Morning Glory: Rave your way into the day

Raving without the hangover? Our writer tries out early-morning danceathon that gets you upbeat for the day ahead

“Feel the love, guys! There’s so much love in the room! This is your space - join us!”

And I do. Positively high on “the love”, I make my way to the stage, sweaty and psyched. Next thing, I’m throwing wild shapes in front of 200 people beside a centaur and a pyjama-clad dj. Did I mention it’s 7:30 in the morning and I’m stone-cold sober?Hundreds turned up to rave their way into the day (Carys Lavin)

Welcome to Morning Glory, the early-morning dance experience that encourages Londoners to “rave your way into the day.” The premise is simple: you turn up at an East London warehouse at an obscene hour and shake your money maker like nobody’s business until it’s time to go to work.

Cutting a rug on a fully-lit dance floor without the aid of alcohol, never mind the freakishly early start, might be a hellish concept for many, yet the event, which has been running since last summer, is frequently sold out.

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Its organisers, events producer Samantha Moyo and bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes, believe there is an increasing demand for “conscious clubbing” – being present in the moment so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience. Devotees of Morning Glory say it leaves them feeling inspired, creative and invigorated for the rest of the day, as well as being a damn good workout.

With mindfulness the wellbeing buzzword of the moment, I had to go along to see what all the hype was about. A stickler for punctuality, I tore myself out of bed at 5.30am, sans caffeine, make up and a coherent thought in my head. It was still dark when I arrived at the Bethnal Green warehouse, where a steady trickle of glitter-festooned ravers was already forming a queue for the cloakroom.All kinds of people turned up to get grooving first thing (Noemie Bottiau)

On entering the dance hall, I immediately perked up. The vibe was distinctly
festival-y: bunting everywhere, tealights in jam jars and an energising mix of sandalwood incense and freshly roasted coffee beans. I was thrilled to see a cart laden with croissants, pastries and my favourite legal stimulant. (There’s also a smoothie bar to accommodate the more virtuous reveller.)

In one corner, tables were laid out for free massages, while yogis limbered up on mats in another (how anyone can get their svanasana on to The Chemical Brothers is a mystery to me).

Three people I suspect were hired dancers were already strutting their stuff, though in a relaxed, non-competitive way. By 6:45am, I was tapping my feet on the sidelines to the infectious mix of house, disco and occasional rock, and by 7am, I was in the middle of the dance floor in full uninhibited flow.

I wasn’t the only one who had taken temporary leave of their senses. Around me, unicorns in neon paint shimmyed with Indian chiefs. There was tie dye, dressing gowns, even a mermaid. I stood out like a sore thumb in my branded spin gear.

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There’s no routine to follow – you simply do your own thing, either alone or with friends. After a while, you begin to feel entirely unselfconscious and surrender yourself to dance (yes, I actually just said that).

What I love most about Morning Glory is the diverse crowd it attracts. I’d anticipated a too-cool-for-school Shoreditch set, and yes, there were hipsters, dancers and art students in abundance, but I also spoke to accountants, construction workers and besuited bankers.With smoothies, DJs, coffee and massages, revellers enjoyed a different start to their day (Noemie Bottiau)

Matt, 24, a consultant in the City, came along with a friend. “The sober part doesn’t phase me,” he told me. “I’ve been out without drinking before and this is just a really fun way to start your day. Plus, there are changing rooms so you can head straight into work afterwards.”

Sarah, a 31-year-old nurse, is a regular at the event. “For me, it’s quite a healing experience. I can really express myself. You feel a bit self-conscious at first but then you let go - it’s amazing.”

There was even a trendy toddler in tow (wearing the obligatory festival earmuffs), entertaining amused onlookers with his stylish romper suit and slick moves.

The fun continued until 10:30am, but I reluctantly had to leave early for a meeting. I’ll definitely be back, though. It surprised me how upbeat and focused I felt the rest of the day. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to board the tube with a load of grey-faced commuters dressed as half-man, half-mythical creature just yet, but who knows? Until last week, it would have taken a lot more than a skinny cappuccino to get me twerking a perfect stranger.

The next Morning Glory takes place on 26 February. Earlybird tickets from £10 at