Swedes having a sneaky dance in 1980. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT
Swedes have been banned from throwing shapes in pubs and bars without dance licences since the 1930s and there have been more than 20 campaigns by different political and lobby groups designed to get the practice dropped.
Their wishes were finally granted on Thursday when parliament voted to ditch the ban after a high-profile push by the Left Party, which is not part of Sweden's Social Democrat-Green coalition.
Lead campaigner Rosanna Dinamarca hinted last week that the shift was on the cards after Sweden's cross-party Justice Committee, which was investigating the potential change, said it would endorse the Left's motion.
“It feels great!” she told Swedish broadcaster SVT after parliament reached its decision.
“We have persisted in holding a belief that dance is criminal, it can have dangerous consequences. But dancing is just fun, it's an expression of joy,” she argued.
Fellow campaigner Mathias Sundin, from the centre-right Liberal party, said he was hoping that the law would be implemented by the end of the year and pressed the government to take action.
“It's high time that they stamp it out, it's time for the government to get moving. It should at least go by January 1st next year, so that we can dance on New Year's Eve.
A number of high-profile bars and entertainment venues have already given their seal of approval to the change including the Debaser chain and the Södra theatre bar on hipster island Södermalm.
“We danced outside the royal palace when the decision was made,” said Anders Varveus, a long-time campaigner and techno event organizer, told The Local on Friday.
“It's not such a big step for the underground scene because we always do what we want (…) but it's a big step for more mainstream bars and different venues for parties. Now it's okay that guests can start dancing spontaneously,” he explained,
“Earlier the owners had to stop the people dancing! The government was terrorising them by saying their licence for alcohol was in danger if they didn't stop the dancing.”
According to Stockholm's environment agency there are about 1,100 bars and restaurants in the Swedish capital alone. While the majority play some kind of music, only 100 currently have dance permits.