New York has overturned the law that banned dancing in bars. The obviously outdated cabaret law was enacted in 1920’s in an effort to control the speakeasies. Up until now it was the law that bars have to have a cabaret license for live acts to perform in the venue. Not everyone was following this law, but it existed.
In fact, only 97 bars and restaurants out of 25,000 locations actually had the cabaret license up to date to allow dancing. Part of the reason that the law was overturned now, is that simply having the law doesn’t stop dancing. People have been moving their dance parties to warehouses in Brooklyn, which are then less regulated. A warehouse party fire in San Francisco showed the potential dangers of having big parties in places that are not regulated.
The law has also been called racist. Performers had to have their own cabaret cards, and people like Ray Charles and Billie Holiday were denied theirs. Frank Sinatra protested the law and didn’t perform in NYC for a year because of it.