I Went to a Sober Tantric Rave
I Fucking hate dancing. With a capital F.
The apex of my dancing comes annually and is usually just a series of power-slides across some sticky dark dancefloor after just the right amount of tequila shots (think: 12? 13?).
As I sat in my dorm room bunk, I really wanted to challenge myself: What can I do with my time in Bali that is a bit off the beaten track? What are some new and creative ways to bring shame to my family name?
Enter Google. God bless Google. How else would I have found out about the wondrous Indonesian venture of steam-cleaning my vagina whilst getting a shoulder massage? Bless.
A few searches later, I stumbled upon a reasonably underground activity in Ubud: Sunday morning rave. My immediate dismissal accompanied by an eye-roll had decided my fate for me, Fuck dancing. If no amount of drugs, alcohol, or insanely good ____ (insert best music genre OF ALL TIME) had inspired me before, I sure as shit was not about to set my alarm for 9am on a Sunday to go do it sober.
Hmmm… “challenge myself”, I second guessed. Fiiine.
Flash forward 36 hours, this time in my Ubud hotel room. The raging impromptu house party I hosted last night (aka a handful of half-drunk dickheads sitting around drinking Bintang longnecks on my hotel room bed while “listening” to music through the minuscule speaker of my sole technological device) has now crippled any minimal motivation to challenge myself via the avenue of dancing. I fumble amidst empty chip packets and strewn clothes in a desperate search for my water bottle. Success. In between violent gulps I glance over at the clock: 9:47am (whoops). What I lack in will to live is compensated by the idea that how horrible I feel combined with my hatred for dancing might at least create some sort of dismal comical outcome. Welp, here I go.
This Sunday morning rave is held at the Yoga Barn, and is limited to 150 morning-people, so the website recommends arriving an hour early to queue amongst these ambitious souls fighting to obtain a ticket. I, naturally, am donning sunnies and praying nobody tries to strike up a conversation.
After handing over 13 of my last 20 dollars in the name of transformative, self-reflective dance, I sit and eagerly (…) wait.
Fuck this, I think to myself, so, so much granola.
My head is on a swivel as I watch the yoga-pant-clad asses (not restricted to any one gender) pile onto the dancefloor. The bass shakes the treehouse-like structure, and then my ribs as I enter.
The DJ, thankfully, is not horrendous. I cling to the edge of the dancefloor like a pimply teenager and look on while people begin to syncing their limbs to the rhythm.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuc… okay. Just do it.
Like jumping into a Double Dutch jump rope, I nod to the music until I can persuade my body to catch up. I start out with only dance move my body can naturally recall, which is unfortunately the white man’s overbite accompanied by some incredibly awkward churning motion with my arms.
As my moves grow just a little more outlandish, I begin to notice everyone else’s are as well; there are people blowing into each others’ ears, biting each others’ nipples, tossing each others’ limp bodies around, you name it. I have to hand it to them, maintaining rhythm whilst performing such acrobatics is both a seriously impressive endeavour and sight. Flabbergasted, I am well and truly not quite sure if I walked into an establishment called the Yoga Barn or straight onto the set of Jesus Christ Superstar.
At any rate, I just try to focus on this so-called transformative experience.
I close my eyes and just go for it. My arms are up, then down, the soles of my feet are stomping the floor to the beat, my hair spraying sweat onto myself and others and, all of the sudden, this becomes a rave: a real-life, fuck-yes, high-five, “sweet moves!” rave. Suddenly the people in the room become less alien (or perhaps me more so) and the connectivity between human and music gains a sense of fluidity that I previously failed to recognise.
Am… am I enjoying this? I think to myself in the lull between songs.
The question becomes inane when the beat drops and my thoughts flutter away into endorphins. As you can probably imagine, the remaining time I spend dancing blurs the colours of my awareness into a painting of euphoria. We eventually wind down with subdued melodies and assorted stretches, when a startling epiphany infiltrated my freshly cleared mind: this was the highest I have ever felt not on drugs. If dancing releases adrenaline in normal people, it suddenly becomes clear I require the strongest kind on the market to have a similar effect.
And at that very moment, as if in a movie, it begins to rain.
Fuck yes. With a capital F.