaker’s co-founder Ratha Agrawal. “The exercise of self-expression, the playfulness and the engagement with other humans makes it incomparable to a morning running or a spinning class because you can’t help but smile,” she adds.

A designated Daybreaker ‘hugging committee’ greets every guest, to trigger your ‘cuddle hormone,’ oxytocin. There’s also an MC on hand to create what the website describes as “transformational experiences for people who have never danced sober in the morning before.”

The Daybreaker movement – which kicked off at New York City’s legendary Coffee Shop in Union Square in December 2013 – now rallies thousands of people worldwide to attend dance events in 25 cities and counting. Daybreaker’s morning parties typically start with an hour-long yoga session at 6am (in some cities it begins as early as 5:30am), and the dance party starts right after. Make sure you bring a change of clothes and deodorant if you have plans afterward, or find somewhere else (your gym?) to take a shower since there are none available at the events.

Daybreaker has become a global phenomenon
Daybreaker has become a global phenomenon | © Andrew Rauner

The Brooklyn event on October 10 is timed for sunset, and if weather permits, it will involve spectacular views of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s skylines. After the 6pm yoga hour, Dutch DJ Alex Cruz kicks off the dance party at 7pm. Wear flannel if you have any; this party’s theme is Flannel Festi-Fall.

Want to bring a Daybreaker party to your hometown? If there’s no event already planned in your city, you can contact the Daybreaker team and offer to produce one. At least 2,500 people are required to sign up to ‘unlock’ a new city. Atlanta just got greenlighted for an upcoming event, and Berlin, as of press time, was just 25 people away.

Wednesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. To highlight this, Culture Trip is looking at how different societies are shining a light on this important issue in innovative and alternative ways.

The content of this article is provided for general information only and is not an attempt to practise medicine or give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. The information contained in this article is for the sole purpose of being informative and is not to be considered complete, and does not cover all issues related to mental health. Moreover, this information should not replace consultation with your doctor or other qualified mental health providers and/or specialists. If you believe you or another individual is suffering a mental health crisis or other medical emergency, please seek medical attention immediately.

If you are experiencing mental health issues, in the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. You can contact the mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk. Please note there are no affiliations of any kind between the aforementioned organisations and Culture Trip.