Strip Club to Taxman: Nude Dancing Is Art

Lap dances should be tax-free, NY club argues

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 5, 2012 5:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nude dancing is an art and should be tax-free, just like ballet performances, according to a strip club in upstate New York. Lawyers for Albany's Nite Moves will appear before the state's highest court today to argue that it doesn't need to pay sales tax on admission fees or lap dances, reports the AP. The club claims the dances are exempt under part of the tax code covering "live dramatic or musical arts performances"—and it has a cultural anthropologist as an expert witness.

Before a lower court, the anthropologist testified that she had observed "choreographic patterns of exotic dance" at the club, noting that one dancer executed 61 moves in the course of three songs, the Wall Street Journal reports. The tax department, however, argued that a nude dancer is not "engaged in a genuine choreographic dance performance when she removes her clothing." Whatever the court decides may not have much impact on other establishments, since Nite Moves only serves non-alcoholic drinks, putting it under a different part of the tax code than most other strip clubs.

An artistic performance in progress.
An artistic performance in progress.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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If they've spent hours and hours practicing and learning this stuff, and if they can flip around and do amazing moves, why aren't they choreographed dance performers? - Andrew McCullough,
a lawyer for Nite Moves

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