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Dancers file suit against NYC cabaret laws

June 24, 2005 at 12:43 PM

NEW YORK, June 24 (UPI) -- Four New York dancers are suing the city over the restrictive cabaret laws that keep them from kicking up their heels.

They charge the laws have so limited the number of places that allow dancing that aficionados have been deprived of freedom of expression, Newsday said Friday.

"Most New Yorkers think we're making it up," said civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel, who is representing the dancers. "They don't believe ... if you get up and move your body to a jukebox and that bar or restaurant doesn't have a cabaret license, (it) can be padlocked."

The suit claims the city's cabaret laws violate the state constitution's equivalent of the First Amendment and wants the city to stop enforcing the code.

Cabaret licenses are difficult to obtain and are restricted to a few commercial and manufacturing areas, according to the court papers. There are 255 in the entire city.

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