For most people, going clubbing is inextricably linked to being a nocturnal activity - they’re not called nightclubs for nothing after all. But a new breed of dance party is looking to change all that by introducing Hong Kong to the concept of morning raves. Free of alcohol, drugs and other negative influences sometimes associated with clubbing, these health-conscious events are striking a chord with people looking to dance up a storm before breakfast.
Two events in particular - Daybreaker and First Light - have captured the imagination of the city’s early birds over the past six months. Both launched in October, each combine wellness elements with a live DJ and dancing session.
Started in New York in 2013, Daybreaker is arguably the world’s most famous morning dance event and now takes place in 16 cities worldwide. Hong Kong-based model Rosemary Vandenbroucke says she was inspired to bring the event to Hong Kong after meeting Daybreaker founder Radha Agrawal at the Further Future festival in Nevada. “People are becoming more health-driven and I thought this would be such a great way to wake the city up and shift people in a very positive way,” says Vandenbroucke. As well as a two-hour dance party, the first Daybreaker event also included yoga, capoeira, body combat and aerobics.
Inspired by similar events in Europe, Gert Jan Mattens decided to launch First Light in his adopted city. “I wanted to give the people of Hong Kong a break in their week, a moment and a space to escape from their daily life,” he says. “The reason we do it in the dark is because it takes away any kind of inhibitions that people may experience.” Like Daybreaker, First Light is not just about dancing and to date has featured crystal singing bowls, gong-playing, guided meditation and even group hypnosis in tandem with a DJ session.
The two events have quickly found a dedicated following, with more than 500 people attending the inaugural Daybreaker at PMQ in Hong Kong, and First Light is proving popular enough to run fortnightly. Each attracts a mixed crowd of mainly 20 and 30-somethings.
“It’s the perfect place to go on a date,” says Mattens. “I’ve seen people kissing at First Light, so it’s definitely a good idea!”