Stuff We Liked: Bye-bye NY Cabaret Laws, Charleston-ing Starfish, and Demystifying Swing Dance Terms

Harlem nightclub in the 1930s

Harlem nightclub in the 1930s

For those of you who dance in New York City, October 31, 2017 will be remembered as the day that the idiotic and arguably racist “Cabaret Laws” were finally struck down from the penal code. For an incredible 91 years, public establishments like bars, clubs, and cafes had to have a cabaret license in order for live music and dancing to occur. Enacted in 1926, the Cabaret Law was widely believed to target mixed-race venues in Harlem and elsewhere. There’s even specific provisions forbidding the playing of wind and percussion instruments.  

That was until yesterday, when the law was repealed by the NYC city council. Let’s dance!

Other stuff we liked this week:

  • One of the finalists in this year’s “Dance Your PhD” featured some spirited charleston and lindy hop dancing to demonstrate the importance of sea stars in supporting healthy tidepools. Awesome work by director, choreographer and PhD student at UC Santa Cruz Monica Moritsch!
  • So what’s the difference between jitterbug, East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, West Coast, and Balboa? Daniel Newsome attempts to clarify all the terms in a long but well-researched blog post. 
  • The lindy hop-focused film “Ctrl+Alt+Dance” is now streaming for free on Amazon Prime. The story centers on Colin, an unemployed programmer, who is mistakedly hired as a dance teacher at a local school. Adventure ensues as he tries to "stay one step ahead of a vengeful hacker, a suspicious principal, and a gorgeous dance instructor." 

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