LONDON (Reuters) - The lights are low, the groove is grinding and the disco ball is flicking over flashes of brilliance on the dance floor.
But it’s not 2 a.m., Saturday, at one of the capital’s super-chic nightclubs. It’s 2 p.m., Sunday, at south London’s Clapham Grand club — and the dancers are toddlers and their parents.
Baby Loves Disco — an American phenomenon which gives parents the chance to go clubbing with their offspring — has come to Britain, and it is proving a sell-out craze.
“It’s more like Saturday Night Fever, not like a rave,” says Sandra Skiba, brand manager for Baby Loves Disco.
“There’s a chill-out area with books and puzzles if the music and lights get too much. And there’s a snack bar with rice cakes and juice boxes.”
Baby Loves Disco launched in Britain in September and has run three events in each of two venues in London and Manchester. They plan to launch in 4 more British cities next year and are also moving into Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Poland.
The thinking behind the concept is that parents and children rarely truly enjoy activities together: either the parents get bored, and cold, while the kids play in the park, or the kids get bored, and hot, while the parents go shopping.
Baby Loves Disco is an afternoon dance party open for accompanied children from 6 months to 7 years old. DJs promise parents “feelgood tracks” and “the best time you’ve had at a kids event”.
“This is something to do together,” says Skiba. “Sometimes it’s difficult to find things to do as a family when it’s getting cold and dark outside. It’s very active and a good way to keep fit and healthy.”
With every London and Manchester baby disco a sell-out so far, organisers hope the craze will grab the style conscious parents of Britain as much as it has those in America, where kids discos are reportedly attracting celebrities like comedian Jerry Seinfeld and pop star Madonna.
Skiba insists “it really is a cool thing” to go out dancing with your toddler — and stresses that the music is strictly not of the jazzed-up nursery rhyme variety.
“Kids love dancing, they boogie away the whole time, and they have shakers and hoola-hoops and scarves to wave around. But the music is not children’s — it’s real club classics.”
“It’s the sort of thing where you would think ‘I have nothing to wear, I can’t possibly go’ — but at the same time there are some very yummy mummies there, and cool dads too.”