What did you do this morning? If you’re one of a growing number of Millennials, you might have kicked off your day with a pre-work dance party. Daybreaker is hosting these energetic, unorthodox events around the world. One Millennial shares her experience and the appeal of this “morning movement.”
Consider for a moment: How much money would someone have to pay you to wake up at 5:00am on a Tuesday, get dressed in costume, travel across town, engage in sweat-inducing physical activity for two hours, and then head to work? Exorbitant amounts of money, you say? Well, more than a handful of young souls across the U.S. and in parts of London and Brazil are actually paying for this type of enjoyment, and spreading this “morning movement” to cities around the world. Meet Daybreaker, a morning yoga session turned dance party that is guaranteed to wake you up in a way never before imagined.
The idea for Daybreaker was born after a night of similar partying that left Matthew Brimer, 27, and Radha Agrawal, 35, exhausted and wondering if there was a way to benefit from a club atmosphere instead of repeating the same pre-game, party late, wake hung-over routine. Both Brimer and Agrawal are entrepreneurs, co-founding education and children’s media programs before joining together to organize Daybreaker. The a.m. dance parties were built as a morning workout meets social gathering for likeminded Millennial peers. Brimer notes: “It’s about having an incredible experience to kick off your day [and] it’s all about the community and the people in the room.”
The dance floor is usually my spot on any given night out, but I try to avoid the see-and-be-seen crowds and bottle service business that most nightclubs cater to. I had heard about Daybreaker from both a colleague and friend-of-a-friend who are constantly on the lookout for new cultural experiences in and around New York City. What makes Daybreaker different is its focus on health and energy—no alcohol is served at the event, and consumption of liquor or drugs pre-party is especially frowned upon. I couldn’t help but smile at how much fun Daybreaker’s social pages made the events look, and it didn’t take much convincing for my roommate to buy a $40 ticket along with me. Waking up at the crack of dawn, we traveled from our apartment in Bushwick to a bar in Midtown at 5:30am on a Wednesday morning, puffy eyed and with yoga mats in tow.
Greeted at the door by smiling faces, we stashed our winter gear and laid down our mats for an hour of serious stretching with 60 other morning enthusiasts. Given that we were trying to find Zen on the floor of an otherwise sticky, beer-filled sports bar, I was thankful to the Daybreaker team for such a clean yoga space. Instead of shots and bottles, lined across the bar was an array of water, coffee, juices, and shakes, filled with ingredients like kale, papaya, coconut milk, and chia seeds. At 7 a.m. we were juiced up and ready to go, feeling the music with plenty of space to move. A half hour later there was a steady flow of people arriving, and by 8 a.m. the bar was packed to capacity, everyone moving, dancing, and sweating it out with little care.
Mind you, electronic dance music this was not. ‘70s and ‘80s groove-inducing beats pumped through the sound system, inspiring people to bop, bounce, sway, pop, lock, vogue, and form dance circles around those who were confident enough to salsa or breakdance. That’s the thing about Daybreaker, it’s inclusive, inviting, and most of all encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone, or at least away from the wall. In a nightclub’s total darkness one can surely hide, but here on the dance floor at 8 a.m. you look crazy if you’re not getting into the scene.
The element of surprise was always turned on. A small brass band would emerge in the middle of the crowd at various times to play along with whatever the DJ was spinning. Two men dressed in suits, known as The Haiku Guys, sat off to the corner typing up poems on the topic of your choice. (My roommate’s was sushi, mine was big booties.) Girls dressed in their favorite festival wear, headpieces, and face paint twirled with hula hoops on tables. TVs played footage from past Daybreakers to show everyone the type of hype that was expected. We chatted and danced with fellow Daybreakers, all in their 20s and 30s, some first timers like us and some avid followers of the event, all looking for a physical and mental energy boost to make the day that much better.
We felt forlorn to leave at the 8:30am peak time, but the duties of daily life called, and to our offices we went. Between meetings and emails we obsessively refreshed our Instagram feeds, checking #daybreaker to see just what we were missing. Glowing jellyfish puppets floating above the dance floor. Someone in a large carrot suit and another in a tomato costume, engaging the crowd in a limbo line. Thanks to the modern thrills of social media, we kept the party going through secondhand enjoyment, tagging one another in the images that popped up. Even though the workday was almost identical to the one previous, I had more energy and felt more enthused with a pep in my step and a pump up jam in my head. Yawning (a common morning ritual) is contagious, this we know. But as I’ve realized from the Daybreaker crowd, so is smiling, and it doesn’t wear off quite as easily. Since each event offers a different experience depending on the day, location, and attendees, Daybreaker is something I plan to drag friends and co-workers to on repeat, introducing new groups to the morning movement.
Whether it be a 7a.m. dance party before work, or a weekend at an adult summer camp, Millennials are finding ways to insert wholesome fun into their every day lives. They are looking to regain that feeling of being a carefree kid, even if just for a short period of time and using these outlets to help make the real world more manageable. At the same time, Millennials are gravitating towards cultural experiences that have been pre-planned and are ready for them to jump in (just add Instagram). We see Millennials—especially those in urban areas—participating in everyday events that take the planning off their plates, give them access to something unique, make socializing turnkey, and perhaps just as importantly, add something new and envy-inducing to their social feeds.
Jillian began her studies in fashion, but through a sustainable textile research project discovered her passion for consumer insights. She graduated summa cum laude in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at the University of Delaware, and set her sights on Ypulse, starting as an intern before joining the team full-time. As a self-proclaimed cultural animal, Jillian enjoys uncovering more about her generation by being immersed in all things Millennial. If given a super power, mind reading would be her first choice (in a non creepy way), so pursuing a career in market research is a close second.