By Priscilla Issa
Bondi Feast dance-stravaganza, the Silent Disco, goes on a boogie, a stride, and a popping-n-locking groove along famous Bondi Beach. Braving the cold in their neon orange and pick short-shorts, the funky and flamboyant dance instructors, led by the fabulous DJ Dani Disco, take participants on a riveting trip back in time to the 80s. The only things missing were mullets and moustaches. Only instructions: “lose all your inhibitions”, “put on your best dance face” and “go wild”. I could do that.
The night began with dancers – new and seasoned - being allocated noise-cancelling headphones, which were set to a station playing salsa music. Latin? I was already hooked! Before you could count “5, 6, 7, 8”, my hips were moving in figure-eight motions, my happy feet were performing classic salsa ‘shines’ and my partner was noticeably (and pleasantly) surprised. Hey, if you’re going to try anything simultaneously ambitious and hilarious, do it donning glow-in-the-dark headphones, among equally enthusiastic dancers, and in a Sydney hotspot on a Friday night. Even those claiming to be unconfident public performers found their way into the centre of a circle busting some serious moves that would make MJ turn in his grave. Performers were constantly encouraged by the DJ and applauding onlookers. There was never an embarrassing or dull moment; positivity abounded.
Onlooker participation added a special dimension to the fun experienced. Performers are unable to hear anything beyond the voice of the DJ and music, but they can see onlookers embracing their off-beat box steps, the incessant “woohs” and “yeahs”, and the out of tune renditions of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ and Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’. So, what does a 21st Century onlooker do? Join in? No. They whip out their phone and record this aberrant behaviour for their IG accounts, of course. Are the dancers deterred by this? Not in the slightest. All those hours practising an impersonation of Chaka Khan in nothing but a towel and socks in front of the bedroom mirror are finally paying off. It’s an opportunity to let the inner star shine.
On a serious note, there is something to be said for an organisation like Guru Dudu facilitating a participant’s “laughter meridians” in a dwindling Sydney nightlife. In fact, it’s exactly what Sydney needs. The organisation originated in Melbourne and has been branching out into other Australian cities since 2013. It is hoped that the organisation builds momentum and attracts enough interest that its outreach and engagement caters to areas of Sydney considered disillusioned, disenfranchised and in need of a pick-me-up. More than giving people permission to celebrate their quirky side in Silent Disco, this organisation runs social retreats like Happy Yoga. It is clear that its mission is to create a safe space for individuals to express themselves, or at the very least an opportunity to experience a little therapeutic bliss away from the hussle and bussle of Australian life.
The frequent and friendly high-fives, the wild and carefree demeanour of instructors, and the love of the performing arts are imbued in these walking tours. The result is a contagious happiness within the tour group that may, even for just the hour, make someone’s day, perhaps even week or month.
Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tours are suitable for children and adults alike, so long as you’re willing to going along with the antics. There is no better way to burn the dinner burger, bond with people you’ve never met before, and bring joy to the local community. The Tour runs until July 21st and tickets and information can be found at www.bondifeast.com.au.
Get amongst it! Make 80s Prince Proud.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.