By Lou Spargo
There’s a dance phenomenon spreading the globe, one that started right here in Melbourne. It’s called No Lights, No Lycra (NLNL) and it’s the brainchild of unruly dance students Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett.
From humble beginnings in Melbourne in 2009 with five people in a hall, there are now 25 communities in Australia and a total of 45 communities around the world dancing like no one is watching – from New York to London, Paris, Glasgow and Shanghai to name a few.
At the heart of No Lights, No Lycra is the belief that everyone can dance and a desire to bring people together to express themselves freely without judgement.
As the name suggests, there are no lights, and you can wear whatever you please. There’s no teacher, no instructions, no pesky choreography to learn – just free movement. Such is the popularity of No Lights, No Lycra, the girls plan to take the concept to school children to help them develop positive physical and emotional connections with their body.
When I first heard about it I was intrigued. Dancing in the dark? Sober? With strangers?
As a child I’d happily fling my body around the living room dancing in my pink tutu with careless abandon to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, but my uninhibited joy on the dance floor was crushed at the impressionable age of 15 when a ‘friend’ observing me dancing at a party declared I looked stupid and danced like an idiot. No Lights, No Lycra was the perfect opportunity to see if I could resurrect my inner dance child.
I was nervous – it felt somewhat bizarre walking into a room of strangers in semi-darkness swaying and moving to the beat of the music. But once I put my bag down and gingerly took to the floor, my senses focussed purely on what I hearing. It was all about my body’s relationship with the music. The hour flew and I had the best time dancing my little heart out – the cheesy old tunes gave me all the inspiration I needed to unleash my inner child!
How did I look? I didn’t care and it didn’t matter because no one was watching. I felt completely at ease and comfortable just being myself and getting lost in the music in this non-pretentious space.
I left class pleasantly weary and overwhelmingly connected to my body. My dancing mojo was back, (it had never really gone) and I’ll be heading back again for another hit – Beyonce better look out!
For class information and locations go to www.nolightsnolycra.com