The Wellness Book Victoria
Dancing in the Dark
No Lights No Lycra
Theres no better feeling than putting on your favourite song and dancing like no-ones
watching. Free of criticism, technique and self-consciousness, you can twist and shout the
Back in 2009, trained dancers Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett did exactly that. One quiet
weeknight, they pushed open the doors to their local church hall in Fitzroy, lined up some of
their all-time favourite tracks and danced in the dark. After years of formal training, it was the
perfect release from choreography and critique; a chance to express themselves without
inhibition. It was also a remedy to the judgement and unwelcome attention of dancing in
The duo realised that they were not the only ones who wanted a safe space to dance just for
the fun of it, so they started dancing-in- the-dark nights, No Lights No Lycra. In just four years,
the demand has driven six dance-nights a week in Melbourne and more than 70 communities
of No Lights No Lycra dancers worldwide, a testament to the concepts universal appeal.
Heidi and Alice have sought to create a welcoming space where anything goes – all thats
needed is a love of music and an open mind. Whatever your gender, age, body worries or co-
ordination levels, youll get in touch with your inner rhythm. Pull out your most embarrassing
moves, whether it be Hugh Grants Love Actually hip wiggle or Tom Cruises Risky Business
The benefits of dance arent limited to the post-boogie buzz – dancing regularly increases
flexibility, muscle tone and co-ordination, as well as endurance and cardiovascular strength.
For the elderly, exercise fights osteoporosis and assists with better balance. Busting a move is
an instant mood booster, working to combat stress, anxiety and depression, as well as
contributing to better self-esteem and body image.
With so many positive effects, its no surprise that VicHealth has teamed up with No Lights No
Lycra to release a free mobile app, Dance Break. The app is designed to bring more dance into
everyday lives, overriding your phone for a few minutes each day with an upbeat song, so you
can drop everything for a spontaneous jive. You wont be alone: the same track is played
across the world and as the song ends youll be able to see how many people were dancing
with you. Its a great way to loosen up your joints, lift your mood and return to your daily
grind with increased energy, focus and creativity.
The No Lights No Lycra movement doesnt stop there: regional tours are bringing the joy of
dance to rural town halls all around Australia, while Heidi and Alice are taking their fun,
carefree concept into schools to encourage confidence and creativity. The team has also set up
Trundle – a portable solo dance space, perfect for rocking out in splendid isolation.
Since they first boogied barefoot in a local hall many years ago, Heidi and Alice have turned
their love of dance into a global movement, inspiring thousands of people to get up and
moving. With No Lights No Lycra nights all over the world, theres never been a better time to
start dancing your way to health and happiness.