Outside an empty hall, a group of people are milling about, waiting patiently in the evening light. Soon, a door opens and the group files in. Each person hands $5 to the person at the door and once inside they remove their shoes and socks. The group is then called into the main room of the hall – in which all the lights are out. In what’s left of the dim light it is only just possible to make out the outlines of your fellow dancers. No one really talks, but a few people are stretching out their legs.
Soon the music starts and people begin to move. There’s no announcement and no instruction. A mixture of pop, R&B and world music blasts into the darkness, blanketing the limbs moving this way and that to the rhythm. People are jumping about, some are busting out some aerobics moves, while some swing their hips right and left. There’s no uniform movement here.
Welcome to No Lights No Lycra (NLNL), an unruly, expressionist dance concept created by Melbourne dance students Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett in their living room in 2009. NLNL has spread world wide quickly, to 40 cities including Perth, Adelaide, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Glasgow and Barcelona, and it is now being re-introduced to Sydney at a brand new location on Tuesday nights.
Whether it be for fitness or an exercise in shaking off the day’s stress, there’s complete freedom of movement at NLNL. There are no mirrors, there is no choreography and, best of all, there is no judgment. It’s a space where, according to its creators, “people can dance freely just for the pure fun of it.”
Beginning Tuesday January 28 and continuing every Tuesday night from 7.30pm, Redfern Town Hall will play host to the newly revamped Sydney branch of NLNL. It’s time to boogie in the dark.
No Lights No Lycra
Redfern Town Hall
73 Pitt Street, Redfern