The purpose of this research was to find out who is attending No Lights No Lycra and understand why they attend, who they attend with and what the appeal of dancing in the dark is. No Lights No Lycra uses an innovative approach to get people moving and anecdotally has a positive impact on the physical and mental health of people who participate – but we wanted to do the research to REALLY understand.
This research project was led by SPRINTER, a sport and physical activity research group at the School of Public Health, based in the Charles Perkins Centre, the University of Sydney.
This project has now been completed and the completed study is available to read here
If you have any questions about this research, please read the participant information statement available here or contact Bridget Foley – Bridget.Foley@sydney.edu.au.
No Lights, No Lycra the global dancing-in-the-dark sensation that began in Melbourne in 2009 and is now in 70+ countries, is returning to its roots. In April and May, 2019, NLNL will bring their famous sober and drug-free approach to dance to town halls across regional Victoria.
Mental health in our rural communities, particularly with the drought, is lower than in our cities. Dancing has been shown to have a positive impact on physical and emotional health, and with support from the Heart Foundation, NLNL wants to support locals to support positive health—and reinvigorate local, regional built spaces.
NLNL Dance Break is a free app that makes you stop and dance once a day.
The app inspires users around the world to break into dance every day by overriding their phone with an energizing track. At the end of each track, a map reveals the location and number of people who danced globally.
NLNL Dance Break is the brainchild of the Melbourne duo behind No Lights, No Lycra. The app is the next evolution in NLNL’s no-judgement dance movement with users encouraged to dance wherever they are – at home, in the office, at school or on the street.
Dancing for even a few minutes a day is a great way for individuals, schools and organisations to improve physical and mental health, and increase productivity. The app has been developed with funding from VicHealth’s Innovation Challenge, which supports creative initiatives that get more Victorians moving more often.
NLNL Dance Break is currently unavailable – we are keen to get the app available once again, if you’re involved with an organisation that could help, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
In early 2017 No Lights No Lycra had the privilege to close out the All About Women festival held at The Sydney Opera House.
All About Women, running for 6 years now, celebrates International Women’s Day with a full day of discussions and events. Curated by Edwina Throsby, formerly the TEDxSydney Head of Curation and founder and producer of ABC’s Big Ideas. Designed to make you think and push your boundaries, All About Women is a vibrant festival that asks questions about gender, justice and equality.
In 2017 No Lights No Lycra teamed up with the Department of Health on their initiative ‘Girls Make Your Move’ to present free dance events all across Australia for girls aged 12-19.
The campaign was initiated in response to the experience of judgement many young women experience from society, parents, peers, media, school, social media (basically everywhere) which can create a mode of self-consciousness that can prevent them from doing the things that they love.
The Girl’s Make Your Move campaign helped push past those barriers to generate positive perceptions of physical activity to inspire, energise, and empower young women.
IN 2016 NLNL AMBASSADORS HELD FUNDRAISING EVENTS TO SUPPORT DRY JULY
“If you want to dance without being in a boozy club setting, there are salsa meet-ups or No Lights No Lycra nights where people can forget about drowning their inhibitions with grog and dance in the dark alcohol-free.”
Dancing has never been something I’ve understood outside intoxication. I remember being at school discos as a gawky teenager sprouting breasts and putting my best efforts into boot scootin’ baby. But my coordination had never shown up when I tried to play sport, so I’m not sure why I thought it might come to the party in line dancing.
Now as a 29-year-old with ever increasing social anxieties, the thought of even tapping my foot without a drink in my hand makes me uncomfortable. And that’s why I was devastated to hear that No Lights No Lycra, a “casual free-form dance class in the dark, for the pure joy of dancing”, was an event that existed at a church hall near me. Because when I hear about something horrendously awkward that makes me want to kill myself, it’s a pretty good indication that next minute I’ll find myself engaging in it.
Some of the most purely joyful moments I’ve had in the past couple years have come while dancing. Sometimes at contra dances, which are nerdy and sweaty and call for you to surrender to the pleasure of forming patterns in a group. Also at No Lights No Lycra, a weekly dance party (held in cities around the world) where you can’t see anyone besides their vague outline, and you dance as hard as you can, however you want, without worrying what anyone thinks of you. (At one No Lights No Lyrca event, a Ke$ha song came on and by the end of it I felt like my mind and body had melded and that my soul was a candle. It was wild.)
Jemaine Clement was early for the dance in the church basement. The gap-toothed actor and mainstay of the tongue-in-cheek band Flight of the Conchords had put on a loose shirt and shorts and grown a broody, two-day beard in preparation for the unlit “No Lights, No Lycra” jam at a Lutheran church in Greenpoint. But the door—posted with rules that included “No watching,” “No breakdancing,” “No cell phones,” and “Sh-h-h!”—wouldn’t open till 8:15 p.m.
The “No Lights, No Lycra” craze originated in Australia, in 2009, and soon migrated to Clement’s native New Zealand, where he heard about it from two friends.
