Dance-O-Mat – Christchurch, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

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Dance-O-Mat

A coin-operated washing machine turned jukebox, complete with an outdoor dance floor. 

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Tucked away in an empty lot in Christchurch, the Dance-O-Mat doesn’t look like much more than an abandoned washing machine with a fun paint job. But for the low price of a two-dollar coin, you can hook your phone up to the machine, choose your music, and dance away!

The Dance-O-Mat is a laundromat washing machine that has been adapted to power a series of speakers surrounding a sprung dance floor. Dropping a coin into the Dance-O-Mat activates lighting and sound systems for 30 minutes of dancing.

In 2010 and 2011, New Zealand was struck by a series of powerful earthquakes. Christchurch was hit especially hard and as a result of the earthquakes, thousands of buildings had to be torn down or reconstructed, leaving the city with a huge number of empty spaces. An organization called Gap Filler was created with the mission of finding creative and joyful ways to put those spaces to use, including the Dance-O-Mat. 

The first Dance-O-Mat was set up in 2012, on a former car rental lot on St. Asaph Street. It was a big hit, getting an estimated 600 hours of use over its first three months. In the last decade, the Dance-O-Mat has appeared in several other locations around Christchurch, most recently in a lot on Manchester Street in Central City. Its dance floor has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors, including then-Prince Charles in 2012.

Know Before You Go

The new Dance-O-Mat operates between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. every day. The dance floor is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

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