THE ISSUE: In 1926, New York City regulated bars and clubs by requiring a license for dancing. Currently there are only 104 "cabaret licenses" throughout the five borroughs. This outdated requirement unnecessarily affects small businesses and their patrons who want to dance.
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WHAT WE WANT:
Now that the Cabaret Law was partially repealed on October 30, 2017, members of LegalizeDance.Org want the word "dance" removed from zoning codes of NYC law. We maintain that nightlife (and daylife) or "Entertainment establishments" should be regulated by venue capacity not whether or not people enjoy the healthy activity of dancing.
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Click the button above to SIGN the PETITTION to support zoning reform. Our goal is to collect 10,000 signatures from New Yorkers along with a major publicity campaign- Please help to spread the word to make the petition go viral!
STATUS: In 2006, the City was sued by 5 groups of dancers who argued that they should have the right to dance. Judge Stalman ruled that social dance was not considered expressive activity and therefore not protected from the Constitution's 1st Ammendment. An appeal was lost. Dance Parade New York was founded in protest and brings 10,000 dancers to Broadway each May. On November 27, 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal's bill into law that repealed the administrative code of the Cabaret Law, leaving provisions to monitor large nightlife establishments with cameras along with the vetting of security guards. Though venues will no longer be subject to fines, the city's zoning text must still change to allow recreational dancing in non-industrial (Use Group 12) spaces. New York City’s Office of Nightlife ("ONL"), part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, was created in 2017 to serve as a liaison between nightlife operators and city enforcement agencies. Ariel Palitz, "The NIghtlife Mayor" was appointed to head the ONL and conducted town hall meetings in all NYC boroughs. On August 26, 2021, the City Council Members Keith Powers and Mark Levine along with Borough President and Mayoral Canidate Eric Adams introduced a bill to remove dancing from the zoning laws.
ORGANIZE! A huge victory has been won to repeal the Cabaret Law but the fight is not over. Technically due to the Zoning Code, dance can only happen in "Use Group 12." The City Council still needs to change 7 words in the zoning text to allow dance in the City Planning's "Use Groups". Our plan is to gather 10,000 signatures, and lobby City Council and Mayor Adams to change continue to thwart this archaic law.