Leisure & Culture #12

Dancing to Your Own Beat In a Crowded Room

Silent Arena

Written by RMM
Photos by ©Silent Arena

Imagine entering a room where hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people dancing to their hearts’ content. Someone is moving her arms and feet to what seems to be thumping bass beats; another group of people, nodding their heads furiously to a faster, frenzied rhythm. The same curious sight binds them all together – they’re all wearing headphones, and the entire venue – save for a few frenetic shuffles across the dance floor – is quiet.

Welcome to the Silent Disco.

First dreamt up in an obscure Finnish science-fiction film from the sixties, ‘silent discos’ have come a long way since then. It has evolved from being a far-fetched, futuristic pipedream, into a way eco-activists of the nineties staged ‘anti-noise pollution’ events. Most modern silent discos can trace their beginnings to the 2005 Glastonbury Festival, where headphones were used to share music without violating local noise restrictions. Recently, the term has even gained a hallowed spot in the Oxford Dictionary!

While there are an increasing number of specialists and companies who dabble in silent events, Silent Arena is one of the leaders that go out of their way to create the perfect silent disco experience for party-goers. Based in the UK, their passion for wireless music has brought them around the globe. Like many other silent disco providers, Silent Arena events usually have at least two DJs present – each of them spinning their own unique set for participants to choose from. It creates the illusion of choice, where each member of the crowd is in control of the music and experience. Don’t like what one of the DJs is playing? Switch over to the other channel and groove to a new set of tunes.

So what’s the appeal of dancing to a beat that only you can hear? For a generation of people raised on instant connectivity, on-demand mobile entertainment, limitless cable networks and rampant channel-surfing, Silent Arena-type events are ideal platforms for modern partygoers to be in control of the most important part of a party: the music. Also, people who want to enjoy the music with none of the typical party problems – drunk-screaming over the music or terrible sound systems – will find headphones pumping music right into their ears to be a welcome change.

You probably can’t dance like no one is watching, but at Silent Arena events you could certainly dance like no one is listening. Especially the neighbours.

Silent Arena Website: http://www.silentarena.com

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