On Friday night at around 10.00pm, some bemused policemen interrogated the security guard outside Fletcher Jones, the headquarters of the You Are Here festival. Inside the barren clothes store, in darkness, a mass of pulsating bodies danced riotously to thundering music. The police seemed sure that something unsavoury was going on.
Five minutes later, they left dumbfounded and unconvinced; someone told them that what they had witnessed was an event for the You Are Here festival, and that all of those people dancing maniacally, unencumbered by inhibitions or self-consciousness, were enjoying themselves without the assistance of alcohol.
It was of course No Lights No Lycra (NLNL), the weekly dance phenomenon where you can dance like nobody’s watching – because nobody is watching (it’s pitch black). Yes, NLNL have brought that carefree exuberant feeling you have when you’re dancing alone in your pyjamas to a large room filled with sweaty strangers.
Sure, your eyes adjust, and then you can pretty much make out that guy wearing bright blue stockings, the middle-aged man with his eyes closed who you imagine is living out an unfulfilled youthful fantasy, and that one couple that seem to be taking advantage of the darkness by eating each others’ faces. But there’s no judgment here.
Veterans of NLNL are also easily identifiable. They’re the ones discarding their shoes and socks immediately upon arrival, armoured with singlets, sports bras and gym shorts. These savvy dancers come prepared with drink bottles to take advantage of the complementary water and to counter the dehydrating effects of busting a move to the likes of Rihanna, Outkast, Duck Sauce, The Dap Kings, Cake and The Temptations.
And when the lights come on, the atmosphere is almost post-coital. A satiated air descends upon the crowd. Clothes, thrown aside in a fit of passionate dancing bliss, are haphazardly strewn across the floor and men and women alike are drenched in the evidence of their physical exertion.
NLNL is on every Tuesday night from 7:45pm – 9:15pm at Corroborree Park, Paterson Street, Ainslie.
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