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Radio Review: Dance like no-one's watching

Ronan Conway of Soda Bread Box spoke to Ryan Tubridy
Ronan Conway of Soda Bread Box spoke to Ryan Tubridy Ronan Conway of Soda Bread Box spoke to Ryan Tubridy

The Ryan Tubridy Show, RTÉ 1

Brendan O’Connor, RTÉ 1

RONAN Conway was living in Melbourne eight years ago when a girl he knew invited him to go “dark dancing” with her.

He felt like it wasn’t for him so he refused.

But when he was back in Dublin in a flat he told his friends and they said: “Let’s just go into the kitchen and try it out.”

They turned off the lights, cranked on a couple of tunes and had a dance. Two songs, lights on, a lot of sweaty faces and a couple of knocked-over kitchen chairs, and in that moment Soda Bread Box was born.

Soda Bread Box is a dance event minus alcohol and most of the light.

Ronan Conway sold it to us.

It’s held in Temple Bar, Dublin.

“There's no alcohol, they go into the basement, there’s no lights and it’s between 7 and 8pm on a Monday night – what it is, is there is no agenda – no-one can see you dance, no-one is eyeing you up and down… just you and the music for an hour.

“People come and dance after work, after college and they’re home and all in time for the 9 o’clock news,” he told Ryan Tubridy.

Everybody can dance but many people think they can’t or they’ve been laughed at in school so they don’t.

But at Soda Bread Box you can dance like nobody’s watching. Anyone who has channelled their inner Bruce with a hairbrush in the quiet of their teenage bedroom will know how good that feels.

It gets people out of their heads and into their bodies – a win-win for mental health.

What a great idea – a bit of fun and no pressure. We all need to get out of our heads, without resorting to getting out of our heads.

Hand me my trusty bristled Denby… I’m in.

Soda may be the solution to the dreary dark problem that is January.

Clinical psychologist Maureen Gaffney spoke to Brendan O’Connor about how, for a lot of Irish people, the real winter starts in January.

She said people who struggle with winter should get as much light as possible. Morning light seems to be very important… fresh air, light and the beauty of nature are a real pick me up.

And if January seems too much, just remember – it’s nearly over.