4 Jun 2015

Boogie down while the sun comes up

9:05 am on 4 June 2015

At a time when most people are reaching an arm out of bed to hit the snooze button, about 90 early risers hit the dance floor in the capital yesterday for a morning rave.

Getting up at the crack of dawn and trudging through Wellington’s notorious horizontal rain for a boogie sounds like a ludicrous idea, but organiser Bart de Vries says the Rise & Shine dance parties are taking off all over the world.

“The whole movement started about two years ago in London with a crew called Morning Gloryville,” he said.

“The main thing is really throwing everything on its head. It’s taking what we’d usually do on a Friday and Saturday night and doing it sober on a weekday morning.”


The dawn dance parties are now happening in more than 20 cities around the world, from Amsterdam to Bangalore, Tokyo to New York. 

Seeing the global rise of the yoga-infused, smoothie-fuelled morning rave movement, Bart got together with Connor Boyle and Simon Cooke and launched Rise & Shine locally.

“We rang up the Morning Gloryville guys and said ‘hey we want to do one of these in Wellington, how do we do it?’ They helped us a lot, but their business structure isn’t planned for smaller cities so we decided to do our own version.”

As well as yoga and smoothies, their version included face painting, free coffee and of course DJs pumping out bangin’ beats for the dancing punters.

“Everyone has volunteered their time, from the yoga instructor to the masseuses,” Bart said.

“This event was fully bootstrapped, but eventually we want to turn it into something makes a bit of money with all profits going towards tackling child poverty.”

The 28-year-old considers himself a social entrepreneur, but before launching Rise & Shine, Bart worked as a physiotherapist.

“I quit my job about eight months ago. I wanted to spend more of my time working on solutions rather than catching people at the bottom of the cliff. I was just seeing the same problems coming up every day.”

Problems that, according to Bart, are brought on by increasingly sedentary lifestyles, a lack of information about nutrition and narrow ideas about what counts as exercise.

“We need our perceptions around movement and healthy eating to be challenged, and what better way than this? Movement should be fun, even ridiculous.”

Bart and the team want to turn Rise & Shine into a monthly event as well as spreading it around the country. They've already had people "keen as beans" get in touch from Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland.

“What we want to do is get more people dancing because, not only the physical impact, but the emotional and mental impact dance has on people is phenomenal.”

Story produced by Mava Moayyed. Video shot and edited by John Lake

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