It’s Friday night, and I’m dancing alone in a dark room full of strangers. Oh, and everyone is sober. Welcome to No Lights No Lycra.
No Lights No Lyrca (NLNL) is a movement that was created by Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett in Melbourne in 2009. It has become a global dance community where a bunch of people get together, turn off the lights and dance like nobody’s watching. There are no steps to learn, no technique, no judgement.
You may have heard about the movement spreading to Canberra (we have our own NLNL gatherings in Ainslie). Fiona Harris, however, is determined to send some good vibrations south of the lake too, which is why I’ve found myself in the Griffith Community Hall, at the launch of a brand new NLNL event.
“Tuesdays in Ainslie weren’t good for me and I wanted to host an event on a ‘party night’. I live Southside so I wanted to organise something closer to me”, says Fiona. “I’ve been clubbing since I was 18, but it does start to get a bit lame as you get older. I like that I’m creating an opportunity for people that have family commitments to come out and have a dance. You can’t go clubbing at 8pm, but you can come here and still be home in time for dinner with the family.”
“I’m really happy with the turnout tonight, and I’m hoping for it to get bigger and better every week”, says Fiona. “There are a lot of different types of people here and that feels good to me. I don’t want to do something that’s only accessible to a certain age or type of person. Anyone can dance, so I wanted to create an event that was really inclusive. “
Fiona’s right about the diversity of people in attendance. There are at least fifty people filling the hall, and while many of the participants look to be in high school or uni, there are also plenty in their 20s, 30s and beyond. The crowd is about 90% female, so if you ever find yourself asking “where are all the ladies?”, this is definitely a good place to look!
The music being blasted from the speakers ranges from the Beastie Boys to Beyonce to Mumford and Sons. When Florence and the Machine’s Dog Days are Over comes on, everyone began to clap along in unison. A girl in bright tights executes a graceful pirouette. Although many people are congregated in loose groups, everyone seems to be dancing more for themselves than a anybody else, too wrapped up in their own movements to care much what other people are doing.
As we come to the end of the night, streamers and balloons are thrown around the room. When Fiona calls last song we collectively “awwwwww” in disappointment. I feel like everyone in the room has somehow forged a friendship based on the mutual understanding that “what happens at NLNL stays at NLNL”. This is a place to come and unleash your daggiest dance moves without fear of judgement. I for one had a great time, so don’t be surprised if you see me in Griffith busting a move with the best of them next Friday night.
Place: Griffith Neighbourhood Hall, 55 Stuart Street, Griffith (Next to Griffith shops) Time: Friday nights, 6:30pm – 8pm Cost: $5
Bring: Comfy clothes (you’re going to sweat!), Water bottle, Enthusiasm