One recent Wednesday morning I got up 6am, pulled on my new Solow leggings and Nike trainers, packed my corporate clothes in my backpack and set off for a nightclub on the west side of Manhattan. Space Ibiza pulls in thousands when it regularly hosts international DJs. But this morning, Space was a sober zone and hosting a party of a different kind.
DAYBREAKER is the new fitness movement taking over the US and beyond, that sees punters lining up to get their groove on as the sun rises over their city. Instead of bootcamp they’re booty shaking and moodboosting while knocking back coconut water and protein bars for fuel.
I’d heard about the new wake up call and was keen to check it out. It’d been a while since I’d hit a dance floor and I’m always up for a decent sweat and some good tunes. But I was sceptical, were people really going to turn up to this? As daylight cracked open a weekday? Yep, they turned up en masse. As I walked down 50th street, with the Westside Highway in the distance, I clocked a throng of guys and girls in sweatpants and capris, brightly-hued tanks and designer sneaks lining up outside the mega club. And there were already plenty of punters inside who’d turned up for the 6am yoga session as I discovered when my girlfriend and I climbed the stairs and entered the club.
We were welcomed by blurred vision and the sweet smell of disco smoke wafting over the pulsating sounds of deep house music. Hula hoopers twirled in cages book-ending the DJ, an MC rapped into his crystalized mic and fit-mad, early-rising New Yorkers jumped and gyrated in unison. The atmosphere was magnetic.
Before hitting the floor, we swiped a few drinks from the bar counter – all included in the $20 cover – and surveyed the area for a piece of groove ground amidst the crowd of artists, office workers, students and hipsters.
Described as “alcohol free but full of spirit”, DAYBREAKER aims to promote love and mindfulnees in an uplifting, energising environment. “DAYBREAKER is about dancing before daybreak with people we love, about curating a community of camaraderie, self-expression, wellness and mischief,” say co-founders Matthew Brimer, 28, and Radha Agrawal, 36, who brainstormed the idea over a falafel two years ago.
“You know when you leave a nightclub and feel depleted? We wanted to turn that concept on its head,” Matthew told the New York Times.
While Radha says, “It started out as a social experiment and an art project where wanted to answer a few questions like, would people wake up in the morning to dance? And would they want to dance without alcohol? And would it bring people together in a more meaningful way?”
So far they’ve held events in NYC, Washington DC, LA, San Francisco, London and Sao Paulo and have plans to go global. So the answer to their questions seem to be well and truly answered.
While I thought my clubbing days were over long ago, this was way more enjoyable than pounding the cement on a morning run or climbing the stairmaster. And enlightening to know you can get just as juiced in a dark nightclub without throwing down shots as you can with. Indeed, it feels much better to walk out sober, into the day, high on life.