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– by Jess Oliver

The Record Store

Friday March 20

Tripping down the stairs leading into the You Are Here Hub Space on Friday night meant entering a dreamy world of glow sticks, music and dancing bodies. Welcome to No Lights No Lycra.

Held in the old JB Hi-Fi building on City Walk, No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) was a dance party rejecting the all too common sleazy and judgmental nightclub vibe. On the NLNL website, the events is described as “a casual free-form dance class in the dark for the pure joy of dancing” and this pretty much sums it all up. Originally founded in Melbourne, NLNL has become an established movement across the globe with parties held in Germany, USA, Canada and China, to name just a few. NLNL at You Are Here promised a night of good, clean (read: sweaty) fun- and it most certainly delivered.

The event was drug and alcohol free, which meant people could still let go of their inhibitions, but without the sticky floors and bad behaviour. Any event where you can safely dance barefoot is a good event in my books, and despite its late hour, I would happily have brought my (non-existent) kids. Adding to the mood was the multitude of free glow sticks and bottles of water. Dancing is thirsty work so having water freely available was a great idea.

The music was a mix of artists and genres, from Kanye West and The Violent Femmes to the unapologetically cheesy Tenacious D and The Supermen Lovers. There was even an Irish fiddle infused folk/rock fusion song that everyone went nuts to. In typical NLNL fashion, the night ended with Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’. Of course it did.

NLNL represents everything I love in the world: daggy dance moves, cheesy music and friendly people having the best time ever. I seriously love this event, possibly because it’s one of the few places where my dancing doesn’t make me stick out like a flailing windmill, but mostly because of the positive and safe atmosphere. You know the party is a good one when the lights are off, the music is loud and every single person there is smiling like an idiot.

If you missed NLNL at You are Here – or had such a great time you want to go again – never fear! No Lights No Lycra Canberra hold regular, weekly parties in two different Canberra locations; at the Mount Mugga Scout Hall in Red Hill (Mondays) and the St John’s Church Hall in Reid (Wednesdays). Entry is $5 at the door and all NLNL events are drug and alcohol free. Be sure to bring plenty of water, wear comfortable clothing and prepare yourself for an hour and a half of uninterrupted, uninhibited dancing goodness.


JessOliverJess Oliver is a Canberra based writer, editor and curator with a penchant for words and shiny objects (literal and metaphorical). She also enjoys chocolate, books and red wine, and is a self-confessed ‘but why?’ person. Jess has been Art and Theatre Editor for Lip Magazine and has written for Canberra’s BMA Magazine and rip publishing. She is the 2015 ANCA Critic in Resident, and has previously been an M16 Artspace Featured Writer.

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