Dancing in the dark

*** UPDATED – SADLY THIS CLASS HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ATTENDANCE NUMBERS ***

A few weeks ago I was thumbing through my phone’s Facebook feed as I am wont to do when wasting time and came across something called… ‘Dancing in the dark’. 

dancin-in-the-dark-maryborough

I shared it to my own feed, wondering what it was and friends from other places in Australia immediately responded – explaining it’s essentially an ‘exercise’ class which involves freestyle dancing around a darkened room.

So… kinda like clubbing back in the 1990s. Or maybe even now, for all I know?!

Before moving to Hervey Bay I was addicted to a class at my gym I called faux Zumba. I adored this class and my instructor Nikki. So much so I’d head into the city to go if I had a day off work. Les Mills gym-goers might recognise it as something akin to Body Jam or Sh’bam.

On moving to the Fraser Coast I checked for similar classes but could only find the usual Zumba options.

So… the notion of ‘dancing in the dark’ was kinda alluring. Not to mention scary.

I kept harping on at my learned friends. (Control-freak that I am!)

“So we just dance however we want?” 

“For an entire hour?” 

Yes. And yes. In case you were wondering. Apparently it’s also sometimes called ‘no-lights no-lycra’.

Friends I went dancing with in the 1990s attested to its fun-ness…. so I figured I might as well give it a go. I’ve been trying to work on my fitness and while I’m now going to Ocean Tree Yoga Studio twice most weeks, I’m struggling with cardiovascular exercise.

The classes kicked off on Thursday 9 February at The Studio in Maryborough – which also plays host to yoga, pilates and now barre classes.

I have to admit I changed my mind 20 times the day I was due to go. I felt unwell. I wasn’t in the mood. I couldn’t be arsed driving from Hervey Bay to Maryborough. And (in all honesty) I had no bloody idea what to expect and was a tad nervous.

However… I compromised and decided to go to my mother’s (in Maryborough) for the night. And, of course once there guilt kicked in, so about 30mins before the class was due to start I threw on some gym gear and headed off.

Chelsie – one of the yoga instructors greeted me and explained the person who had organised the classes was no longer involved, but they decided go ahead nonetheless.

I was thankful to see some other nervous faces arrive… all excited but unsure what to expect.

There were 6 of us in total in the end and IT WAS INCREDIBLE!

I thought I’d feel self-conscious and I might have for a minute or so, but it’s a bit like being at a club. Unless you go bounding into someone’s space you mostly ignore each other and do your own thing.

It’s dark so while you can kinda ‘see’ each other amidst the darkness and disco lights you don’t feel as if you’re on show.

And you really CAN dance however you bloody want. I thought I’d just do some do side-to-side naff shoo-bop-type movements…. given I’ve been ‘out’ dancing once in the last decade and it’s over 4 years since my faux Zumba classes but before I knew it I was bouncing about to the Black Eyed Peas… (And yes, even without alcohol to lubricate my funky moves!)

A bit of Madonna and I would have had some flashbacks to Maryborough’s Royal Hotel (aka Muck-hole) circa 1980s and 1990s.

Chelsie said she’s still working on the music and asked what those of us there liked. I said I was partial to some 80s and 90s stuff and top 40. I should have mentioned some of my old faves from faux Zumba, like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga and so forth. But last night we had a bit of everything from 1D to Oasis to hip-hop etc…

dancin-in-the-dark

As we’re in the middle of a heatwave in Queensland and the room’s not airconditioned it was pretty bloody hot. But that was okay. We were all ready for it and felt like we’d had a good workout after.

Shoes are optional, but as there are tiles we decided it was probably better for our joints if we kept them on as the floor would get hard if you were leaping about energetically for an hour.

feet-in

Some of us doing an end-of-class footsie. An ‘after’ shot of our sweaty faces wasn’t an option. 🙂

The time passes surprisingly quickly. We just grabbed a drink of water whenever we needed it and kept going. I was surprised as I’m pretty unfit and thought I’d need to take a break or two but I just reined in my jaunty and much-admired moves (!!) when I needed to.

So, all in all, I had a great time and am looking forward to more next week.

Dancing in the Dark is held at The Studio, at 4/71 Wharf Street in Maryborough on Thursday from 7-8pm and costs $7/person. Find The Studio on Facebook or call 0429 967 628 for information about the classes or others on offer.

I should mention it took all of my willpower not to make a Bruce Springsteen / Courtney Cox reference during this post. Mainly cos I thought readers might be too young to get it.

Would you try ‘dancing in the dark’? 

Migaloo Starlight Swing

I need to share this before I go any further….

Image

Yes, it’s true. I assumed that the final event of the The Whale Festival involved an actual swing. I didn’t quite flesh-out the image in my own mind… but some sort of fairy-lit giant swing actually seemed and sounded quite romantic. And fun.

However, I soon discovered that the aforementioned ‘swing’ had little to do with the things-found-in-parks, and more to do with music and dance. #Woteva!

As Pier Park is a short wander from my place I decided it was a Must-Do and made arrangements with a friend.

I have to admit that I hadn’t seen a lot of publicity beforehand – other than stuff on Facebook, which I shared – but it was there I discovered that those keen to get in the mood should dress up: white frocks (in honour of Migaloo) for the ladies and bow ties and so forth for the gents.

migaloo

I was both pleased (and frightened*) to see that some swing-night goers did take heed of the dress code and we did get to watch some dancing.

Pier Park looked absolutely gorgeous. It’s lovely at the best of times, but with additional tables and a picket fence and pretty lighting, the scene was quite magical.

My friend(s) and I discussed the need for a blanket to sit on but decided to take our chances. Indeed we were there early but missed out on tables and chairs (though probably could have invited ourselves to join those at tables with some empty chairs).

But… as we were Migaloo Starlight Swing virgins, we hadn’t realised there were no food stalls. Our diabolical plan was to eat, drink and listen to some music before waddling home. The Bayswater wine and beer stall had small antipasto platters, but (until Mr Whippy showed up) there were no other food options other than (very busy) nearby cafes.

We contemplated heading into Pavilion by the Pier, but it was closed for a private event; so we left the event a lot earlier than planned in search of dinner.

Again, it’s just a lesson for new-players and like my learnings from the Seafood Festival, something we’ll know for next year (ie. make own food / take picnic / order from local cafes earlier for easy pick-up).

I think there were to be some other musicians later in the night, but the big band we heard playing was fabulous and the music great – particularly if you’re into swing / jazz etc.

sunset camera

Best of all, the Bay had turned on its charm and offered up a lovely evening… farewelling the Whale Festival and winter in spectacular fashion.

* I know this will make me sound like a biatch, but there were a few scary Bride of Frankenstein types. I’m all for raiding the local Op Shops, but some of the dresses / looks were reminiscent of Great Expectations’ Miss Havisham, resplendent in her decaying wedding dress and holed up in her dilapidated mansion! I wouldn’t be surprised if some peeps didn’t pull out their 40yr old debutante dresses! Fun but slightly tragic.

Any other suggestions for Migaloo Starlight Swing newbies?