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Christchurch’s popular Dance-O-Mat is on the move

Wednesday, February 9, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: wellbeing, dance, recovery, recreation

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 9th February 2022

Christchurch’s popular Dance-o-Mat is on the move again - after more than seven years in its current central city location.

The coin-operated dance floor has been located on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo streets since 2014, but the site now needs to be cleared so that construction can get under way on the new building for The Court Theatre.

Gap Filler are the masterminds behind the innovative project. They have worked with Life in Vacant Spaces to find a new location for the Dance-O-Mat on a vacant site in nearby Manchester Street - near the Hereford Street corner.

The vacant site is owned by Murray Donald and Jeff Walker, of Manchester Enterprises Limited. The site will be the fifth location the Dance-O-Mat has occupied since it was conceived in late 2011. It launched in early 2012 as an experimental project to bring people, life and energy back to the central city and to respond to the lack of spaces and venues for dancing.

Gap Filler co-founder Coralie Winn says they never envisaged when they first came up with the idea for the Dance-O-Mat that it would still have a place in Christchurch’s city centre 10 years on.

“We thought it might be around for a couple of years at best," she says.

But the joy and quirkiness of being able to put a $2 coin into a washing machine that activates the dance floor’s speakers, lights, and mirror ball has been an irresistible attraction for the thousands of people who have connected their music and danced to their own tunes.

“It’s really shown how a dedicated space for dance can really bring life to the city and be accessible to so many different people.

Prince Charles and the King of the Netherlands have been among those who have boogied on the Dance-O-Mat, as have countless locals and visitors to the city.

“We did question whether it was time to retire it, but it is so well loved and so well used that we knew it had to stay," Ms Winn says. “Ōtautahi is somewhat famous for our Dance-O-Mat. It’s a destination for some people."

The Dance-O-Mat though is showing signs of its age so before it opens in its new Manchester Street location, it is going to get an overhaul.

Gap Filler has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the $25,000 needed to upgrade both the dance floor and the technology used in the Dance-O-Mat and install it at the new site.

“We’re hoping that because the Dance-O-Mat is such a loved feature of the central city that people will be willing to give a little to help pay for the work that needs to be done," Ms Winn says.

People can give money to the Dance-O-Mat through boosted.org.nz.

Friday 11th February 2022 will be the last day the Dance-O-Mat will be at its Gloucester Street location.

Gap Filler anticipates it will take about a month to complete the overhaul of the Dance-O-Mat. It is hoping to reopen it in its new Manchester Street location in mid to late March.

The Christchurch City Council supports Gap Filler with grant funding through the Enliven Place Programme. It supported the original Dance-O-Mat’s build and ongoing maintenance.