More than 800 people showed up to dance at Century Ballroom’s Sweet 16 fundraiser on Saturday, helping the dance club reach the one-third mark of its $92,000 “opportunity to dance” tax owed to the state, according to owner Hallie Kuperman.
With $3,700 raised at the event, and an additional $3,300 donated during a memorial service Sunday for long-time Century Ballroom waltz teacher Susan Balshor, Kuperman says she’s overwhelmed by the community’s support.
“I think for the entire dance community it’s amazing to see people come together in this way,” Kuperman says. “Dance is usually seen as low on the totem pole and as a thing nobody cares about, and that is so not the case.
While other businesses and community members have reached out with donations and fundraising ideas, Kuperman says her main goal is to bring an end to the dance tax.
“When I heard about the tax I immediately thought it sounded like a storyline from a bad ‘80s film,” said Bobby Bonsey, a dancer and photographer who has taught flash mobs at Century Ballroom. “Taxing people to dance is ridiculous and will hurt out culture and communities who are primarily interested in improving communities and bettering peoples lives.”
An effort to end the tax in Olympia, SB 5613 is still in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means and doesn’t yet have a scheduled executive session required to move the bill forward. Kuperman says that the Washington State Arts Alliance is working to spread the word about how supporters can write their representatives in the committee to help move the bill forward. You can visit this Alliance site to add your voice in support of pushing the bill forward.
Kuperman said she hasn’t yet been notified of her tax bill due date, but it will likely be within the next couple months.