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Dancing in the dark

The freedom of dancing like there’s nobody watching - literally - at No Lights, No Lycra.

Having heard that people in darkened community halls across Australia – and around the world – were working up a sweat dancing like nobody was watching, we caught up with No Lights No Lycra founder Alice Glenn to see what it’s all about.

How did you come up with No Lights No Lycra?

Heidi Barrett and I started NLNL because we love to dance. Both former dance students, we were sick of trying to mould our bodies into that of our teachers and constantly comparing ourselves to the best dancer in the room. We were sick of an environment where mirrors and lights and performance were at the heart of the experience and really just wanted somewhere to dance freely and without the pressures of being watched.

Is NLNL primarily about fitness?

No Lights No Lycra is a friendly, non-threatening, alcohol and drug free event, where you can shake out the stress of the week, experience new tunes, lose yourself in the music while working up a sweat. The health, fitness and wellbeing side of things is a bonus – but an important bonus.

How would you describe the NLNL philosophy?

At the heart of No Lights No Lycra is the belief that everyone can dance. It’s a global community providing an inclusive and non-judgmental place for people to come together experience the freedom of self-expression and joy that comes with dancing like there’s no-one watching – which there isn’t!

What was the very first NLNL session like?

Five years ago this June, we opened the doors to a quaint little church hall in Fitzroy, Melbourne. We took off our shoes, put on an indulgent playlist of pop, folk, disco and ballads, and danced in the dark with no one watching. Only 5 people attended the first session, but the energy in the room was as electric as one of our jam-packed nights these days.

How did you spread the word?

No Lights has predominantly spread through word of mouth. We’ve never had to seek out publicity, people generally come to us because they are intrigued by the concept.

Who comes?

We are committed to providing an inclusive class where everyone feels welcome and so far, we’ve been pretty successful at achieving this.

What’s your favourite aspect of NLNL?

The last track is always something epic and the energy in the room is at a peak!

Have you been to NLNL in other parts of the world?

I have been to London, Berlin and New York and Heidi has been to NLNL in Glasgow.
Each night has its own unique feel, but the basics are all the same: darkness, fun and a diverse music mix and heaps of joy.

Where will it stop? What next?

We have developed a program for primary and high schools and we’re in the process of getting it out there. The sky is the limit really!

To find a venue near you visit nolightsnolycra.com

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