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Dance like no one’s watching… but in public.

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Story by Alissa Thibault | image By Paul Philipson

As any good meme on Facebook will tell you, the ultimate sense of freedom is to sing like no one’s listening and dance like no one’s watching. While the first is normally saved for the shower, or the car when Journey comes on - there is a very PUBLIC place to ‘dance like no one’s watching’ right here in Sydney.

It’s called ‘No Lights, No Lycra’ and it’s a movement that started in Melbourne around 5 years ago. The concept is simple; turn down the lights, pump some tunes and dance your heart out in the dark for an hour.

At first I was skeptical, it sounded odd and a little awkward. I’m not a dancer and the thought of busting a move completely sober in the middle of a hall didn’t really sound like my idea of fun. But my gosh was I wrong.

A couple of friends and I (and around 150 others) lined up at the Giant Dwarf theatre in Redfern on a chilly Tuesday night, paid our $5 and walked into the dark room where the sound of Cyndi Lauper was pumping from the speakers. At first it’s a little unnerving - the exit signs are still lit so all you can see is the outline of your fellow dancers by the dull green lights in the corners. I did my best two step for a couple of minutes, then Beyonce came on.

The lights were down and I felt a sense of comfort, like I was dancing alone in my living room. In my head I was one of Bey’s back up dancers from the ‘Single Ladies’ film clip, admittedly I didn’t know all the moves, but it didn’t matter, my made up ones were definitely better. As far as I could tell everyone else was pretending they were one of the leotard-wearing women from the video, and no one cared.

The music was a bit of everything - Kayne, Kenny Loggins, Chingy, Grinspoon and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary for the big finale’. By the end I felt like I’d run 5kms but had a huge smile on my face and the problems of the world seemed a million miles away. What an amazing de-stress!

Despite the name, you can definitely wear lycra. In fact, I recommend it. Dress as you would for any other dance or gym class - comfy but supported. You’ll get pretty warm too so be prepared to work up a bit of a sweat.

Events only happen every now and then in Redfern, but they run every Thursday night at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Newtown on Church St. Check it out here

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