Walking past my local church in Canberra’s CBD, I notice the distinct sound of rave music. I look at my watch, it’s 8:45pm. I look at the church, I look at my watch again and think WTF, as I am in the midst of carry my groceries home I make a note to check it out tomorrow. The next day I walk in the direction of the church and this time I am greeted by silence. No beats blasting and no clue as to what the heck happened the previous night, slightly mystified and disappointed I walk back home.
Skip forward two weeks on my way home from after work drinks and I hear the sweet sounds of Sia blaring from the church. On the church doors is a simple A4 sign saying ‘No Lights, No Lycra’, I open the doors to an empty dark entrance way with another door in front of me covered by a thick black cloth. The music has now changed to Zhu and I am as pumped as the music to find out what’s behind the door, the first thing I notice as I enter is heat and then absolute darkness. I am aware that there are people dancing in front of me but have no clue as to how many or as to how big the hall is or if there is even a DJ. I cautiously shuffle forward with my arms outstretched in front of me, not wanting to run into people knowing to well how foolish I would look if people could actually see me!
As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I find a space with less silhouettes and more space to move. And then I dance, liberated by the darkness I let the music move me and I go nuts! For two hours I dance, and then an automated voice tells me there are three songs left until the music stops, so I step it up a notch and by the end I’m exhausted. As everyone begins to shuffle out of the hall (still no lights) I notice people begin to talk (it seems the lack of eye contact left everyone mute!), the outside lights reveal everyone is as buggered as I am and grinning. Church volunteers farewell dancers with a casual ‘see you next time’. The irony!
It’s not until after ‘No Lights, No Lycra’ that I realise no light dancing events are actually a thing and they’re popping up all over Canberra. With major events like Enlighten: Canberra featuring multiple Dark Disco nights. Which begs the question: has Canberra started a new trend to replace the failing Silent Disco or a potential OH&S hazard?