On a recent Friday afternoon, Billy De Lace cleared a patch of McCarren Park, leveling the dirt and grass for his weekly dance party. The dance party is called RebootNYC and with it De Lace hopes to provide a substance free space for dance and movement during the pandemic. Since summer 2020, De Lace has dedicated time to clearing an area of McCarren Park , setting out concentric circles of orange hula hoops, spaced six feet apart, all surrounding a speaker, in anticipation of the raves he organizes.
Some of the participants of the movement circle know each other from sober rave groups in New York like Daybreaker and Ecstatic Dance NYC. One goal of these dances is move without any judgement of yourself or others. There is no touching or talking in the dance circle and as everyone begins to move freely, a feeling of euphoria can take over the space.
At the beginning of the evening, De Lace, dressed in a sweatshirt and face mask decorated with his concentric circle design, gives a speech to all participants about his expectations. “No one touches anyone here,” he says and asks participants to not bring any alcohol into the space. All participants are asked to keep their masks on and maintain a six foot distance from each other. Over the course of the night, passersby hear the music and approach the dance circle. The circle “literally acts as a web and grabs people in,” De Lace says.
“It’s not about how we dance, it’s about moving through everything that’s going on,” said one regular participant, Edyta Halon, who knows De Lace from the Ecstatic Dance community.
Another participant, who comes to North Brooklyn every week from Bensonhurst said he keeps coming to ReBootNYC because, “It’s a release, it’s a community, it’s a safe space and it’s medicine.”
To join in on the dancing, follow RebootNYC on Instagram where De Lace posts updates about the weekly event.