Lunch Beat – Sweden’s Unusual Lunch Break Dance Parties

The time just after lunch hour is perhaps the sleepiest in a typical workday. Over the years, people have come up with very creative solutions to keep themselves awake and in a working mood, but nothing can beat Sweden’s Lunch Beat, a truly original way to spend lunch hour.

Dancing in a club, at noon probably doesn’t seem like the perfect way to spend your lunch break, but it’s exactly what more and more Swedes are doing to re-energize themselves. They just groove to the music for about an hour and then get back to work. The first Lunch Beat was organized in an underground parking lot in Stockholm, in June 2010. Only 14 people attended that first event, but it was so much fun that the word spread pretty quickly. Today, hundreds attend the monthly Lunch Beats organized in the Swedish capital. The phenomenon is slowly spreading to other Swedish and European cities as well.

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Photo: Peter Magnusson

The Lunch Beat party generally starts at noon and goes on for one hour. Entrance fees are about $14, and although the atmosphere inside is identical to that of a nightclub, the absence of booze might make it a little different for some clubbers. According to Daniel Odelstad, the organizer of Lunch Beat Stockholm, “People are sober, it’s the middle of the day and it’s very short, effective and intense. You have to get in there and dance because the hour ends pretty quickly.” The first rule of Lunch Beat, apparently, is that you must dance. If you don’t want to, then there’s really no point of being there at all, is there? First time visitors at Lunch Beat are pretty amazed at the behavior of the otherwise reserved Swedes. Most of them say it’s great to see clerks mingle with businessmen and the young with the middle aged. They don’t even seem to mind returning to their offices all sweaty and smelly. Ellen Bengtsson, a 29-year-old government employee says, “It’s great. We’ll go back sweaty together.”

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Photo: Peter Magnusson

Lunch Beat is a not-for-profit initiative. Anyone can organize it as long as they adhere to a few simple rules. The entrance fees are used to pay the rent and also to provide sandwiches, so no one goes back to work hungry. It sure does sound like a wonderful community initiative, and of course, a great way to stay awake at work after lunch hour.

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