Like a rave, but for old boring people?
September 15, 2015 12:47 PM   Subscribe

So, at the relatively advanced age of 36, I've realized I really enjoy (several subgenres of) electronic dance music, and that I also really enjoy dancing now that I'm actually bothering to learn. Where can a non-drug-using, generally introverted (but not shy) person go to indulge this newfound enthusiasm?

This might be a long shot, but as someone who long assumed "going out dancing" was 100% Not My Thing, I'm really curious as to whether there's anything out there I'd actually enjoy.

My problem is that I like EDM, and I like to dance (I'm learning Melbourne Shuffle, and it's SO much fun!), but I get horribly claustrophobic in crowds and can't deal with being 'trapped' by groups of people.

I DO love dressing up in ridiculous costumes and leaping about with no regard for grown-up dignity, and while introverted, I am NOT shy, I will happily hang out with interesting strangers. I love the idea of going around trading plastic bracelets with people, etc., and I am a sucker for a good light show, or anything involving blacklights and strobe lights and glowy things. So it's not that I'm a total stick-in-the-mud square...I am quite capable of, even prone to, egregious displays of exuberance.

All that said, I don't use (or have any interest in using) recreational drugs, and can't stand cigarette or pot smoke (they both give me a headache and make me feel ill). In general I prefer to be around people who really are there for the music, not people who go somewhere to take drugs with the music being more of a background element. So basically anything involving huge, touchy-feely festivals is probably out, as is any sort of club environment where you are guaranteed to end up with strangers sweating all over you. (I won't judge you if you're into any of that, but it's not for me, and I don't want to cramp your style!).

That leaves...what? I have no idea, hence the question.:)

I'm thinking maybe my best bet might just be to stick to dancing around my driveway with headphones on or possibly checking out events that are described as being okay for families with children (I don't have children, but 'family-oriented' often seems to mean there's less of an expectation of loose boundaries).

I'd consider going to a club or show, but only if I could make sure in advance that there would always be a clear path to the exit, and/or areas a person could go to get some air every so often.

Are there any other introverted dance enthusiasts out there? If so, what signs do you look for to determine whether you'll be able to stand being at a thing or not?

I'm in the South Bay/San Jose area, if it helps. Thanks!
posted by aecorwin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
What you want is Ecstatic Dance.
posted by youcancallmeal at 12:52 PM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I know a lot of people who like Daybreaker. It skews a little mid to late 20s so you might feel a touch old but I wouldn't avoid it for that.
posted by zutalors! at 1:18 PM on September 15, 2015

Yes, seconding ecstatic dance or any conscious dance practice. There are probably a lot of options in your area, so you might want to see if any of them skew toward the music you like. The ones I've been to played plenty of electronica, but also play classical, folk, blues, rock, etc.
posted by megancita at 1:23 PM on September 15, 2015

Best answer: Seconding Daybreaker and Ecstatic Dance. Check The Burning Man scene too. It's definitely drug-friendly, but you absolutely don't have to do drugs, and folks involved tend to be pretty welcoming, IMO. I'm sure you could find some Facebook groups if you searched around. The outdoor parties or festivals especially tend to be less crowded.

Also, a bit of a different tip, but you might look into 5Rhythms and Gaga, both dance systems for building bodily awareness and freedom. Both are great.

And read This Chair Rocks! I'm about your age. We're just getting started, friend.
posted by vecchio at 1:34 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are there any Silent Discos in your town? I would assume so based on your noted location. In my experience, these events are not drug fueled and are okay for families. They are also usually outside, in my experience.
posted by dchrssyr at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far! It sounds as if there might be hope for this endeavor.

Ecstatic dance sounds *close* in the sense of there being an expectation of everyone respecting each other's personal boundaries, but honestly it sounds like it might lean too far in the other direction (no talking AT ALL?). I'll have to do some additional recon, but the tip is appreciated.:)

Daybreaker seems like it would be more my speed -- I'm even one of those obnoxiously perky morning people. Will definitely be on the lookout for that sort of thing!

I've never heard of a silent disco, but will google. :D
posted by aecorwin at 2:01 PM on September 15, 2015

Morning Gloryville is another event like Daybreaker - there's on in SF, though not the south bay.
posted by brainmouse at 2:05 PM on September 15, 2015

Best answer: Ive worked some outdoor raves, including some big names and big crowds. I'm sure this can vary wildly, but in general there were big crowds directly in front of the stage and bathrooms but aside from that a lot of open space
posted by Jacen at 3:31 PM on September 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love dancing and am also not a natural crowd person. (I'm fine with them now, but when I was young, I'd get so overwhelmed I'd sometimes faint [no substances involved].) I think you might miss out on some good music if you avoid clubs altogether. Not all venues are horrific sweatboxes - ask around, read some reviews, maybe check a few out. Show up right when doors open and almost no one's there (ime lots of nights don't get going until late), to feel out the space and get acclimated. You can always leave, at any time.

Just like with outdoor festivals, if you stand to the side or back of the room, you can usually carve a space for yourself (unless it's a hugely popular night or the place is tiny). Bring earplugs - this practice reduced my sense of physical overwhelm by a ton. If I'm feeling it's a little much, I have some water, or go outside or to the bathroom, or leave. IME, lots of people are really just there for the music/particular DJs/to dance - I know plenty of people who don't smoke or even drink at all - and most music-loving crowds are really friendly. If you know someone (or get to know someone, easy to do at these things - or sometimes if you just email the promoter in advance), try to get on the guest list so you don't have to wait in line (or not for too long) beforehand. Avoid any place with a dress code (although sometimes it's worth it, depending on the music.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:11 PM on September 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Looks from your profile that you are a woman. You might like you want Dance Dance Party Party! Not sure if there is a branch near you.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 1:56 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I won't threadsit but...cotton dress sock, that is super encouraging and useful information.:D It's especially reassuring to know that staking out a spot by the back/wall might still work in musical venues, as that's one of my go-to strategies for pretty much all potentially chaotic social environments.

I did actually attend a few larger-scale events in my teens (heck, I saw Guns N Roses with my dad in 1992) and did okay at those, it's just been so long and I didn't really dance then, so it was a lot easier to plant myself in the wallflower zone and stick there.:P
posted by aecorwin at 3:19 PM on September 16, 2015

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