I got high on cacao at an ecstatic dance rave

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Love dancing but hate hangovers? You need to follow in DOSE writer Lucy’s footsteps and get to a sober rave. She went to check out one of London’s ecstatic dance events where cacao is very much the new cocaine…

As we left the dance floor I looked at my friend Angie, her eyes shiny and wild underneath her sweaty fringe, and hazy memories of all the festivals, nightclubs and questionable raves we’ve been to flooded my memory. But this time something was different. Our heads felt clear, we could remember every single moment or interaction from the night, and there would be no day written off tomorrow or sense of impending doom on Monday morning.

Still, we were giggling uncontrollably and I felt high as a kite. Maybe from the endorphins, maybe from the Cacao (raw chocolate) drink we’d consumed which, as the organiser Seth Newman says is the ‘ultimate heart opener’, gives you the energy needed for a night of ecstatic dance after a week of work.


When we first arrived at 8pm on a Friday night, having walked through swathes of already half-cut Camden revellers, I wondered what the hell we were doing and the urge to dive into the nearest pub for a nerve calming drink was real. The dance room in the venue was decked out like a party or rave with fairy lights but not nightclub dark, and we could clearly see lots of people already ‘going for it’. Which surprisingly, doesn’t come naturally at first in a room of total strangers when you’re stone cold sober and come straight from the office.

The dance is guided, so Seth on the microphone encouraged us to be more expressive, use body parts you wouldn’t normally think to move or welcome a stranger through the medium of dance. The first ten minutes of this was mostly a minimal two-step and fits of awkward laughter with my friend as we relaxed into throwing our bodies around the dance floor to the music without the effects of alcohol. Some were dancing like us, others were throwing out some wild moves, straight into not giving a crap what they looked like. Which, although hilarious, holds more power than not being able to let go and dance.


Seth, a former music teacher, encouraged the group to dance with other people, and this was a good ice breaker. The no talking on the dance floor rule was one of the craziest things about the experience. It cuts out any ‘what do you do?’, ‘where do you live?’ or small talk completely and puts everyone on the same level. The diversity of the event was amazing with about 50/50 men and women and a real mixture of ages. Most in their twenties and early thirties but we spotted young students and pensioners.


Photo: URUBU School of Transformational Arts/Ecstatic Dance London

At 8.50pm, we all stopped and were served raw cacao. Cacao revitalises your body and mind inviting us to express, release and unleash our creativity on the dance floor. It has forty times the antioxidants of blueberries, is the highest plant-based source of iron and it’s full of magnesium for a healthy heart and brain. It also has more calcium than cow’s milk ands a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. Better than wine, then. We drink the chocolately liquid together with Seth encouraging us to shout out an affirmation as a group to call into the dance. Sound a bit hippie? Yeah, it is.

I’d recommend the experience to anyone wanting to try a sober night out. Many parts of the night were what I wish ‘normal’ clubbing could be like. No aggression in the air, being hit on by drunk idiots or time wasted queuing at a bar. Genuine interaction with strangers on a bizarre, deep human level and finding a true joy in movement to music and letting go (once you get past the first awkward 10 minutes). If you love dancing on a night out, then this is that feeling on steroids.

By Lucy

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