David Mancuso, Nightlife Pioneer Dies at 72

The dance hero behind The Loft passes away.

 

David Mancuso, the pioneering DJ whose invite-only parties in the 1970s became the bedrock of New York’s underground dance culture, has died aged 72.

Mancuso’s private parties at The Loft in Manhattan helped establish a vibrant alternative to New York’s commercial club scene in the early 1970s, famed for their exceptional sound quality rather than DJ showmanship. The Loft was the location for the first underground dance party (called “Love Saves the Day”) on February 14, 1970. Since then, the term “The Loft” has come to represent Mancuso’s own version of a non-commercial party where no alcohol, food, or beverages are sold.

When Mancuso threw his first informal house parties, the gay community, (who comprised much of The Loft’s attendee roster) was often harassed in the gay bars and dance clubs. But at The Loft and many other early, private discotheques, they could dance together without fear of police action thanks to Mancuso’s underground, yet legal, business model.

 

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