I never thought I’d go to a wild dance party on a boat at 6 a.m., but now that I have once, I can’t wait to do it again.
I’m not into electronic music at all, but I was inspired by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who has said that his experiences going to raves shaped his view on the world and ultimately helped him build his company into a billion-dollar business.
Could I get the same “experiential epiphany” squishing into a room with a crowd of strangers to dance to music I don’t even like?
Daybreaker, a monthly, early-morning dance party that attracts techies and startup employees from all over New York, sounded like the perfect way to try to find out.
Daybreaker was hosting a Halloween-themed extravaganza on a boat that started at 6 a.m. Business Insider colleague Melia Robinson and I decided to check it out and see what all the hype was about.
Waking up at 5 a.m. was a struggle, but we successfully dragged ourselves out of bed and started 'rave-ifying' ourselves with the requisite gemstones and glitter.
It was still pitch-dark outside by the time Melia and I left at 5:30. Our taxi driver was incredulous when we told him what kind of event we were going to.
The boat started loading from New York City's west side at 6 am, and we realised we were in the right place when we started spotting some crazy costumes.
Daybreaker decked out our ship, the 'Hornblower Infinity,' with its logo and pretty purple lighting.
A Daybreaker rave usually costs $25 for a 'land party,' but since this one took place on a boat, it was $35.
We snagged some free cold brew coffee and juice. With that, plus the overwhelming brightness of everyone's costumes (and attitudes), we finally started feeling awake.
'No one drinks, no one does drugs, but everyone leaves so happy!' one woman who had gone to previous parties told us. 'It gets you pumped up for the rest of your day!'
The boat had three levels: You could join the main dance floor in front of the DJs, dance and watch the scene from above, or hit the roof outside.
The music started thumping. 'We're gonna wake the day up! The sun ain't even up yet and you're already gonna sweat!' one of the DJs boomed over the speakers. The woman without the bangs is Radha Agrawal, one of Daybreaker's founders. The other is her twin sister.
Some people clearly came with big groups, but others didn't. The vibe felt incredibly inclusive, because everyone was flashing big smiles as they danced (if they weren't wearing masks, that is).
On one side of the dance floor, a group of three sat with typewriters. You gave them a word, and they'd write you a custom haiku.
'Can you feel the love in this room right now?' the DJ shouted. 'This day is a choice, and we choose to be happy!'
All the positive energy felt infectious. It was easy to get lost in the combination of frenetic joy and blasting music. Melia showed off her moves.
One Daybreaker enthusiast, Hunter Vurbeff, has gone to every event thrown so far. 'The energy, the people, there's just nothing like it,' he says. 'It's the absolute best way to start your day.' Here he is tearing it up.
The DJ instructed everyone to sit down in front of the stage. Slam poet Anis Mojgani recited an amazing poem called 'Come Closer.'
A woman named Elena Brower then led us in meditation, guiding us in reflection on being grateful, compassionate, and kind.
'May we remember the sweetness of being together in song and dance this morning. Take that spirit and the love and joy and energy forward into the world and into your life.'
After nearly three hours of crazy dancing, we were a little bit sweatier but a lot happier than we expected to be after waking up so early.
As we all filed off the boat, not only did I feel a million times more energized than I usually do on Thursday morning at 9 a.m., but the positivity, warmth, and energy lasted all day long.
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