I hope I’m not the only one who fights between the pleasure of getting lost in beats and a strange feeling of loneliness whenever I go to a club.
In times where individualism reigns, it is normal that electronic music has been so successful and still remains as one of the biggest musical expressions for more than 40 years. The times might have changed, but this urge to dance, “shake the demons”, and quiet the mind for a little while to join something bigger, is the same.
What did change and we should miss, is that sense of true liberation. There were not so many egos or mobile phones on the dance floor as they are now, and what mattered was not who had the best outfit or the most expensive table at the VIP. What mattered was dancing. And if you don’t believe me, here is a video of a rave in the 90s.
It’s curious how “rave” means so many things: to talk incoherently as if one were delirious or mad; an angry, uncontrolled way; someone or something that inspires intense and widely shared enthusiasm—and finally—a lively party involving dancing and drinking. It probably comes from the Middle Low German reven, which means to ‘be senseless, rave’. And, all its meanings are true.
Today, we gather to worship the DJs, those almost-mythological-beings who look at us from the top of their cabin and channel through their bodies the music that brings us together and makes us share the same feeling. We no longer look inward, we look at them. People take a lot of pictures (ridiculous photos they will never publish because it is impossible to get a decent one in the dark, in motion, and most of all, in altered states). But we still dance.
Unlike other cities like Berlin or London—where ravers who attend a party behave like a real community and go around the different spaces chatting and meeting their mates at parties that last 2 to 3 days—people who go dancing to the clubs in Ibiza do not know with each other (mostly, of course). So, this feeling of loneliness gets stronger.
Groups are more closed, which is not to say it’s not fun. But it is important to reflect on how we relate to each other. And confront this reality that is to be among strangers, and encourage us to talk and share more, to look into the eyes, to allow a connection even if it is momentary but sincere, and above all, respectful. In the end, what matters and we must remember is that we never really dance alone: we dance with ourselves.
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Also published on Medium.