Cape Town’s city centre is already wide awake by 6am. People scuttle past me on the Grand Parade on their way to catch their bus or train. I’m wide awake too, and on my way to the Castle of Good Hope. I’ve been to this Mother City monument before, but that was years ago and it was wasn’t to dance at dawn.
I shiver in the morning chill as I join a group of strangers walking towards the centuries-old building. We’re handed headphones and head over to join an increasingly odd bunch stretching on the Castle’s lawn. The theme is Zombies and Vampires. Some people have dressed up, others are in gym wear and a few look like serious clubbers. It’s a 6am witching hour.
So where am I? Secret Sunrise, the dance party that goes down every two weeks or so in a new secret location, and boogies its way into a new day. We’re on a large lawn space, blocked from the outside world but with Table Mountain peeking over towering walls. There are no rules at Secret Sunrise events and we’re all part of the organised chaos. We start with a warm-up, a slow stretch. There’s a nineties rave track playing in my headphones – and Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller will make an appearance a later.
I look at these beautiful Capetonians around me. Some are a little awkward at first, some are flying free. All quickly lose their inhibitions and start focusing on the aim of the morning: having fun.
The voice of our instructor-cum-personal guru is clear in my headphones, and I watch him at the front, all calm and leader-like. Lie down. Partner up. Clap hands with one another. Go solo again. Hip thrust your sexy self. Jump up. Dance like no-one’s watching. Be a zombie. Catch someone’s eye. Show them how sexy you are – you rule that dance floor, babe.
Next to me, a black-clad vampire is doing cartwheels. I wonder what his story is… Turns out he’s a professional dancer. “This is what we all need,” he tells me. “Every day! We need to move and we need to connect with each other.”
It doesn’t matter how fast you run, how high you jump or how hard you dance. Doing only a little is fine, but inevitably the music and people sway you into giving yourself a rather kick-ass workout. The instructor gives a little spiritual push, though. “If you give someone a compliment, you make someone’s day. Take this positivity with you into your day today and to every person you meet,” he urges. Following his instructions, I smile at the person next to me. Looking around, I find others are doing the same, and the more we smile, the freer we dance. We’re morning vampires. We’re alive. We’re free.
Want to greet the day with a dancing session with a difference? Find out more about Secret Sunrise and the next session here.