Lifestyle & Belief

New York's top court to decide if lap dances are art


New York's highest court will decide if nude lap dances are an art form and eligible for tax exemption.


Joe Raedle

A strip club in upstate New York said its nude lap dances should be exempt from state taxes because they are... art.

The Associated Press reported that New York's highest court is set to decide whether the strip club has a point. The state tax department and an appeals court have so far ruled against Nite Moves club, asking it to pay $124,000 in taxes.

The strip club claims that its strippers are artists and its $11 cover charge and $20 nude lap dances should be exempt from the 8 percent sales tax, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The Wall Street Journal said, "The seven-judge panel is being asked to interpret an obscure part of the state tax code that exempts sales-tax charges for 'dramatic or musical art performances.' The state wants the court to prevent strip clubs from using the same sales-tax exemption as the New York City Ballet."

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"The club is relying on testimony from a cultural anthropologist who has studied exotic dance and visited Nite Moves," said the AP.

An administrative law judge previously agreed with the club, saying that "the fact that the dancers remove all or part of their costume ... simply does not render such dance routines as something less than choreographed performances."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office released a court brief saying that the dancers "have no prior dance experience at all and simply learn moves from other dancers during slow shifts over time," according to The Journal.

Andrew McCullough, the lawyer representing the club, said, "Nite Moves girls…work at it, and when you see the finished product, you can't help but say, 'These girls are good.'"

Good enough to be deemed art? The jury's still out.