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Live audio-visual mixing group Aortic Valve kicks off a series of silent discos at Tellus360 in downtown Lancaster. Abbey Zelko, FlipSidePA

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Silent discos are becoming the fun, new way to party with your friends.

But when you walk into one for the first time, it probably won’t seem that way.

Everyone’s dancing, but you can’t hear any music. People are singing along, but not to the same song. And half the crowd is jumping while the other half is swaying or swing dancing.

It looks like a hot mess. But that’s the beauty of it.

“Just the experience alone is something very different,” said Justin Ayala, of the live audio-visual mixing group Aortic Valve.

From a bystander’s point of view, it looks like a group of crazy people, he said. But, the second you put your headphones on, everything changes. You become part of the phenomenon, you hear the music everyone else is listening to and it all starts to makes sense.

Aortic Valve first brought the idea to Tellus360 in Lancaster in September as a way to comply with the city’s noise ordinance, Ayala said. Instead of cutting the music at 10 p.m., they held a silent disco on the roof where guests could dance and listen to the music after hours through a set of wireless headphones rather than the bar’s speakers.

Last Wednesday, Aortic Valve brought the concept back to the rooftop at Tellus360 as a preview of their upcoming 2016 silent disco season.

By wearing the provided headphones, guests were able to switch back and forth between two channels featuring a variety of music by Aortic Valve, New York DJ Gregg Nyce and Tellus360’s DJ Salinger throughout the night.

“Whatever happens to be interesting at the time, whatever happens to be moving them on the dance floor, they can listen to,” Ayala said. “It’s a cool way to experience music differently than you normally might in a club."

If you’ve never been to a silent disco, here are five reasons you need to go.

1. You won’t lose your voice.

You won’t have to worry about going deaf or losing your voice at a silent disco because you control the volume. Like the music blaring in your ears? Turn it up. Want to take a break and have a conversation with your friends? You can do that, too. Just take off your headphones or turn the music down, and you can talk without screaming over the music. Then, when you’re ready, put your headphones on again and get right back into it.

2. The sound quality is better.

You’ll definitely notice a difference in sound quality when you hear the music through the wireless headphones at a silent disco vs. the big bass speakers at a club. This way, you can enjoy the music the way it was meant to be heard.

3. You can party at places you wouldn’t normally be able to.

The concept behind the silent disco is to be able to host events in locations and at times that normally couldn’t accommodate a nightclub scene, Ayala said. The rooftop bar at Tellus360 is a great example of that. But Ayala said he also hopes to bring the concept to York at unique locations like the Codorus Boat Basin, Cherry Lane Park and even the library! Stay tuned for more details to come.

4. Don’t like this song? You can change the channel.

You won’t be stuck listening to the same top 40 songs all night long at a silent disco. The headphones can accommodate up to three channels with music from three DJs or live bands. And you have the power to toggle back and forth between genres like funk and soul, indie and hip hop to create your own live mashup in your headphones.

Pro tip: The headphones light up with different colors based on which channel you’re listening to. Pay attention to the colors, Bryan Mull of Reading, said. “If everyone’s jamming out to the green channel, I know I have to switch to that channel,” he said.

5. It’s just fun.

You might be thinking, why go to a silent disco when you can just listen to your own music through your headphones at home? The real reason you go is for the social experience — meeting new people, making new friends and trying something new.

“Everybody looks a little bit odd,” Ayala said. “But, we’re all here doing this, so you see a real sense of community.”

Tickets for Tellus360 silent discos will cost about $20 per person and will be available at www.tellus360.com.

Here’s a look at the 2016 schedule:

  • 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, July 13
  • 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9
  • 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9
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