When Melbourne-based comedian and facilitator David Naylor becomes his alter ego, Guru Dudu, he leaves behind his inhibitions and encourages audiences to do the same.
Guru Dudu is passionate about giving people permission to play and celebrate their creative, quirky selves.
Incorporating theatre and comedy, his unique Silent Disco Walking Tours invite participants to bare their inner rock star and disco diva to the streets of Melbourne without restraint.
As well as conducting the disco tours, Guru Dudu also MC’s events, performs on-stage as a warm-up act, and runs other hilarious programs such as “Happy Yoga” and “Cosmic Speed Dating”.
Now ready to don his lycra disco attire and become Guru Dudu for Fed Square’s spring school holiday program, we asked David to share a few insights into Guru Dudu and his work…
Warning: cheeks may hurt from smiling!
The Silent Disco Walking Tours are running at Fed Square for the school holidays, what can the kids and families expect?
Everyone wears headphones (supplied) and can hear the Guru’s hilarious commentary and the dance mix of uplifting faves from the 70s, 80s and 90s. There’ll be spontaneous Flash Mob dancing, interpretative dancing around local landmarks and lots of crazy improvisation that will open the ‘laughter meridians’ and leave you smiling inside and out.
Can you tell us how opening up ‘laughter meridians’ works?
I do believe that laughter and joy are inherent in each of us, and that our deeper self is waiting for the permission to let the little girl or boy out to play. My work relaxes people and invites them to gently confront what may be an edge for them in dancing in public.
“I find that any nervous energy is soon transformed into beaming smiles and laughter. The group dynamic holds it together as everyone is in the same boat simultaneously”
Are your tours suited to a particular age group?
I adapt according to who shows up. All ages are welcome. I select the music live so I am able to adapt to suit the audience on the day.
You have a business as a facilitator and strategic thinker, why did you decide to start up the Silent Disco Walking Tours?
“We all take ourselves too seriously”
I found that this is the case with business people especially, and it helps with better decision-making if they can loosen up first and remember to play like a child. It freshens the mind and opens the creative and imaginative mind.
You run the tours as your alter ego, Guru Dudu. How do you separate the two identities and what impact does this have on your work?
That’s easy – I’m like Clark Kent… I go behind the scenes, and quickly change into the Guru’s lycra and crazy glasses and the transformation is complete! People often get a shock when they see my Clark Kent side and I kind of like that because I am inviting others to consider who their unique eccentric character might be.
The Silent Disco Walking Tours have been described as ‘liberating’ for the soul. What is it about them that allows people to release their inhibitions?
The headphones offer a unique experience that is both intimate and at the same time connecting with others. The uplifting music is familiar – many of them are our culture’s tribal songs.
“There is a simple joy in realising we are all feeling it together”
What’s the most interesting part about taking the tours? Do you have a story or particularly memorable moment from your tours that you can share with us?
On many tours, I will find someone in the general public who is doing a mundane physical action like drinking coffee or putting on a bike helmet. I ponder out loud “I wonder what it would be like to become this person right now” and then I coach my audience to all imitate him/her. It always ends in smiles in both directions once the person cottons on to what is happening. It’s particularly fun when we imitate someone taking a photo of us.
You’ve conducted the Silent Disco Walking Tours in locations across Melbourne as well as interstate, why do you bring people to Fed Square?
It has a great balance of open space and also the energy of people being around. It has great sight-lines and there is always something interesting going on that we can interact with.