The Treasure Island Drum Circle might end at sunset, but the party doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. If you feel like dancing after drumming, head over to the Conscious Disco Club (CDC), organized by Don Solo. The group meets every Sunday on the beach behind the parking lot across from Publix.
According to Solo, setting up near the drum circle was a conscious choice, as a significant number of drummers head to CDC following the drum circle.
“[The] music is clubbier and keeps the energy and the vibes going from the drum circle, which is a very high-energy and a higher tempo, hypnotic rhythm.” Solo hires DJ Dharmadrum for the free CDC events. DJ Dharmadrum sets up a speaker, but if you want a more singular listening experience, and freedom to roam the beach, headphones are available to use for a donation.
“Conscious Disco Club is more social [than dancing in clubs], even though we ask for no conversation, but it’s more outward. Basically, more of a party, but just with more conscious guidelines. Guidelines that in the end make it safer, and more enjoyable and a better party for everyone in the end,” Solo said.
Solo also leads Ecstatic Dances on Upham Beach on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., and while he incorporates similar elements into CDC, there are some variations between the two styles.
Ecstatic dancers gather in a single space, while CDC dancers can explore.
Ecstatic dance focuses on a meditative and introspective gaze into oneself; Conscious Disco Club is a social, club-like dancing experience.
Both forms of dance refrain from alcohol use, drug use, smoking, photographs, and conversation and, instead focusing on a consent-based environment, but Solo said he can only enforce those rules inside the designated disco space (a roped off 300-foot space on the sand), and not the entire beach. But, according to Solo, if someone wishes to take a photo, send a text, or smoke a cigarette, he’ll politely ask them to step out of the space.
“I really see the next step in the evolution of club and dance culture, or nightlife, whatever you want to call it, being more towards a health conscious, holistic environment, because the hedonistic club cultures and rave cultures of the past have been relatively short-lived and unsustainable, due to unhealthy aspects,” Solo said. “[Dance} it’s a therapy that they need, but they don’t necessarily need the alcohol, they don’t need the drugs, and they don’t necessarily need the all-night binging type of thing anymore,” Solo said. “And I think Tampa Bay and Florida is in the position with its climate and weather to lead the way for the future of dance culture.”