The Get Down @ Cielo

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I haven't "clubbed" for a long time -- I don't like stay up super-late (even on weekends) and dance clubs are not really my scene. Mostly I stay within my 5Rhythms cocoon, regularly attending Tuesday and Friday classes in Manhattan.

However, I have followed Tasha Blank for years as she's DJ'd at more holistic spaces in the city. She started with Get Your Dance On first at Brooklyn Bowl and then at various yoga studios, and over the last year she has been DJing at The Get Down at Cielo.

Cielo is an EDM dance club in the meatpacking district, where the doors don't even open until 10pm. But The Get Down starts at 7, so that you can enjoy the clubbing experience and still get a decent night of sleep before going to your 9-5 job (if that's your lifestyle). But unlike the yoga studio dance experience, at Cielo you can drink (in fact you need to be at least 21 to enter) and you have to wear shoes.

I showed up shortly before 7 as the 1/2-hour pre-dance meditation was wrapping up. I felt in my comfort zone because a great number of people at the event were familiar faces from 5Rhythms classes or other dances hosted by Tasha. The music was great -- other DJs were Soultek and Sascha Lewis, and they were accompanied by live violinist Jourdan Brandt and vocalists (for lack of a better word) Akil and Elana Meta.

The floor got more progressively packed as time passed (it's not terribly large to begin with) so I danced at a peripheral location for a while and then edged myself back in. And then the vibe shifted. There were people on the dance floor holding drinks in glasses. (Maybe I just haven't been to a dance club in ages, but who brings glass onto a dance floor?) One glass broke and a few people helped pick up shards. And then more and more "civilians" started entering the space.

I know I am probably just being judgmental, but it seems to me that there are Dancers and then there are Muggles. Anyone who regularly goes to 5R is to me a dancer. He is not dependent on alcohol to allow himself to move freely. She doesn't just stand in a circle on the dance floor with her friends. As more and more "normals" joined the floor, I felt less and less comfortable. (To begin with, I don't feel terribly safe around the combination of "traditional males" and alcohol consumption.)

Another element of the evening that had its pluses and minuses was when the same subset of people would take turns dancing in the middle of a circle, usually doing B-boy or hip hop moves. I'm all for spectacle, but after a while it just seems like a form of grandstanding, not to mention disruptive when there's not much space on the dance floor to begin with.

All in all, I danced for a good 2 1/2 hours to excellent music around many people from my dance community, so it was overall a positive experience. My assessment is that if it were not in a real dance club, most of the negatives described above would not have been present. But I can see how The Get Down reaches that "happy place" for dancers who miss the clubbing experience but don't want to be up until 3am to do it.

Last built: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 2:05 PM

By Jeffrey Kishner, Friday, May 16, 2014 at 9:10 AM.