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In the News

The anti-dance-class dance class

Penny Brooks

22nd June 2017

This is the health and fitness dance class for people who don't like mirror-lined exercise studios, who are put off by the need to follow a class routine because they never seem to get the steps or technique right, or who like to dance without worrying about what they're wearing, how they look or what others around them are doing. 'No Lights No Lycra' was started in Melbourne by two friends. They hired a church hall, covered over the windows and turned off the lights, and played music for their friends to 'dance like no-one is watching' in the darkness with no worries about how they looked or whether anyone was judging them.

Now there are franchised No Lights No Lycra classes running every week around the world from Los Angeles to Paris and from Tel Aviv to Beijing. They meet in church halls and community centres, with the typical fee per class being around seven Australian dollars or £4.30; franchises pay about 200 Australian dollars a year, plus a portion of their earnings for larger operations. It capitalises on a market for millennials who, according to a Nielsen report sponsored by Les Mills (who produce licenced fitness programmes including BodyPump, BodyJam and Sh'bam), “ view traditional health clubs as something for their parents’ generation.” This product is intended for people looking for exercise regimes that place an emphasis on music and community relationships - and who don't take themselves too seriously. Their website says that it's not about being a good dancer, but it is a place to exercise at your own pace while having fun, and it promotes a healthy mind and a healthy body.

There are plenty of other options for this market, suggested in a BBC report. 'Boss Chick Dance Workout' was started in Miami by Simone Sobers because she learned that women of colour had particularly high levels of obesity and heart disease. 'Bey Dance' was inspired by Liz Cahalan's love of the music video for Beyonce's 2008 hit single Single Ladies, and now employs 35 people to run classes in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. And Juliet Murrell's 'House of Voga' classes are a combination of yoga with 'vogueing', a style of dance popular with New York drag queens in the 1980's. They started in London and are now available in Paris, Edinburgh and Barcelona. The dance entrepreneurs are out there, and health and fitness industry had better take note!

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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