Friday, August 23, 2013


Danceteria was a well-known four-floor nightclub located in New York City which operated from 1980 until 1986. Throughout its history, the club had three different locations, the second, most famously at 30 West 21st Street, Manhattan, which served as the location for the disco scene in the film Desperately Seeking Susan.

The first Danceteria was opened on West 37th Street by German expatriate Rudolf Pieper and talent booker & club impresario Jim Fouratt. It catered to a diverse after-hours crowd coming from gay discos and the downtown rock clubs Mudd Club, Trax, TR3, and CBGB. The club's DJs were Bill Bahlman, Mark Kamins and Sean Cassette. Bill Bahlman played the first floor Thursdays & Saturdays and the second floor every Friday. Kamins played the second floor Saturday nights. This was the schedule for the first 2½ years of the 21st Street Danceteria. According to Kamins, Danceteria "was an illegal Mafia club with no liquor license, but we sold drink tickets". The third and last location was at 29 East 29th St. (between Madison and Park). DJ Johnny Dynell was also a Danceteria DJ for a while, and Howie Montaug ran and MCed at the alternative 'No Entiendes' evenings upstairs.

Kamins credits the first Danceteria with being the first club to play videos and have two separate DJ's play 12 straight hours. It was reputed to be one of the centers of new wave music in New York and was frequented by musicians and other artists who later became famous, such as Madonna, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, Sade, Wham!, The Smiths, Cyndi Lauper, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Run-DMC, Butthole Surfers, the Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J.

For a time, there was also a satellite version of the club operated in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY.
The 21st Street location was sold to be converted to luxury condominiums, slated to open in 2009

From an interview with Mark Kamins... "Madonna was a regular at Danceteria. She had great style and had to be the center of attraction. She always hung out in the booth, one day she gave me a demo to play {I'll play anything} it worked. At that time I was working with the Talking Heads so I knew the people at Sire Records. I played them the demo and they gave me a single deal. I produced "Everybody" and it went to #1 in the dance charts. The rest is history."

New York was so musically creative then," Kamins says. "The late 1970s was a very bad time. The Bronx was burning. There was no work. We were political, but there was nothing to motivate us other than music. There were no rules. Musically everybody experimented and wanted to try something new. The Danceteria was a very special place, like Warhol's Factory." Sade worked behind the bar, Keith Haring and the Beastie Boys were bus-boys, LL Cool J was the lift operator.-Mark Kamins

"First of all, I think Danceteria was a magical space like Andy Warhol’s Factory or Max’s Kansas City or CBGBs. Jim Fouratt and Rudolph had this amazing finesse to hire people that they believed in. Why were the Beastie Boys the sweepers at Danceteria? Why was Madonna one of the dancers? Why Sade was the bartender at Danceteria? That’s crazy shit man. So you’re talking about a magical moment, a magical space, and a magical time where it was the beginning of something. Even Karen Finley was the bartender, and LL Cool J was a busboy. Rick Rubin, who is now one of the greatest producers in the music business, his first gig was playing with the Beastie Boys on the second floor of Danceteria because I had to go to a gig in Europe. I have a Polaroid picture of that night." -Mark Kamins

It was one of those places where we lived. When the club closed, Keith went to the subway and painted his little figures until we opened the club at noon and started cleaning. He lived at the Danceteria, we all lived there. It was more than a club. Everybody there was doin' something."-Mark Kamins

Madonna used to sit on the steps of the new-wave dreamland Danceteria—where she was a hat-check girl, Keith Haring was a busboy and the Cramps played next to the Buzzcocks or Birthday Party—and tell nightlife kings like Steve Rubell she was going to be a very big star. In 1982, when the club reopened at 30 West 21st Street, she got a DJ to play her demo there.-New York Observer

"She seemed like this girl from out-of-state who wasn't totally in the know yet," said artist Futura 500, while another Danceteria regular claimed: " She'd do outrageously stupid things. Like there was a girl who worked at the Danceteria who had a really striking style and wore her hair a certain way. One day Madonna came in with her hair cut and dyed the exact same way. We'd say, 'Is she nuts?'

"I met her at Danceteria when she was sitting on [a friend's] lap. She was really, really foxy. She was really glamorous," says Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth

She was also apparently such a fixture of the club that the resident DJ, Mark Kamins, even dated the singer. (That's getting your foot in the door.) Says Kamins: "Madonna was a regular at Danceteria. She had great style and had to be the center of attraction. She always hung out in the booth, one day she gave me a demo to play." That demo, for the song 'Everybody', eventually got her signed to a major label

When Madge was just a slutty shaggin, chasing, pain in the arse, regular club NYC Danceteria one. Best was when Audrey beat her up on the stairs with madge's red stilletto
Chardonna1 (48 months ago)

Yes....I loved tnat story on the old DTNYC site ! Audrey took care of old MAdge for us all back then. She was such a bitchy thing. I'm pissed Amy didn't use my ON THE STREET photo. MAybe if she does Volume !!. LOL
vinceconnare (48 months ago)

Remember the Swedish bouncer guy, white hair, and he told us how Madge use to want to shag him and wouldn't leave him alone. Then one night she went to their place and he made her sleep in the kitchen!!! He seemed very mad when he talked about her.

And I remember how mad Simone was about how Madge treated Ken and how Simone got him back, atleast Ken got to drive that car in her video though!
Debbie C.B.'s (35 months ago)

yea she had alot of balls of which I admire
I'm not a MADONNA fan but I do admire her longevity and her ambition
what I didnt admire was one night her dancing in frount of me to dance with my "boy friend" who wasnt my boy friend but my good friend who was gay..
and she kept whipping me with her hair and smirking at me till I Pushed her away saying what the fucks with you
but I will say she was very pretty VERY
I was not a danciteria fan I always had to get DRAGGED there
as for her being an oppertunist bitch and all that
thats seems to work if you want to make it
she had alot of ambition and she pushed her self
I know this club booker that would hire her bands to play and she would be very worried about her perfomance and did he they like her set should she change anything.., he remeberes her as being very sweet sincer and yes ambitious but not a bitch at all
Im talking about the booker from MAX"S Peter Crowley
as for my incident with her so what she was drinking who cares
vinceconnare (47 months ago)

My first memory of knowing Madonna was when they were playing 'Everybody' video on the first floor stage screen and Audrey said 'I hate that bitch' and I said 'who?' she said 'That bitch up there you know she is always hanging around down here'.

Then I thought oh I haven't seen here her hanging out here much anymore. She use to wear a military hat for awhile and stand at the bar I think on the left side and really stood out for the norm. Then I didn't see her much after that. So I guess it was her.
Chardonna1 (21 months ago)

I tried to talk to her the night I took the photo however she was having none of it! I tried to tell her she was great....and she look right past me and started wailing at someoen somewhere that the lighting was all wrong. I couldn't believe how crazy she was....didn't give a crap about me at all...just her lighting.

Actually if u look at the photo it was pretty dark...the lighting. I did not notice. But Madge did...

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