Ten years ago, doctors told me that I had locally advanced breast cancer. They also told me that if I went through surgery and chemotherapy and took quite a few years (at least five, maybe more) of recurrence-prevention drugs, I’d have a reasonable shot at survival.
A good chance of not dying! In the movies, doesn’t the heroine rejoice at this news? Doesn’t she embrace her life anew, flooded with gratitude at how lucky she is?
In 2015 No Lights No Lycra is partnering with Earth Hour to produce a global dance event – Switch off and Dance. Join the movement and switch off and dance in the dark, to the same playlist, with thousands of others across the world. Gather your friends and host your own No Lights No Lycra Earth Hour event, or find one near you.
Throughout 2017 and 2018 No Lights No Lycra have collaborated with the Logan City Council of Brisbane on their Girls, Get Active! program.
The Girls, Get Active! program offers a range of affordable, accessible and enjoyable physical activities for girls and women in the City of Logan. No Lights No Lycra were proud to team up with the Council to bring our judgement-free dance zone to the City of Logan.
No Lights No Lycra invites writers, illustrators, poets and other creative thinkers to contribute their responses to a series on dance: why we need it, why we struggle with it, and why we can’t stop doing it!
Through the series we hope to revisit what is at the core of the No Lights No Lycra philosophy, and to find new ways of appreciating and understanding the power of movement, music and dance.
We launched this series with a short essay by Melissa Howard. Pregnant with her second, the Melbourne writer discovered that dance could alleviate her anxiety and connect her with her inner Pussycat Doll. You can add your submission via the form at the bottom of this page.
Loosen up my buttons, baby.
Spring, 2013. I am pregnant with our second. The hormones make
me feel sad and unhinged. My partner closes off tightly from me,
like a fist.
While there are joys—does anything possess more
anticipatory sweetness than a newborn-sized bonnet?—a taut
balloon of anxiety swells underneath my chest-bones.
I haven’t discovered the gym or meditation yet. This comes
later, during the divorce. (“It turns out that all those perky assholes
were right,” I text my best friend, “Exercise makes you feel great.”
“Ugh, what bourgeois habit is next?” she replies. “Yoga?
I’d kill for a drink, to get tipsy and dance this anxiety off. I’d kill
anything, that is, except my son’s developing brain.
The house is empty, except for Apple, my old mutt, tonguing
her paw in the corner. An idea appears, born of desperation: I
guess I could try just the dancing part—sans booze?
The winding intro of the song I choose—Buttons, by the
Pussycat Dolls—starts: a sensual wail like a charmer beguiling a
snake from a basket. I slowly roll my hips, then snigger self-
consciously. Jesus. I must look ridiculous.
I check again that the blinds are down—they are—and start to
move my prenatal heft. Awkwardly at first, my teeth gritted with
determination, and then, slowly, with bemused enthusiasm.
Loosen up my buttons, baby, the Pussycat Dolls sing.
I play it again. Man, I love this song! I’m getting puffed and
warm, and a thread of something vital is unfurling in me.
There’s something inherently sexual about dancing, isn’t
there? To pretend otherwise is to affect a pearl-clutching
chasteness. I’m not talking about the performative
element—although that has a power, also. I’m talking about that
primal part from where unselfconscious sexuality and dance
originate. That egoless place where—and when—our noisy, bossy,
self-critical heads shut the hell up, and we stop seeing ourselves
from the outside in—how do I look doing this?—and it becomes,
instead: how do I feel doing this?
It feels hilariously lewd to be gyrating with my bump (or, more
accurately: bumps. My pregnant boobs are like two obese pugs
scrapping for space on a sofa) and, as I move, the mischievous
raunch of the song—and, quite frankly, the lack of an
audience—makes me feel brave, silly and kinda sexy. I’m a sexy
mama, blares the song. Who knows just how to get what I wanna!
How does it feel if I do a star jump? What if I pretend that I am
in an 80’s aerobics class and do lunges? What about trying to
twerk, my huge belly pushing against the top of my thighs, or to
attempt a clumsy booty-drop?
I play it again, and again, dancing—and falling over—until I am
puffed-out, giggling, and the balloon of anxiety under my chest has
deflated, and I can breathe again.
When the doorbell chimes, suddenly, the spell is abruptly
broken. I stand up, fix my dress. But I’ve gotten a glimpse of my
inner sober Pussycat Doll. Lucky, too, because she comes in handy
Trundle is the newest project from No Lights No Lycra. A new project space in a converted horse trailer, Trundle is a mobile, one-at-a-time venue ripe with possibility. Experience and interact with sound, dance, installation and visual art on a personal scale, without interruption.
No Light No Lycra to be held every Wednesday at Mayfair
TAMARA HOWIE, NT News
DARWIN movers and shakers can let loose at this year’s first No Light No Lycra.
