I attended a silent dance session, and I think I'm a convert now

PHOTO: Her World Online

I'm pretty sure we've all seen the memes floating around online. Throngs of people dancing while wearing headphones, and yet the only noise that others could hear was the awkward squeaking of shoes.

So when I came to know about Secret Sunrise and its rising popularity in Singapore, I was intrigued. All the knowledge I had about silent dance parties were from those viral videos online, so I didn't exactly have the best impression of this phenomenon.

PHOTO: Secret Sunrise Singapore

However, the more I researched, the more my interest grew. Secret Sunrise holds regular events that take place at either sunrise or sunset, at a variety of locations around the country.

Although these places are very diverse (they've held sessions at Haw Par Villa, Botanic Gardens, the top floor of Marina Bay Sands and more), they all have one thing in common - nature, and a spectacular view of the sunrise or sunset.

PHOTO: Secret Sunrise Singapore

With these hour-long dance sessions, Secret Sunrise aims to give participants, dubbed Sunrisers or Sunsetters, a chance to connect with others and nature, while celebrating the joy of life, music and movement.

When I saw that Secret Sunrise would be holding a sunset dance session at Gardens by the Bay's Floral Fantasy attraction, I decided to take the plunge. After all, how bad could it be?

The session would only be about an hour, and hopefully, the gorgeous blooms all around would help me feel more at ease. Still, I decided to go with a companion, for a sense of comfort and familiarity.

PHOTO: Her World Online 

Upon entering Floral Fantasy, we were handed a pair of adjustable Secret Sunrise-branded headphones for use during the session. We could also pick any spot of our liking. Some sat on the benches, while others plopped themselves down on the floor. Most wore colourful activewear, although we did spy some dressed as dragons, unicorns and fairies!

Once everyone arrived, the friendly facilitators dove right into the session. They put on some upbeat music, which everyone grooved to. I won't lie - I was feeling rather hesitant, but seeing how the other Sunsetters had so easily let loose, I was encouraged to do so too. If you're thinking that your subpar dancing skills will cause you to stick out like a sore thumb, fret not.

The facilitators (and participants, as a matter of fact) were so warm and welcoming that I quickly felt at ease, although my repertoire of dance moves was small.

PHOTO: Her World Online 

We danced around the entire venue, and I loved seeing the pretty flowers all around while we busted out some moves.

The types of music played during the session varied from the classics and recent pop hits to catchy instrumentals, but they were all easy to dance to. Along the way, the facilitators provided guidance by speaking into microphones which were connected to our headsets.

Some people showed off some impressive dance moves, although there were plenty others who were just bopping along to the music. Thankfully, at no point did I feel like I couldn't keep up. To my surprise, I worked up quite a sweat too, despite the cool temperature of the place.

At certain times, we did feel breathless when the beats were fast - there was a song which we were encouraged to do an Irish dance to - so afterwards we slowed down to a simpler move that was less exerting. Throughout, we were just encouraged to be ourselves and move any way we wished.

PHOTO: Her World Online 

Nearing the end of the session, I no longer felt shy and awkward like I had at the start. I danced without inhibition, grooving to the music with my entire body. What a stark contrast to the beginning, where my moves were mostly limited to hand motions!

I actually really liked that we were wearing headphones, rather than listening to booming music being blasted throughout the venue. (Remember just how noisy clubs can get with the chatter and environmental noise?) This way, there was little ambient noise, and it was just me and the music.

The hour we spent dancing among the flowers actually flew by, and it was nearly over before we knew it. At the end, the music slowly transitioned to affirmations which focused on reminding us to let go and live in the present.

And to bring us down from the high, some soothing background music was played too. For this part, the Sunsetters either took a seat or lay down on the ground to relax.

PHOTO: Secret Sunrise Singapore

The past few weeks, I had been caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and hadn't had the chance to take a moment to focus on the present. The affirmations were welcomed, as they gave a much-needed reminder to let go and just live in the present moment.

Unexpectedly, I did not feel exhausted after the non-stop dancing. I actually felt… liberated and invigorated, to my pleasant surprise. When dancing, I was simply focusing on the present and by doing so, I had actually unknowingly given my mind an overdue break.

My perspective on these silent dance sessions had definitely changed, as I now saw why someone would go for such a session. It was a great opportunity to forget all my troubles and just live in the moment while moving to some catchy tunes. Just you and the music, it's pretty liberating!

PHOTO: Secret Sunrise Singapore

Besides Singapore, Secret Sunrise has a presence in South Africa, where the movement was founded, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Mauritius, Switzerland, Mexico and more.

Secret Sunrise Singapore's next session will take place at 7pm on June 24, Friday, at CapitaSpring, in the heart of Singapore's vibrant Central Business District. Book your tickets here. If you're interested to find out about Secret Sunrise's events in other cities, find out more here.

ALSO READ: Affordable dance classes under $20 per class: Ballet, hip-hop, K-pop & more

This article was first published in Her World Online.