Dance Floor People Watching: 4 Berlin Clubber Stereotypes

Admit it, you’re a people watcher. Whether it’s ogling eccentric passersby, eavesdropping on the U-bahn, or pretending not to stare through the uncurtained windows of the flats opposite, we’ve all been there. And club nights are no exception.

I’m sure you can relate when I confess that, no matter how otherworldly the musical offerings in this city, sometimes there are much more entertaining things to watch on the dance floor than the hypnotically rhythmical nods of the DJ and the feigned enthusiasm of his Klingon Krew – and boys, I’m not talking about girls’ skirts.

Have you ever indulged those weary feet long enough to stand aside and observe the circus of your fellow ravers? Other than the mild inconvenience of being asked, “are you looking for something?” about five times by the same shady individual, you’ll soon start to recognise some fantastical clubgoer stereotypes; so entertaining they’ll give the headliner a run for his money.

The Drifter

The Drifter is the early bird of the nocturne. Most at home amidst the ten to one o’ clock sparseness, he ostentatiously weaves through the dance floor, jigging his way from person to person as if to search for any kind of companion or connection. More than anything, he wants you to know that he’s the type of zany personality you’ll want to be partying with when the Scheiße hits the fan and the music gets kicking.

The Checker

Closely related to the Drifter, the Checker is one of the most enduring dance floor characters. Orbiting upon his lonely axis, he seems dissatisfied with his view at every rotation; his awkwardly frequent eye contact quickly becoming the butt of everybody’s annoyance. His motives remain unclear, although his behaviour suggests acute social unease – and, perhaps, a little too much of Görlitzer’s finest.

The 1997 Raver

If you don’t get the reference, Google it – or better, YouTube it. The 1997 Raver is your typical nineties reveller; the higher the BPM, the easier she is to recognise. Most clearly identifiable by entranced, erratic movements and an uncontrollable swinging jaw, she’s vacant-faced but fucking having it. Nineties fandangles such as elastic chokers or sweat bands are a bonus.

The Dodger

The Dodger is so-named not just because he’s artful – although his idiosyncrasy is magnificent – but because of his wild-but-controlled back-and-forth ‘bullet-dodging’ shoulder motion. If you are new to the people-watching game, you’ll have probably never seen anything like it. In fact, it’s likely you might try to emulate his unrelenting rhythm out of sheer respect for his stamina. Aber, achtung! You may need to dodge him too.

photos: Teddy Fitzhugh

Have you spotted any Berlin clubber personalities you’d like to add to the list? Maybe you’d like to come forward as one of the legendary characters above. Let us know in the comments!

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Text: Deanne Ball

Deanne is a freelance writer and techno DJ from England. When she’s not stringing words together from the comfort of her sofa, you’ll often find her exploring Berlin’s streets with a bottle in hand, or silently judging the music in local clubs. Under her DJ name, Sesheta, she co-runs a monthly radio show on Digitally Imported Techno, and is also part of the new dark and experimental underground club night, Omen.

Check out her Facebook and Business Page.

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