I spent exactly 10 years in the clubbing scene. I’ve visited all kinds of locations all over the world, listened to different DJs and genres, met hundreds of clubbers, created intense memories. Clubbing has been a huge part of my life, and the main way for me to create new friendships.
I always loved music, and even more electronic music. What I always hoped to find in a club was a place for me to express freely, feel welcomed and accepted. And that’s exactly why clubs were born: to create a safe space for people who didn't have one.
But are now clubs really like this? In 2016, I fell in love with Berlin because of its free-spirited clubbing scene, and for a while, I thought I had found the answer. However, as far as I enjoyed it, I still couldn’t feel completely comfortable. I still experienced loneliness, disconnection, ego, drama, darkness. I still experienced arrassment and discomfort. I still could feel myself wearing a mask, adjusting to certain standards or expectations.
Are Clubs The Safe Space We Look For?
Clubs have been closed for 7 months now because of the pandemic. It's the longest time I ever spent without clubbing. I feel more lucid, and my mind is clearer - no clubbing means no drinking - and I’ve been wondering if it’s time to move on.
Not because I’m “too old” - you are never too old for dancing - but because I’m not sure if, in clubs, I ever found what I was looking for. I’m starting to think that, probably, that little girl who fell in love with electronic music 20+ years ago and used to spend hours in her room dreaming about connecting with people through music and dance, ended up deluding herself.
I used to dream about a place where everyone could let go, where you could find a new family, where everyone was welcomed and accepted, where people could mix freely, and where it was all about music. Not the way you look, not the way you dance, not the way you dress: just letting the music guide your body.
We Are All Just Looking For Love
When you are a clubber, dancing is your medicine, and clubs become your second home - if not the only home you have. Clubbing people are all beautiful humans craving for love and meaningful connections. I know it because I spent time observing them, talking with them, getting to know them, and trying to create a deeper connection, even if just for one night.
I wonder if, as clubbers, are we actually able to find in clubs what we're looking for. I wonder if we have been all just escaping from our wounds and disconnecting from each other rather than creating love and connection. Do we really want to dance and honor the music, or we just want to keep chasing the high? We seek relief through dancing but I’m not sure if we’ve been really feeling better.
We consume alcohol or drugs because, if sober, we would be too ashamed to show up as our real selves without any masks, to move as we really wanted to move, to express our emotions, and truly connect with each other. We make ourselves unconscious because facing ourselves is just unbearable.
So far, we've been thinking that partying and being on a dancefloor are just one and the same, and the only way for us to come together. But what if music, just music, and dance, just dance, are the things we need? What if we could just drop the drugs and the drama? What if music and dance were enough for us to release our emotions, connect, and soothe our wounds? Shouldn’t dance be a support to our health, wellness, and connection to what’s really essential in life?
A New Way Of Dancing
It may sounds almost impossible to experience a more conscious and sober way of dancing inside the current clubbing scene. It’s hard to go to a club and try to meet people in a conscious and sober way when most of them are drunk or high. You just want to get drunk and high as well.
Once the lockdown forced me out of clubs, I missed dancing so much that I felt the need to search for other possible ways. I came across a worldwide community of people promoting a more conscious way to dance. And, funnily enough, I found a community like this in Berlin - yes, in the capital of clubbing.
I discovered spaces and events where free-form dancing is encouraged. I experienced profound journeys just through movement, music, and also stillness. No alcohol or drugs, only a group of people meeting and dancing with clear intentions: reconnect with their bodies and their emotions, and create a sense of connection to each other and to the world.
At first, it was hard to let myself go without a drink in my hand. Then, I started feeling that the energy in the room was completely different from what I was used to. It felt more real, raw, exposed. I was free to be myself: I could dance, stomp my feet, shout, feel all the range emotions and express them - nobody would have looked at me in a weird way. And nobody would have tried to hit on me, and for a woman, that means a lot. I felt completely accepted and safe.
The feeling of being able to enjoy music exactly as I used to when I was a kid - with total freedom, explosive enthusiasm, and no substances - it's been priceless. Not only I was having a lot of fun, I was also liberating myself.
About Conscious Dancing
If you love to dance, I encourage you to take some time to learn about this new way to express yourself through movement. Even if you don't like dancing, give it a try: you will find that allowing dance to become a form of self-care can really benefit your overall health!
There are many forms of conscious dance. Some are based on a connection to an ecstatic experience, others are based in mindfulness, and still others are based in deep trance. Whatever the pathway, conscious dance is about going out of your mind and reconnecting with your body in a free and creative way. It can be done by anyone regardless of physical ability, age, or prior dance experience. The only rules are: dancing barefoot, no alcohol, no talking, and respecting each other boundaries.
So far, I tried three different form of conscious dancing: Ecstatic Dance, 5Rhythms®, and Chakra Dance. Ecstatic Dance is all about guiding dancers through a journey - the DJ uses a sapient mixing of different genres and tempo to create ascending and descending waves. 5Rhythms and Chakra Dance are more structured - 5Rhythms is divided in 5 distinct sequences corresponding to 5 music rhythms, in order to express 5 main emotions (fear, anger, sadness, joy and compassion), while Chakra Dance has 7 different moments, each one addressing one of the seven major chakras.
If you are wondering how to partecipate to one of these dances, the best way to start is by searching for classes and events in your city - the worldwide community is constantly growing, and you can find new events being published every day on Eventbrite or Facebook. You can also join one of the many online dances happening on Zoom: you will be surprised to see how technology can create a safe space between people from all over the world. And, by connecting from the comfort of your home, you will immediately feel called to start incorporating more dancing inside your space and your daily routine!