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NYC activists aim to repeal local “no dancing law”

“This law doesn't belong in our city…”

  • Harrison Williams
  • 27 March 2017

A petition launched by Dance Liberation Network and NYC Artist Coalition aims to repeal the outdated Cabaret Law which makes it illegal for three or more individuals to dance inside a space that does not have a cabaret license.

Originally established in 1926 to restrict African American jazz clubs, the Cabaret Law, also dubbed the “no dancing law”, also originally stated that only up to three musicians could play together. That portion of the law was repealed, but the rest stayed in place and during the 1990s NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani used the law to crack down on unlicensed clubs.

Today, the Cabaret Law is still in effect and is obviously racist, but it also makes it extremely difficult for venues to obtain a cabaret license.

The petition issued by Dance Liberation Network and NYC Artist Coalition states why the outdated law should be repealed: “We believe the Cabaret Law criminalizes the act of dancing without providing meaningful additional safety or quality of life measures. All NYC bars and restaurants are already held to a multitude of noise, safety and fire codes which ensure that their establishments are safe for patrons and respectful of their neighbors.”

This Thursday, March 30, Dance Liberation Network and NYC Artist Coalition will hold the Let NYC Dance event, a Town Hall meeting at Market Hotel to oppose the law. Find out more via the flyer below.

Sign the petition here

Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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