Why you should dance like no one’s watching
Have you ever been around a baby when music is playing? It’s quite a sight to behold, because even a baby who is just two months old, will often kick their arms and legs when they hear music, in time with the beat. Think about it – a baby who can’t talk, can’t crawl and can only just smile, can dance.
Studies like one conducted by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research found that babies were found to move their arms, hands, legs, feet, torsos and heads in response to the music, much more than to speech. This has been a consistent finding in much research on the topic, and led to conclusions that humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music. You could say, on a very deep level, we are born to dance.
So why is it we hear so many people utter the words “I can’t dance”? Well, there are a number of factors, such as social norms of what good dancing should look like – often perpetuated by mainstream media and popular culture, body image issues (cause by the same things), cultural differences and the fact that whilst most of us dance freely and without restraint when we are babies and children, once we hit our teenage years we simply stop dancing. If you think about it, apart from formal dance classes, concerts and nightclubs, there just aren’t many places for people to dance. And for many of us, that’s it, we assume we can’t dance, or we don’t dance, and we literally lose our rhythm.
No Lights No Lycra, the global dancing phenomenon that started in Melbourne, Australia was born of the premise that if you have a body, then you can dance. And dancing is something people should do for a number of reasons – it’s a great way to relieve tension, to keep fit, to socialise with others and just to have fun. So for an hour a week, all over the world, people come to No Lights No Lycra sessions – where there are no lights, no set dance moves, no teachers and no alcohol – just a great playlist and a fun, safe space to dance how you want to dance. No Lights No Lycra now spans over 75 locations around the world – from London to Paris to New York to Hong Kong to New Zealand, Sweden, Malaysia as well as Sydney, Newcastle, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart and everywhere in between!
As part of a government initiative to give more young women the opportunity to participate in physical activities that are unique and fun (because let’s face it, some exercise is simply NOT fun), No Lights No Lycra have been running a series of free sessions all around the country specifically aimed at 12-19- year-old women. Call-outs on social media have asked for song requests and attendees are given sweatbands, glow-in- the-dark bangles and other goodies. The only rule is that you are there to dance for yourself, no one else.
The events have been held so far in Hobart, Perth, Fremantle, Cairns, Newcastle, Byron Bay, Canberra and Sydney and will be held later in the month in Adelaide and Melbourne. But if you can’t get to one of these sessions don’t despair, No Lights No Lycra sessions run weekly round the country (full list of locations at nolightsnolycra.com/locations). And if there aren’t any near you right now, you can download the free No Lights No Lycra Dance Break app – which will randomly send a song to your phone every day, encouraging you to dance, and then tell you how many people round the world you were dancing.
So next time you find yourself tapping your foot to the beat of a song, remember – you can dance, you’ve always been able to dance, and you should dance – for yourself.