trance, death and dance

on sunday night, i went to a fund raiser, wake and celebration trance party of the life of Ronan, one of the stalwarts of the trance scene and community. A number of Melbourne DJs played including Mantrix, a live band. I didnt know Ronan very well. I’d seen him around of course, he ran the Happy High Herbs stall at many of the outdoor festivals and he lived around where I lived so we often spotted each other on the streets. He was a nodding acquaintance.

Still it was a shock when I found out that he had died and I felt surprisingly moved when I stood in front of the small shrine that someone had constructed in his memory. It was a simple affair, it had his photo, some flowers, incense and a dedicatory poem. During the course of the evening, many stopped by and looked at the shrine but except for that, it was pretty much like any other trance party – people danced, talked to each other and drank.

I recognised many of the people there but except for my friends there, I knew very few of their names. I’d seen them at many parties in the past and this was true for most people there too. It was a collection of different social groups linked by their love of the music (and the dance) and over time developing closer links through overlap and history. The difference at this party was that, whereas generally there’s a buffer of ordinary punters (ie people who don’t go regularly to every trance event), this gathering had no such buffer and in such a small space, as we danced to the memory of someone who we all knew but at many differing levels, I felt that this was a community of a sorts.