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Why Are Lunchtime Dance Parties Popping Up Around St. Louis?

(Courtesy: Matt Menietti)

On the third Wednesday of every month there’s a unique gathering in St. Louis during the lunch hour. Dozens of people gather for Lunch Beat St. Louis to dance, eat and get away from their normal routine.

Andrew Warshauer is the organizer of Lunch Beat St. Louis, which he started last June.

“I like to say it’s a chance to slip away from the every day,” said Warshauer.

Lunch Beat started in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010 and has spread to more than a dozen cities worldwide.

Every event is free to get in and food is available for purchase. A DJ lays down the beats, a job Warshauer, a DJ himself, says can be difficult due to the time of day. 

“It is about ramping up the energy a lot faster, condensing it down to one hour,” said Warshauer.

The first Lunch Beat St. Louis, in June 2013, was at HandleBar in The Grove and, according to Warshauer, was a great success with about 70 people in attendance. Other locations have included Melt on Cherokee Street and the St. Louis Public Library in May in honor of hip hop appreciate week, as seen in the video.

Warshauer says Lunch Beat allows people to take a break and let loose regardless of whatever else is going on. “Having a different kind of dance experience … to encourage people to approach dancing in this new light and maybe in a new state of mind,” he said.

Lunch Beat St. Louis is a loose environment and is affiliated with the so-called manifesto set forth by the original Lunch Beat in Sweden.

Here are Lunch Beat’s 10 rules, as seen on Lunch Beat St. Louis’ Facebook page.

  • If it’s your first lunch at LunchBeat, you have to dance.
  • If it’s your second, third or fourth time at LunchBeat, you have to dance.
  • If you are getting too tired to actually dance at LunchBeat, please have your lunch at some other place.
  • You don’t talk about your job at LunchBeat.
  • At LunchBeat everyone present is your dance partner.
  • Any LunchBeat are to be no longer than 60 minutes long and set during”lunch time”.
  • LunchBeat always serve their guest with a 1 Dj-set and 1 take away meal.
  • Water is always served during a LunchBeat for free.
  • LunchBeat is a preferably drug free environment.
  • LunchBeat can be set up anywhere by anyone as long as they are announced as public events, are nonprofit arrangements and are directed by this manifesto.

This month’s gathering is Wednesday, July 16, in Grand Center at The Stage at KDHX.
Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

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