Where to Shake it This Summer: Five (Nearly) Free Dance Parties

Dancing in the dark at No Lights No Lycra. Photo: NLNL

Any bar with an iPod and room to move has the potential to erupt into a spontaneous dance party–have you ever been to Duck Duck on a Friday?–but if you’re looking for a guaranteed good time getting your groove on, a bonafide dance party is your best bet. Unleashing your inner maniac on the dance floor feels even better when doing so costs less than the price of a drink, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most tried-and-truly affordable dance parties taking place in Brooklyn right now. Whether you want to be a dancer in the dark, sway in a silent room with strangers or pump it up Polynesian style, we promise, you can dance if you want to.

You Don’t Have to Settle
OK, so if you’re not into nightlife, but you still want to do some dancing this summer Consider heading to Quarter Bar because You Don’t Have to Settle is taking over the South Slope watering hole every Sunday, starting June 29, to host an outdoor dance party during the day. The tunes will start at 3pm and center around a different theme each week. This Sunday’s party is all about being on a boat–a big boat–as the DJ collective is throwing a yacht-themed party. So come as the Captain or Tennille, and prepare to spend an afternoon sipping cocktails and dancing to some of the summer’s best tracks while surrounded by nautical knickknacks. Best of all there’s no cover and no chance of getting sea sick.Jordan Galloway

Tiki Disco
A resigned sigh was heard all over North Brooklyn this year as Tiki Disco, the outdoor party that started in Roberta’s backyard in 2009, announced it would not be returning to Roberta’s, the Rockaways, or The Knockdown Center this summer (okay for some neighbors that was likely a sigh of relief). Even with increasing crowds, it attracted a pretty mixed group of groovers from all over the city, united in their love for neon, dancing, excellent music, and equally wonderful drink deals. Sure the lines were horrendous (at least at Roberta’s, I never made it to Rippers), but if you arrived early, sun-blocked, and hydrated, you were guaranteed a good, sweaty time. Fortunately, the sighs turned to cheers when Tiki Disco organizers announced that after an opening party at the Well on June 1, there would be three more Tiki Discos taking place this summer: one at The Well on June 29 and two more on the roof at Williamsburg’s Output on July 5 and Aug. 2. The bigger new settings come with a $10 ticket price, which while not as nice as free, is a far cry for $30+ cover charges to see some DJs in this city. Plus you’ll spend more time dancing and people watching, and less time waiting, which alone is worth the $10.Ilana Novick

Brooklyn Contra
The slogan of this easy-going, inclusive series is “if you can walk, you can contra,” and that’s just the encouragement even the most rhythmically challenged among us need. Even if, like me, you enjoy dancing but realistically have only two moves that supply more enthusiasm than they do skill, Brooklyn Contra (which we profiled when they started up a few years back) is here for you. Contra dancing is a form of group folk dancing. The parallel lines of couples and partner swapping, as well as the callers who guide you through the dances are reminiscent of square dancing, but contra has a little bit of swing dancing in its heart to keep things interesting. The Brooklyn dances, which are hosted roughly monthly, at various locations, draw dancers of all ages and skill levels, though if you’re a beginner it’s wise to attend the beginner lessons at the start of the night just to get up to speed. Be prepared to dance with strangers (everyone is super friendly, we even know a married couple who met contra dancing), bring shoes with a soft and smooth sole, and get ready to learn some new moves. Dances cost $15 for general public or $12 for students and include a beginner’s lesson.–IN

Silent Disco
Silent disco has cornered the market on quiet clubbing–making everyone wear headphones is a helluva lot easier than adhering to local noise ordinances, am I right? It also happens to be a lot of fun. These roving dance parties have popped up everywhere from rooftops in Astoria to the Staten Island Ferry, the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Party goers select from several different types of music, which is pumped through their headphones, allowing everyone to dance to the beat of their own drum (or moog as the case may be). For the most part, access to the Silent Disco will only cost you $5 if you choose the early bird option; otherwise tickets can jump to $35. Their next nomadic dance party on June 27 starts in Manhattan and ends in Coney Island, taking in the fireworks and breaking it down on the beach. The night sounds totally worth the $35 price tag, which includes transportation, drinks and a guided city tour. Silent Disco also has a number of other parties this summer–like a flash mob tour in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Aug. 15.–JG

No Lights No Lycra
It’s possibly because it takes place in the auditorium of an old church in Greenpoint, but heading to a No Lights No Lycra dance party on a Tuesday night feels strangely similar to attending a school dance–people self-relegated to small groups, standing against walls, near a raised stage in the back or hovering by the door, just in case this whole thing isn’t as cool as it’s claimed to be. Trust us. It’s worth a few minutes of awkwardness because once the lights go off–this dance party is true to its name–it’s the most fun you can have in an alcohol-and-drug-free environment. The free-form dance party does indeed happen in the dark, which makes it less about impressing other people with your sweet skills, or, inversely, embarrassing yourself, and more about being able to dance without inhibitions, like you would with nobody watching say the dance party’s co-founders, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, who started No Lights No Lycra in Australia in 2010. Check out our interview with them here. These dark dance parties now take place all over the world. Laura O’Neill started Brooklyn’s chapter back in 2011. The 90-minute lights-out events start at 8:15pm and cost $5.–JG

One Comment

  • This is a pretty awesome guide. In general, I think Brooklyn Based is a great resource for Brooklynites like myself who are trying to get better acqauinted with Brooklyn (even though I’ve lived here my whole life) or just learn about where to go to have fun and possibly make some cool new Brooklyn friends, which I really NEED more of!