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Inside the Bailarina Bars of Jackson Heights

Bailarina bars get a bad rap. They are bars where men can go and pay to dance with women, sometimes for as little as a couple dollars per song. But the reality is many of the men walking into bailarina bars are simply looking for companionship and taking part in a long tradition that dates back to the early 1900s.

Fusion’s William Gallego went to a bailarina bar in Jackson Heights, New York to learn more about the women behind the dollar dances. Gallego spoke to patrons of the bars who said the “fear of rejection” is what makes paying for a dance a worthwhile experience.

“You come here to talk, sometimes they listen to your situation or they listen to your problems. It’s pretty much like going to church and confessing to a priest!” said bailarina patron Julio Salvador.

WATCH PART TWO: An Interview with a Former Bailarina Bar Dancer

Credit: Rayner Ramirez and William Gallego