No Lights, No Lycra

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Want to get fitter? Turn the lights off, turn up your favourite tunes, and rock out like no one can see you … But, in a room full of people? That’s what No Lights No Lyrca is all about! So, get your leotards out, because FOCUS catches up with organisers Jess and Tia to find out how you too can strut your stuff!

For those who don’t know, can you explain – what is NLNL?

NLNL is a weekly lights-off chance to dance in the dark for the pure joy of dancing. There is no light, no lycra, no teacher, no steps to learn, just free movement. It’s a place to dance out the stresses of the week, let go of your inhibitions and completely be yourself. It occurs in over 75 locations around the world, including NYC, London, Paris, Glasgow, Shanghai and almost every state in Australia. Armidale’s sessions are Thursday nights 6:15 – 7:15pm at Legacy Hall, opposite the police station, on Faulkner Street.

Who can do NLNL?

NLNL is a drug, alcohol and douchebag free zone. At the heart of NLNL is the belief that everyone can dance. We provide a safe space for all ages and genders to explore this notion.

Where did it start?

NLNL was born out of the desire of two rebellious Melbourne dance students (Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett) to quit critiquing themselves in the mirror and start dancing for the joy of dancing again. So off came the skin-tight spandex, and off went the lights. While the “No Lights” is a given, wearing Lycra is totally okay.

So what should I wear?

Whatever clothes you feel comfortable to dance in – sweat pants, bike pants, office attire or a one-piece fully sequinned dress.

What are the benefits of NLNL?

All the physical, mental and emotional benefits of one hour of fun, self-paced exercise. At the end of each session there are a lot of sweaty, happy, smiley faced people. One dancer’s Fitbit showed they had danced off 450 calories! Others have expressed that it’s all about dancing out of their minds into their bodies. For some, NLNL is the highlight of their week. Remember that NLNL Armidale is part of a worldwide dance community. Some people love the idea of being part of that global dance community. We always encourage dancers that are in another city for work or play to attend the closest NLNL. We are so curious to hear about their experiences at other NLNL sessions.

What types of people come to NLNL?

All ages (toddlers to people in their 70s). People from all genders and backgrounds. We have students, professionals, retirees, unemployed, self-employed, mothers …

How does an average night at NLNL play out?

Doors open 6pm. Dancers sign in, pay $5, chat, or find a quiet space to just be. At 6:15pm the lights go out, and the music starts pumping. We aim for a little bit of everything. From swing, to dance, to pop, to folk, to rock, to hip hop, to soul, to super cheesy to top 40. We like dance floor classics, and we like weird things we’ve never heard before. You’ll hate some of it, but love a lot of it. It varies week to week, so if you’re not sure after your first time, be sure to try a second. You can always sit out for a song or step-touch, because it’s not like anyone can see you.

Are there rules to NLNL?

Our sessions are strictly a talk free zone – this might seem strange at first, but it’s pivotal to getting lost in yourself and the music. Fitbits and mobile phones must be kept covered at all times, as they emit too much light. Dancing is non-contact, with no dancing in circles with friends. To truly experience NLNL, you need to dance for yourself, not for those around you. Rave to everyone about how awesome you feel afterwards.

Thanks Jess and Tia.

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