Lap dancing isn’t art. So rules a New York state court in a tax dispute.
Why have they made such a ruling? Because the owners of an “adult juice bar” called Nite Moves are trying to get out of paying $125,000 of back taxes from 2005.
Nite Moves in Albany, N.Y. calls itself an “adult juice bar” because it doesn’t serve alcohol and there are strippers dancing on the stage and giving private performances in booths. Nite Moves is said to have applied for the tax break on money earned from admission and lap dances under a state law which gives artistic endeavors like ballet and theater a pass on their sales tax.
The law says that any “dramatic or music arts performances” can be exempt from the sales tax; the owner of the juice bar, 677 New Loudon Corporation, put forward that Nite Moves performances were indeed dramatic. In fact, they brought in an expert witness that went so far as describing Nite Moves’ lap dances as “unequivocally live dramatic choreographic performances.”
Unfortunately justice was not on the side of the artistic adult juice enterprise: the five judges overseeing the court case ordered Nite Moves to pay its taxes. The Court reasoned that, as it did not take the exotic dancers years of training to be able to wind and grind and work the pole, what they did could not be considered art.
The lawyer for Nite Moves has indicated that they intend to appeal.