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Dancing to a lunch-hour beat

For some people, the thought of dancing with their colleagues in the daylight hours while stone-cold sober is, well, horrifying.

But when public servant Cassandra Pace heard about the Swedish "lunchbeat" phenomenon, which started with 14 people dancing their lunch hour away in a garage and slowly spread around the globe, she decided it was time to see if Melbourne would embrace the idea.

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Swedish day-disco concept arrives in Melbourne

Based on Sweden's 'Lunch Beat' party, Melbourne's inaugural 'Ditch the Desk' lunchtime disco aims to get people dancing through music, not alcohol.

Ms Pace has organised a two-hour disco for city workers and uni students that is aimed at getting them to "ditch the desk" and spend their lunch break dancing with fellow wage slaves.

"I think it has a novelty factor — in today's generation you have to get really drunk and wait till midnight to go out dancing, so it will be really interesting to see if people will get up with their colleagues with little or no alcohol in their system," she said.

"Originally I just thought it would be me and the people from my office, but there's been interest and I'm hoping it can become a regular thing."

The Swedish lunchtime events started small but gathered momentum when they gained international media attention, including from Oprah Winfrey and the BBC. There is now a free online start-up guide, and organisers claim to have 25 international "branches".


The Melbourne lunch disco, which will be held at Chinatown's Ding Dong Lounge, is loosely based on the Swedish example but will not strictly follow its "manifesto", which requires organisers to provide lunch and keep the event alcohol and sponsorship-free and not-for-profit.

But the "no talk about work" rule will be retained.

Instead the bar will be open and if the disco makes a small profit, it will be used to cover some of the costs.

The event will be held on November 22 as part of the City of Melbourne's Music Week, with the first hour featuring funk tunes with DJ Manchild and a second hour of classic 1980s and '90s music with DJ Fiona Scott-Norman.