L.O.A.D (Lights Out and Dance) promises exactly what it delivers. Every week, a group of groovers come together in the darkness to shake their booties to an hour of dance-worthy tunes, requested by attendees. Due to popular demand, L.O.A.D is now operating in its original home at Burleigh as well as a northern session in Runaway Bay. We caught up with organiser Karleen Harrington about the journey.
L.O.A.D has grown so much since it started! Tell us a bit about it.
It really has, Lights Out And Dance has just gone from strength to strength!
For me personally, I’ve just always loved to dance and I was really missing having a regular dancing session as I’m very much past the days of clubbing until the wee hours of the morning, but I really missed having that great non-stop dance session all the time. When I started LOAD, I was sure there would be a few like-minded souls who still really loved to dance but who felt there was little opportunity to just go out and dance on a regular basis – little did I know just how many others there were out there thinking the same!
Most of our Groovers are like me, over 35, love to dance, no longer interested in nightclubs, not into gyms, want to have fun getting fit and losing weight and not really interested in going to a typical dance class where you’re required to follow a teacher, so I wanted a place to just dance for myself and after trying a few different things I created LOAD.
Our numbers in Burleigh Heads have gone from 5-7 Groovers to 90 being our biggest session yet! Each week, we have upwards of 35 people and we recently celebrated a massive milestone with our 100th session! We celebrated that with more than 70 people joining us for a special GLOW Party that was so humbling to know there are so many people out there who love LOAD as much as I do!
It’s been a really amazing journey connecting with the community and sharing my love of music and dancing with everyone, and I am constantly surprised with the number of requests and the variety of music people want to hear – I normally get anywhere from 2-3 hours’ worth of requests every week – a session usually has about 20 songs!
We’re excited about you extending to the northern Gold Coast! Give us the lowdown.
Oh so am i! It’s been a long time coming, I’ve had more than 50 requests over the last couple of years for a location on the northern end and it forces me to have another fun exercise session a week, plus I want everyone to experience it. I know I’m slightly biased, but LOAD is a really fun experience!
Are there a few staple song requests that come up most weeks?
There sure is; it’s mostly old classics, or anything that is fast to keep you moving!
The variety of genres and decades is truly wonderful, and it’s always fun to discover new music, or reconnect with an old classic that’s way back in the depths of your music memory. I do like to push the boundaries at times by throwing in a random punk track from some of my favs like the Ramones or Pixies, or even a bit heavier like Rage Against the Machine! You really can’t go past the classics thought but for me, if I can dance to it I’ll play it.
We understand you’re participating in Bleach* Festival this year for ‘Yes We Dance’. Can you tell us more about that?
We are! We love to support anything in the community that gets people out and about and taking part in some of the incredible things people within our community are taking risks and putting on for us to enjoy; and our friends at Bleach* are always putting on amazing events for the community to get involved in so why wouldn’t we want to support them?
We’ve supported them with a few public dance workshops in the past and they have asked me to be a dance ambassador for the ‘Yes We Dance’ shows as part of Festival 2018. Argh, the thought of dancing on a stage on my own in Broadbeach scares the bejeezus out of me; so I’ve turned to our incredible LOAD community to get involved also, because we dance!
‘Yes We Dance’ – check it out here!
What else is coming up for you?
During the week of ANZAC Day our sessions will be fundraising events for an incredible organisation created here on the Gold Coast called the Association of Veteran Surfers (AVS).
AVS is a group of young veterans supporting other veterans through surfing and we are hoping to raise a significant amount of money to help them purchase some surfing equipment and reach more young diggers right here on the coast who are struggling with life after defence.
We’ll have the 2nd annual Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever taking place again on the Gold Coast on 14 July, an incredible global tribute to Kate Bush! All the information will be available soon on our facebook page here.
We’re going to have another Glow Party later in the year because it was the best fun! We’ll be bringing a theme night each fortnight at LOAD as our theme nights are huge and other than that, we are really focusing this year on growing the LOAD community even further and get people dancing in the dark for a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy soul. We want to ensure that people understand the benefits they can get from it because dancing is known to provide so many crucial health benefits from improved condition of your heart and lungs and cardio vascular circulation, to supporting motor and aerobic fitness, muscle tone and strength, reducing bouts of depression, supporting weight loss goals, improved mental health and wellbeing and most importantly, it’s fun!
The sessions take place at 7pm every Monday in Burleigh Heads State School and 7:30pm every Wednesday at Runaway Bay Youth Centre.