Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Exotic Dance isn't Art: It's Official.

Last month, New York strip club Nite Moves argued in court that it should be exempt from paying taxes. As reported in Art and Artifice, the club said that exotic dance was an art form and, since New York law exempts revenue from 'dramatical [and] musical arts performances' from taxation, the club's income should be tax free.

Sadly, the New York Court of Appeals disagreed, and the club will have to pay its back taxes after all. The Court noted that the tax break for the arts was intended to promote 'cultural and artistic performances in local communities' and the majority judgment was that the lap dances do not do so .  Consequently, Nite Moves was not entitled to tax exemption. '[P]erformances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practice moves are, [is] not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status,' they concluded.

However, the decision was close. Three of the seven appeal judges dissented, Judge Smith's dissenting judgment being particularly strong. He argued that there should be no distinction between highbrow and lowbrow dance, saying that 'a dance is a dance' whether 'artistic or crude, boring or erotic'.

The club's attorney W. Andrew McCullough agrees. The result of the judgment is that 'The state of New York still gets to be a dance critic,' said McCullough (as reported in US Metro ),' and that is not the legitimate function of state of New York.'

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