The night of dancing in the dark with no rules struck a chord with Darwin locals at the few events held last year.
Darwin ambassador Ella Barrett said the night, to be held every Wednesday from 7pm at Mayfair, attracted a wide variety of people.
“People come for a lot of different reasons, whether it’s to exercise or de-stress,” she said. “It’s just an opportunity to dance – as cliched as it sounds – like no one is watching in an environment different to a nightclub or a dance class. It’s about having a good time without the other stuff in a non-intimidating environment.”
The evening starts in complete darkness with dim lights coming on at the end.
Since No Light No Lycra first began in 2009 in Melbourne it has gone global and finally set up camp in Darwin.
“My sister and her friend started it in 2009 and I moved to Darwin and wanted to start my own,” she said. “Darwin is the last capital city in Australia to get it.”
Have you ever wanted to dance like nobody’s watching – with other people? Well now you can!
No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) is a global dance movement originally started in Melbourne by dance students Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett in 2009, founded on the belief that everyone can dance.
Tired of critiquing themselves in the mirror, they started busting moves with the lights off in their house and quickly rediscovered their joy in dancing. They soon moved from their living room dance sessions to St Marks Church Hall in Fitzroy, Melbourne, where five people got together to freely express themselves without judgement. In the winter darkness, the warm glow of the heaters, No Lights No Lycra was launched to the song ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ by Edith Piath. The dance night grew through word of mouth and within a few months the hall was full of people who shared the same yearning for a dimly lit space to dance as freely as they do in their living rooms.
NLNL now runs dance nights throughout Australia and in over 60 locations around the world. With attendees aged from 8 years old to 74 year old and everything in between, there’s always a good mix of ages, genders, bodies, abilities, backgrounds, and dance styles – united by their shared love of dance.
There is no light, no lycra, no teacher, no steps to learn, no technique, just free movement. NLNL is a space where you are encouraged to completely let go, shake out the stresses of the week, and lose yourself in the music and the physicality of your body. It’s light enough so that you can see the silhouettes of people around you, but dark enough so that you can’t make out their features.
For Laura Morgan, an attendee in Melbourne, the lights off, free form nature of the events provides more than just the excuse to bust out some daggy moves unseen, but something more profound. “Many of the constraints of our modern society can be transcended through dancing in this environment, gender and sexuality become irrelevant, and space is negotiated without words or power struggle.”
Now you can truly dance like nobody’s watching.
Perth’s sessions are on Monday nights 7:30-8:45pm at Leederville Town Hall, 82 Cambridge St, West Leederville.
Explore your senses and embrace the art of dance with No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) in Boroondara. NLNL is a global dance community that believes everyone can dance. There are no lights, no lycra, no teacher, no steps and no techniques – just free movement that can be embraced by anyone. Bring water and comfortable clothing.
■ June 2, 6pm. Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn. Cost: $7. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
– See more at: http://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/play/whats-on-in-stonnington-and-boroondara-2-16/pub/stonnington_and_boroondara/#sthash.q1RJ6DzU.dpuf
Lights out, it’s time for dancing – No Lights No Lycra
Tuesday, 15 September, 2015
Residents and school children across Boroondara will dust off their dancing shoes and join in the fun when the expressive dance movement No Lights No Lycra comes to town in October.
The brainchild of self-professed unruly dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, No Lights No Lycra present a series of workshops and programs where participants get to experience the freedom of dancing like no one is watching in a safe environment free from judgement.
“As a former dance student, I was sick of trying to mold my body into that of my teachers or other dancers around me,” explains co- creator Alice Glenn.
“Being in an environment where mirrors and lights and performance can be very confronting, so when Heidi and I were developing No Lights No Lycra, we really just wanted to create a space where people can dance without the pressure of being watched.”
Ensuring that every No Lights No Lycra workshop and event is open and inclusive is of the up most importance to the program’s creators.
Since its humble beginnings in 2009, hundreds of No Lights No Lycra workshops have been held across Australia and the world and this year will see Boroondara listed amongst the locations.
Students from up to six local schools will be taking part in the No Lights No Lycra in Boroondara workshops aiming to promote both a healthy lifestyle and confident self- image.
“These workshops aim to provide children and young adults with a safe and fun place to explore dance without the pressures of impressing their friends or conforming to a certain look,” says Alice.
In addition to the school workshops, open session No Lights No Lycra workshops will also be held at the Hawthorn Arts Centre Basement Space, running ever Thursday from 29 October to 3 December.
The open session workshops are free for people of all ages, experience and abilities to attend.
No bookings are required, but participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle and comfortable clothing.
When: 6 to 7pm, every Thursday from 29 October to 3 December
Cost: $5 at the door
Where: Hawthorn Arts Centre Basement Space, 360 Burwood Road, rear of Hawthorn Arts Centre Building
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which No Lights No Lycra is located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to Elders, past and present. No Lights No Lycra is committed to honouring Indigenous peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society.