Does a Dance Hall Keeper License have any purpose other than revenue generation (currently or historically)?

  • 1
    Are you asking about revenue generation for the licensee or for the government issuing the license?
    – phoog
    Aug 17, 2022 at 9:51
  • 1
    @phoog: The government. Aug 17, 2022 at 12:16
  • 1
    @DennisWilliamson why a law was enacted is generally off topic here.
    – Trish
    Aug 17, 2022 at 12:54
  • @Trish: Would this be better wording? "Do Dance Hall Keeper License laws in any jurisdictions in the US include the purpose of the requirement?" Aug 17, 2022 at 17:27
  • 1
    That would be 50 laws to look up, and I can tell you that only a tiny number of legislations do at all include a purpose of the legislation.
    – Trish
    Aug 17, 2022 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


Prohibitions against dancing, especially drinking and dancing in the same venue, have a long history in the United States. It was not until 2017 that New York City repealed its Cabaret Law, which forbade dancing at establishments that served food and liquor without said license.

So the purpose is to not get fined if people dance at your bar, club, or restaurant. If you're asking if it serves a purpose in terms of public interest, that's a question for Politics SE.

  • 3
    In a comment, the asker has made it clear that the question is about the purpose from the government's perspective of requiring these licenses. This answer addresses the purpose from the licensee's perspective of obtaining the license.
    – phoog
    Aug 17, 2022 at 12:19
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    @phoog Thank you for the ping. I'll see if I can't put some citations together to support an answer to that question that's as close to objective as practical.
    – Michael
    Aug 17, 2022 at 16:08

The requirement of a license makes it easy to prohibit this conduct if improper safety measures (mostly lack of sufficient emergency exits) are present.

Also, dance halls (a.k.a. nightclubs) often trigger "not in my backyard" (N.I.M.B.Y.) opposition from neighbors, so a license provide a means of facilitating public input on, and limiting the availability, of a use that is not popular in some locations.

  • It would seem to me that both of the conditions you specify can be true for non-dancing activities. A bar, for example, requires an occupancy certificate which limits the number of patrons and a license and notice that provides opportunity for neighbors to object. Aug 19, 2022 at 2:12
  • @DennisWilliamson So what? Governments are entitled to use multiple, possibly duplicative means to achieve their ends.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 19, 2022 at 18:45

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