The city of New York has voted in favour of repealing the council’s 1926 “no dancing” law.
Rafael Espinal, Brooklyn councilman, iconic nightlife and culture advocate wrote the bill which businesses will now no longer require any form of license to allow the act of dancing on their premises, nor should fines be issued on such grounds.
Originally put into place to target mixed Jazz clubs in Harlem, anti-free speech and racism has kept this law alive, until now. Organizations such as NYC Artist Coalition, Dance Liberation Network, Legalize Dance NYC and Dance Parade’s founder have endured nearly a year-long campaign battle to bring down the legislation. According to the cabaret law, only about 100 of the city’s estimated 25 000 clubs, venues and bars have obtained the required license to host the act of dancing legally.
Espinal has commented: “Today NYC will right a historical wrong, It’s over for the cabaret law. For almost a century, the cabaret law has targeted specific groups, kept businesses and performers in fear and stifled the expression of NYC’s vital culture. I am proud to champion this historic repeal, which will support our nightlife businesses while maintaining the much-needed safety measures we already have in place.”
A bill by Espinal has successfully passed which will create an office in New York City, bringing artists, professionals and the city’s council together for the first time.