Review — Meow Wolf’s Danceportation Featuring Beats Antique and More Was a Party That Shook This Plane of Existence

On Saturday, March 2nd, Meow Wolf Denver (also known as Convergence Station) hosted the latest iteration of Danceportation. For those who may not know, Danceportation is a recurring party that Meow Wolf Denver throws a few times a year. It features an artist who “takes over” the facility and acts as a sort of headline act while other artists perform at stages set up throughout the main exhibit, creating a kind of mini-festival.

This is the baseline description, the easy summary. But the event is much more and nearly defies language. Beats Antique was the headlining artist for this Danceportation, with artists such as Adam Deitch, Borahm Lee, Sidecar Tommy, Atek, and many more playing. Each act felt incredibly unique but there was also this sensation of everything melding together, working in cohesion, parts of a greater whole. This then applied to everyone in attendance, each letting their individuality shine through outrageous outfits and dancing while coming together with those around them, souls merging, becoming something greater together. These feelings, coupled with the music and all the secrets and surprises strewn throughout the night proved that Danceportation was one of the greatest parties this dimension has ever seen.

READ: Venue Voices — What You Missed at Meow Wolf’s “Absolute Rubbish: A Trashion Show” 

First, I would like to note that I usually never use the first person in these show reviews or in any articles, for that matter. However, Danceportation was not a typical show, and I feel this review should reflect that. It was a very subjective experience. There were maybe a couple thousand people there, if not more, and each individual person had their own very unique experience. There was so much going on at any given time that it would be impossible for one person to catch everything all at once. Therefore, this review is purely from my perspective, the things I saw and the experience I had there. And, may I say, holy shit, what a time it was.  

The night started somewhat late, with doors opening at 9:30 and music starting about an hour later. My friends and I arrived right when doors opened. The line to get in was long, spilling out from the main entrance and wrapping around the block, but everyone waiting wore big smiles to accompany their outlandish outfits and the time passed quickly. 

Once we made it in, we were engulfed by the waves of people passing by, the energy high while a slight vibe of uncertainty hung in the air. None of us there knew exactly what the night would entail and that created an air of mystery that became intoxicating. After grabbing some beverages, we made our way onto the elevator into the exhibit to explore.

At first, walking through the exhibit felt like a typical trip to Meow Wolf, albeit with louder music and small bars set up throughout. This is not to say that any trip to Meow Wolf is ever typical. The place absorbs you and puts you in a trance as you move through dimensions like you would a dream. 

As attendees moved through the exhibit, a kind of camaraderie began to form. Everyone there was quick with easy jokes ranging from the dirty to the completely surreal. At one point, we walked by some pillars that had these kinds of terrariums built into them. My friend started saying that was where he was from and how it was nice to visit again. This led to a whole hypothetical discussion that slowly involved the people around us about the little world inside the glass’s infrastructure and culture. We created a whole living world in there that had apparently ended in some great calamity caused purely by sarcasm and some dumb jokes. This happened almost right before the music kicked off, and it put us all in such a great headspace.

After about 30 minutes or so of exploring and looking for the rumored secrets to little avail, we heard, “What’s going on, Meow Wolf?” somewhere not too far in the distance. It was one of the first DJs of the night, Missing Lynx, starting his set in the middle of Numina, the massive, interdimensional space that makes up a large portion of Convergence Station. We slid on over and found a crowd already getting down, people dancing on the main floor while others grooved over the railings on the floors above.

Looking up at this point was a bit disorienting in the best way. It felt textured, layered, or like everyone was growing together like some undiscovered plant life that’s been around since the dawn of time. But this sense of peace set in at the same time, a calm that washed over me that I don’t think has really left me yet. That night felt like new avenues opened up somewhere deep within me, dimensions of my soul pouring to the forefront and letting me know that I will always be able to handle getting lost. This feeling set in at that relatively early moment in the night and carried me through the rest.

