‘Go out’ before you go to work: Morning rave dances its way into the District

WASHINGTON — Most adventures that involve flashing neon lights, electronica beats, break dancers and acrobats with hula-hoops usually end in the early hours of the morning.

But in the case of DAYBREAKER, that’s when the party is just getting started.

Founded in 2013 by Brooklynites Matthew Brimer and Radha Agrawal, DAYBREAKER is an alternative to the typical drug- and alcohol-filled nightlife scene.

“We both thought to ourselves: Could there be a better way to connect with the community through dance?” says Agrawal, a community organizer who grew tired of the “dark” side of going out.

The answer was “yes.”

DAYBREAKER has all of the elements of an epic night out, including music, energy and a carnival-like flare. But instead of winding down at 6 a.m., it starts at 6; and instead of alcohol, organizers serve coffee, tea and green juice.

When the event ends, the only thing partygoers leave with is energy to power through the workday. (Read: No hangovers and no regrettable one-night stands.)

“By not having all of the traditional trappings of night life — meaning nobody is belligerent, the guys aren’t trying to take girls home and nobody can go home because everybody’s going to work — it has this really warm, positive, open-minded, openhearted energy,” Brimer says.

Since its inaugural event in New York, DAYBREAKER has expanded to several cities, including San Francisco, Austin, Tel Aviv and D.C., where it made its debut in June.

On Wednesday, July 29, DAYBREAKER is back — this time at Union Market’s Dock 5. The event starts at 6 a.m., with an hour of yoga. At 7 a.m., the doors open for a two-hour dance party, led by DAYBREAKER resident DJ David Hôhme.

But don’t expect the typical dance party. In fact, Brimer says the experience is more like participatory theater than a rave.

Every 15 minutes or so, organizers send a new “surprise” out to the crowd. This surprise could be a break dancer, a drum line or a violinist.

“A DJ can get people to dance with beats and with a sound system, but merging in all of these other artistic elements really makes it this comprehensive immersive experience,” Brimer says.

“I think there’s something very visceral and human about people waking up and letting go and being in the moment and dancing and smiling and being together with other people.”

During the last 15 minutes, the crowd quiets down and reads aloud from “intention cards,” which feature questions, quotes or words of inspiration. Then, the audience is treated to one last performance from a local or emerging artist. At the end of the event, attendees leave with an intense cardio workout under their belts and a sense of renewed energy.

“It should make you feel awake and alive and joyful and positive and allow you to connect with other people,” Brimer says.

While DAYBREAKER attracts mostly millennials and young professionals, Brimer says the event is open to everyone. He’s seen babies and 60-year-olds present at previous events.

“It’s almost more of a psychographic than it is a demographic. It’s for people who are willing to break some rules, to do something out of the ordinary — to dance their face off before going to work,” he says.

“There are no judgments, there’s no negativity, there’s no exclusiveness, there’s no drugs and alcohol that are making people messed up. It’s just good vibes.”

Tickets to the July 29 DAYBREAKER event are $35 for yoga and the dance party (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. — bring your own mat) and $20 for just the dance party (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.). Drinks and refreshments are included.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up