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Credit: Daybreaker

I hadn’t danced in ages when I went to Daybreaker at Space Ibiza, 637 West 50th Street on Wednesday.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and feared that I would be out of place and misfit.  I arrived at 5:30am; early enough to be the third person in line.  The first person in line was a gentleman in his 50’s in a polo shirt and some cargo shorts.  I wondered about being in the right place until I noticed the person between us slapping on temporary glitter tattoos and a rainbow headband.  Her name was Kay, she had been there before, and her advice was, “get a few of the good drinks first before they are gone.”  Bottles of cold brew coffee, juices, and coconut water were provided for everyone, free of charge.

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

They opened the doors and Rachel, one of our hosts came out in her rainbow suspenders and loud tights with glitter on her eyelids.  “You are always the first in line!” she squealed to the man in the polo shirt.  I asked if she had been working there long and what could I expect.  She had been with this party for over a year and informed me that it was “sometimes yoga, sometimes Mark Fisher Fitness and always a dance party.”

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

People streamed in (Kay seemed especially eager to get situated) and like every other group fitness class, the laying claim of the dance floor with yoga mats had begun.  It seemed to be a tight fit, but unlike some other group classes I have attended, there was a sense of cooperation and accommodation about the group.  The blinds were up and the black room was filled with sunlight.  I had always thought of this as a sad, end-of-the-party, image, but people were basking in it, relaxing into place and waiting for the workout to begin.  Most people brought their own mats, but there were some provided as well.  There wasn’t a coat check available, so I kept a tight grip on my belongings.  Other people didn’t seem to mind leaving their bags scattered across the room.

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

“Good morning NY!  Are you ready to get sweaty?”  Chris, the instructor from MFF, shouted from the front of the room.  The sea of brightly colored, rainbow spandex came to life.  They whooped and cheered and YAAAAAAAAAAAAS’d as Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out began playing to welcome Gay Pride week.  Today’s special Pride edition of the party was titled Gaybreaker.  The party had been planned well in advance, but in light of the recent Orlando massacre, a portion of the profits were being donated to Equality Florida.

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

The workout started with basic calisthenics.  “In that squat I want your knees wide and slutty!” rang above the music and everyone dropped their butts at once.  Some people moved with the music and the instructors.  Others moved at their own pace or even in their own manner, just happy that they were moving around this morning.  This was the fun and zany attitude of Mark Fisher fitness that lets “ridiculous humans” be themselves as they get healthier.  The workout was geared to all fitness levels, with movement able to progress or regress as needed as dictated by the students athletic levels.  Everyone sweat, and everyone smiled.

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

When the high intensity session ended, people proclaimed their joy and rolled up their mats. Some people put on even more glitter.  Some put on twinkle lights.  Some people remained in their workout clothes.  There were cute guys in thin silky shorts or tutus or unicorn tights.  There were hardbodies and curvy people, all glistening with sweat.  And there were women in rainbow flags, sports bras, or…  business attire?  Did she just work out in that? I thought to myself.  She had on sensible sneakers with her office clothes just like Tess McGill!

There seem to be almost as many people working to make this event happen as there are participants.  I couldn’t understand if this was the popular scene that I had heard about.  The blinds descended and at 7:15, it felt as though it was night again.  DJ SIGALA was spinning and the lights kicked into high gear.  People seemed to multiply.  More and more men and women in crazy costumes or workaday clothes were showing up and soon the crowd had tripled in size.  The place was jumping.  I still wasn’t making my way onto the dance floor.

It wasn’t until 7:37 that i finally got to dancing.  A kind gentleman by the name of Jason struck up a conversation and then just grabbed my hand and led me onto the floor.  My backpack was getting in the way, and he convinced me to get rid of it in a corner.  “It’ll be fine here,” he assured me.  The more I danced, the more comfortable I became.  All of these people who had an entire work day ahead (including myself) were celebrating love and pride and their bodies.  People jumped up and down, wiggled and laughed, and danced their butts off for an hour and a half before they had to head out and put them in a chair at the office for 8 hours. I met Mark Fisher, I drank tons of coconut water, and danced with Jason for an hour.  Live musicians: trumpets, saxes, violins, joined in with the DJ and bubbles surrounded me on the dance floor.  The entire experience was a lot sexier than I expected for a Wednesday morning.  It brought me out of my shell and I even did a shot of juice on cam with a reality tv series that had been filming there.

Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan
Credit: J. Benjamin Ryan

I left Daybreaker feeling really special.  My backpack was untouched, I was drenched in sweat, and I had a confident smile on my face.  I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to party like that before their workday, but now I get it, and I am wanting more.  I had one of the best days after that experience.  Not because I drank something great, or I had the hardest workout ever, but because I was happy to be alive and awake and enjoying the sunshine.  I didn’t need to crash after a long night of drinking.  I was productive and smiling all day.

More information on Daybreaker can be found on their website at http://www.daybreaker.com.  Their next NYC event, Yellow Submarine, will be held on August 5, in collaboration with Hornblowers Cruises & Events Pier 40.  A morning dance cruise?  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!