DANCE: Time to Drop New York City’s Cabaret Law Once and For All


New York City’s Museum of Art and Design presented THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice over the weekend (Nov. 8-10), shedding more light on the city’s restrictive 1926 Cabaret Law during an informative panel Sunday. Surprisingly, many people still aren’t aware of this piece of legislation resurrected during the Giuliani era in the 1990s.

With a newly elected administration, city officials can get this off the books once and for all … of us. The law is outdated, unnecessary and culturally stifling, and efforts are being made in earnest to change the status quo (visit and sign the petition).

Don’t dance much? Nights out clubbing not really you’re thing? Guess again because freedom of expression is supposed to be protected under the First Amendment. Our rights matter and THE FUN Fellowship not only gives artists the opportunity to develop their own practices, but also seeks to raise awareness and spark dialogue around nightlife as an art form, according to organizers. Since its 2011 launch, MAD’s signature program has “championed NYC artists working in nightlife, elevating this under-supported practice through individual cash awards and logistical support.”

I also recommend checking out freedom2dance, a short documentary described as “very sharp” in the 2012 Dance on Camera Film Festival jury award nomination. “Through this lens, the film asks pointed questions about marginalization, identity, freedom of expression, inherent bigotry in the long-standing governmental regulations, and contemplates the boundaries that define dance as an art form.” DANCE:FILM has extended their online #shortfilm program, so learn more about this issue by streaming freedom2dance while still available.


Legalize Dance NYC:

Museum of Art and Design presents THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice:

More about freedom2dance documentary:

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (Cabaret license):


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