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Strictly not dancing: Why some men won't dance 27 November Image caption Jonnie Peacock who took part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing says he never used to dance Over three quarters of British men say they have never or rarely danced, according to a YouGov survey of 1, men by BBC Radio 5 live. Confidence Two-time Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock admits that, before taking part in Strictly Come Dancing, he was one of those who would avoid dancing.
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Bhangra Boy doing Ballet
However, for most of my adult life, going out dancing for hours usually went hand-in-hand with going out drinking for hours. It meant careening drunkenly out of nightclubs long after midnight, pockets emptied and bloodstream teeming with enough vodka and soda to trigger a raging hangover the next day, negating any positive health benefits. Determined to keep dancing my way through this year after ditching alcohol, I continued to hit the same venues but soon discovered to my dismay that they're not nearly as much fun when stone-cold sober.
If you're an enthusiastic participant in binge drinking, you don't tend to notice the annoying impacts of excess alcohol on others around you. Now, I've found by 11pm people have often descended into incoherency and blunder repeatedly into my personal space.
I know I was probably much the same when similarly inebriated — but now that I'm not drinking, this behaviour comes into uncomfortably sharp focus and kills my mood. It meant when I stumbled across the burgeoning spread of sober dance parties in my city organised by people trying to build up communities of dancing non-drinkers, I immediately wanted in. The morning event I attended, one of several like it in Australia, began in New York back in and has slowly spread to encapsulate more than 25 cities, landing in Sydney in It arrived with a mission to create an inclusive community united around sobriety, exercise and dancing before work; globally, almost half a million people have attended these events in pursuit of their promised natural highs.
Organisers greet you with a hug to try to trigger oxytocin, the exercise and dancing components are designed to boost endorphins, and the DJ plays uplifting and joyful music to encourage the release of dopamine and serotonin. At another recent event — this one held in a small inner-city warehouse on a Saturday night — the alcohol-free bar served up shots of "sacred cacao" aka hot chocolate alongside "mood-enhancing elixir drinks" zero-proof cocktails as well as tasty vegetarian food.
Mobile phones were banned from the dancefloor and in a side room, there was a bit of yoga, stretching and qigong thrown in for good measure. While this all sounds very clean and wholesome, the event still retained all the best bits of nightclubs — banging music, flashing lights and hours of dancing — in a super-friendly and intimate atmosphere blessedly free of unruly drunks. The only thing missing from the event was a boozy, well-stocked bar. And in the morning, my lack of hangxiety was a welcome reminder of why that absence was a good idea. These kinds of events are not just confined to Sydney — a quick online search for "sober dancing" reveals there have been similar held in most capital cities and even some regional areas over the past year.
If it all sounds like good fun but you worry you might feel too awkward to hit the dance floor without lashings of alcohol to loosen the inhibitions, you can even have a go at it in the dark. Since it started in Melbourne a decade ago, No Lights No Lycra has developed a huge following across Australia and the world for their weekly drug and alcohol-free events that encourage participants to dance like nobody is watching — because they're not.
As the lights are completely switched off to allow people to dance with wild abandon without worrying about what they look like, others can't even see you.
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For me, these events have proved a brilliant way to blow off steam, get in some regular exercise and experiment with bold new dance moves without feeling like an idiot, in an alcohol-free environment that's heaps of fun. These are just some of many, many such events to choose from; every day across Australia, there are thousands of affordable classes and communities offering exercise and dancing set to music for almost every conceivable taste.
All you need to get started on a non-boozy dancing journey is a pair of comfortable shoes, curiosity and an open mind. ABC Life helps you navigate life's challenges and choices so you can stay on top of the things that matter to you. Au contraire, my friends — I'm sober as a judge and buzzing from a completely natural high.
Elevating my mood in other ways Dancing is vigorous exercise I enjoy more than going to the gym and can lose happy hours in — and it also releases floods of endorphins, elevating my mood for hours in ways that alcohol was only ever temporarily able to do.