After getting down a bit to Missing Lynx, the time came to move back down to The Perplexiplex, the venue found within Convergence Station but outside the main exhibit where Beats Antique would be playing. We got off the elevator to a pretty large line, being told that, due to the relatively small size of the venue, there would be a “one-in-one-out” policy. Still, the line moved fast and we were in, the venue’s projection-mapped walls dripping esoterica as the space filled.

Soon, Beats Antique hit the stage. The performance was haunting but exhilarating, featuring dancers moving ethereally across the stage, contorting themselves into positions that looked like ancient religious symbolism. Their drummer was a machine, a metronome, necessary to keep everything propulsive and cohesive. Their strings player brought out a number of instruments I’d never seen before, but I assumed they were ancient, from cultures far older and vastly different from our own. They also looked handmade, which was impressive.

The whole set felt like a cult ritual or something. At one point, their dancers came out wearing drums. They pounded on them in unison, shaking the ground and the souls of all standing on it. It rattled the chest so much that it seemed to shake people out of this plane of existence, allowing all in that room to vibrate together, ascending like aspirants to a new doctrine. It felt like a light went on in my chest and it’s still glowing today. 

It’s also important to note that while Beats Antique was playing, Borahm Lee of Break Science was playing a DJ set in Numina, Mah Ze Tar played C Street and Atek was at Eemia, the famous castle-like structure found within.

Eventually, Beats Antique’s set ended and my friends and I were left with a bit of a “now what?” kind of feeling. We were then invited to follow some people we’d spoken maybe five words to during the set onto the elevator. One of the guys in that group shrugged to say, “fuck it,” and picked a random floor. The doors opened to a whole different kind of party. I’m not sure exactly which room it was, but it was one of the smaller ones. A DJ was set up there playing 80s and 90s pop hits mashed up with modern hip-hop and a crowd of maybe 20-30 people were there grooving: we had finally found one of the secret sets. I wish I got the artist’s name because they absolutely killed it.

As the secret set wound down, we decided to keep wandering. We left the room to find that we were on the top floor in Numina. People were once again hanging over the railings and grooving, looking at the floor below doing the same and the one below that hosted a giant dancefloor replete with professional dancers and someone blowing bubbles. After joining the railing grooves, telling each other how much we loved one another along with kisses on the cheek and forehead, and chatting with our neighbors a bit, we decided to head down and join the dancefloor. 

That dancefloor seemed to represent everything that Danceportation was about: life unabashed with happiness flowing abundantly. Everyone was smiling, giving gifts of little containers of bubbles and little lights, some people donning sunglasses and wrapping their heads in silks and pashminas.

It was getting late at this point, probably around 12:30 or so and we realized we hadn’t spent much time at Eemia, the castle. We made our over and found, to my surprise, that Frick Frack Blackjack was set up in the corner. Frick Frack is a festival staple where attendees can bring anything they want to bet except for money and play blackjack. The night had already felt like a mini-festival of sorts, but seeing Frick Frack there solidified that idea in my mind. Might Delete was just starting their set, which was one of the last of the night. We stayed for a bit but it was honestly already so crowded inside that castle that we decided to head back to The Perplexiplex for our last set of the night: Adam Deitch.

Deitch had been a draw for me from the beginning. He’s one of my favorite drummers in the city, with his bands Lettuce and Break Science, and I hadn’t seen him play in a minute. His set was great. As he DJ’d, he drummed along on a percussion setup connected to the rest of the equipment. It was noticeably emptier in the room than it had been for Beats Antique but it was also about 1-1:30 am and the event was winding down. We stayed until the set was over, gave each other one last big group hug, and then wandered out into the night. 

The whole night reminded me that there are dimensions deep and unexplored within all of us. The avenues found within our hearts are uncertain and filled with secrets and surprises, and we all, as people, must follow them wherever they lead. At the risk of sounding too colloquial, Meow Wolf’s Danceportation was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in Denver, and I feel lucky to live in a place where such events are possible. So close your eyes, let go of the fear, embrace getting lost and step forward. Chances are you’ll like where you end up.


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