Daybreaker brings its early morning dance parties to Playa Vista
By Lara J. Altunian
Getting up in the morning for work is hard enough for some people. Now imagine rolling out of bed before the crack of dawn to attend a 5:30 a.m. dance party.
I was barely feeling awake when I arrived at the CTRL Collective co-working space in Playa Vista for Daybreaker L.A.’s Fall Whiteout Party on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Now happening in 13 North American cities as well as London, Paris and Hong Kong, Daybreaker parties start with quiet yoga but quickly transition into high-energy dance parties with live entertainment and about two hours of loud, bumping music. This one would be no different.
An organizer greeted me with a welcoming hug at the door, and inside the yoga class was already in full swing. About 40 people dressed in white to match the theme were doing sun salutations while it was still dark outside.
“I assume everyone here is not a morning person,” said instructor Reace Daniel, whose entertaining combination of traditional movements and playful twists had everyone jumping in circles and introducing themselves to one another mid-stretch. “My job is to try to get people excited about the morning — to open up their minds to the idea that getting up early can still be fun and give you enough energy to get through your day.”
As soon as Daniel was done, DJs FDVM (French duo Florent Denecker & Victorien Mulliez) cranked up the electronic music which had been playing at a soft roar pre-final Namaste. Within minutes everyone was clearing their mats, putting on their shoes and getting ready to hit the dance floor.
The idea of Daybreaker just seems so L.A., right? But it actually began in New York four years ago, when Radha Agrawal and Matt Brimer started looking for a way to counter self-destructive late night party culture. After achieving success in their hometown, they began looking for partners to help spread the love. Here in L.A., Argine Ovsepian and Andre Herd are Daybreaker’s main organizers and co-producers.
“It’s like a morning rave,” said Herd. “It’s much cleaner though. Here we promote starting healthy with pure dancing and live entertainment to get you pumped and ready to take on the rest of your day.”
Another thing sure to help everyone stay alert is Daybreaker’s no drug and alcohol policy. The closest thing to shots were fermented Kombucha tea drinks, which newly arriving guests in fluffy costumes and accompanied by Olaf dolls downed faster than the coffee they didn’t seem to need after the music picked up.
You might think that getting up that early to move your body to electronic music would be something only a hip, younger crowd would be interested in. But this was 62-year-old Domingues Begalli’s third Daybreaker party, and he drove all the way from Irvine to enjoy the exercising and music.
“The energy is not out of control,” said Begalli. “It’s very enjoyable, and it’s been growing.”
Playa Vista’s event was a bit on the “smaller side of average,” according to Ovsepian, with about 200 check-ins as the room kept filling up with eager faces of all ages. Regardless of size, there were never any lulls as the emcee and organizers made sure to keep the stamina going: initiating conga lines, throwing surprise trumpet players into the mix, bringing out an electric xylophone. Herd and Ovsepian even led a group dance while dressed in furry animal onesies.
Amidst the smiles and sweat, everyone’s response to me asking “What are you going to do after this?” was “I’m going to work and then crash when I get home!”
I felt refreshed when it all ended with parting hugs, but I wish I’d gotten an extra hour of sleep the night before to keep me from napping halfway through my day.