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For the company, see Discotek Media. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. From about 1900 to 1920, working class Americans would gather at honky tonks or juke joints to dance to music played on a piano or a jukebox. In Germany, possibly the first discothèque was Scotch-Club.
In Harlem, Connie’s Inn and the Cotton Club were popular venues for white audiences. Before 1953 and even some years thereafter, most bars and nightclubs used a jukebox or mostly live bands. At the end of the 1950s, several of the coffee bars in Soho introduced afternoon dancing and the most famous, at least on the continent, was Les Enfants Terribles at 93 Dean St. Disco has its roots in the underground club scene. During the early 1970s in New York City, disco clubs were places where oppressed or marginalized groups such as homosexuals, blacks, Latinos, Italian-Americans, and Jews could party without following male to female dance protocol or exclusive club policies. Discoteques had a law where for every three men, there was one woman.
By the late 1970s many major US cities had thriving disco club scenes centered on discothèques, nightclubs, and private loft parties where DJs would play disco hits through powerful PA systems for the dancers. The DJs played ” a smooth mix of long single records to keep people ‘dancing all night long'”. This club culture that originated in downtown New York, was attended by a variety of different ethnicities and economic backgrounds. Some cities had disco dance instructors or dance schools that taught people how to do popular disco dances such as “touch dancing”, the “hustle” and the “cha-cha-cha”. Famous 1970s discothèques included celebrity hangouts such as Manhattan’s Studio 54, which was operated by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. By the early 1980s, the term “disco” had largely fallen out of favour in most of the English-speaking world.
Significant New York nightclubs of the period were Area, Danceteria, and The Limelight. In Europe and North America, nightclubs play disco-influenced dance music such as house music, techno, and other dance music styles such as electronica, breakbeat and trance. Techno clubs are especially popular around the world since the early 1990s. A recent trend in the North American, Australian and European nightclub industry is the usage of video.