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Londoners re-live dancing days with kids

LONDON -- The bass is pumping, the lights are low and the dance floor of the club is heaving. It's the weekend and the young man is enjoying himself — until someone steals his balloon.

Dressed in a Spiderman outfit, the four-year-old boy runs to his dad by the bar to complain, before receiving a glow-stick in consolation.

Such are the highs and lows of family raving, a new craze fueled by London's ex-clubbers who still want to go dancing but now have kids in tow.

“What a genius idea — beer, raving, children. What more could you want?” said Paul Crawley, 34, swaying slowly on the dance floor carrying his baby daughter Camille in a sling.

“The worst thing is I was invited out last night, but I said no, I've got to stay sober for this party.”

This dingy bar in south London is normally the venue for all-night raves, but for two and a half hours on a Saturday afternoon, it is transformed into a playgroup with a difference.

In the chill out area, mums breastfeed on low leather sofas to a soundtrack of soft rock, while older children paint and draw at a well-equipped craft table under moving projected images.

The bar is well stocked and next door, professional DJs play chilled house music, funk and drum'n'bass at a surprisingly loud volume, although organizers insist it is safe for babies' ears.

The undisputed king of the dance floor is Caelan, a fleet-footed five-year-old wearing impeccable white trainers.

“Keep to the beat!” urges his dad, Michael Edie, while a little girl in a princess outfit looks on admiringly.

Caelan has been taking dance lessons since he was three and this is a good place for him to get some practice in, offering a bit more space than at home.

Edie, a DJ with London urban music radio station Rinse FM, is happy to stay seated, however. “You won't see me dancing. I'm no way as good as him,” he laughs.

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Eight-year-old Cosima is carried by her father as she enjoys the music and entertainment at the Big Fish Little Fish “2-4 Hour Party People” event in Brixton, South London on April 12. (AFP)

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