WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM DANCING IN THE DARK

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No lights, no lycra
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 27 August, 2015
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Can I just say how much I love NLNL?  (For the uninitiated, that’s No Lights No Lycra.)  It’s an American phenomenon that’s spread to Australia, which involves dancing in the dark with strangers for an hour.  I travel to either Bondi Beach or Newtown in Sydney for the privilege.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly mine.

So why am I writing about it here?  Because it’s a joyful experience and I want to spread the word.  Does it have anything to do with The Dubs?  Not really.  But I’ve scraped together a tenuous rationale below.

The joy of NLNL

With the exception of walking, I dislike exercise, especially when there’s a trainer or instructor barking commands at me.  That is, for me, the anti-fun.

But I do love to dance.  I love shaking my body around to music, jumping up and down, connecting with the tunes and with my fellow dancefloor divas.  Getting your heart rate up gives a nice endorphin rush as well.

There are NLNL devotees all round Australia, lovin’ the free dancin’ vibe. You should hear the laughter as people stumble into the darkened room, before their eyes have adjusted to the black-out (they tape black curtains to the windows).  I love the swell of cheers when each song comes on.  And the hoots and clapping after each track.  You don’t even need to like the music, the vibe is just so righteous.

The upshot is, disguising exercise as something I love and already do for fun, works for me.  Having a regular class you can attend, up to twice a week, to do the thing you love is great.  So then I don’t have to rely on random social events to give me my sweaty dance fix.

Wow, that is so much like content marketing.

I’m so glad you said that.  You see, marketing/advertising for many (like exercise for me) is a bitter pill. You don’t want it interrupting the fun or entertaining parts of your life. But good content marketing (like NLNL) actually is a fun or entertaining thing.  You embrace it.  And hopefully, you can tune in regularly to have more served up, as part of a content marketing schedule.

The people who thought up NLNL knew they had an audience that loved music and free-form dancing and they served up something to suit: dancing and laughing and expressing yourself and getting fit with friends.  Without the pressure and politics of structured classes.

Bad content marketing doesn’t think about its audience.  It thinks about what it wants you to do.  It’s more like a bootcamp coach dressed in fluro lycra and a lady-wig shouting dance moves at you from the front of the room. Pretending it’s fun.

If your content marketing’s not working, maybe you should make sure there isn’t a personal trainer in drag lurking in the wings.

Did that work?

I’m not sure if I succeeded in establishing a rationale, but when you turn up at a No Lights No Lycra night in your city or town, make sure you cloak your bags, take a water bottle and get ready to sweat – in a fun way.

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.