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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 11:29 am 
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I'm at a loss to understand the motivation for this sour piece of journalism. The Joyce performances were the first by the Company for two years or so and there has also been the disruption of the intervening period and the relative newness of many of the dancers. Bearing this in mind, I would have thought that the MGDC team deserve at least a couple of years before any definitive judgements are made about the state of the Company and what is best for the legacy.

As with all productions, one hopes that performances by other companies are set by Graham authorities with adequate time, especially given the need for learning a new way of dancing. Without the guiding hand of a Trust organisation, I fear that we may see some very inferior performances of the works in the public domain, which will do the legacy no good at all.

<small>[ 29 March 2003, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 2:28 pm 
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I agree with you Stuart and, frankly, I am getting a bit annoyed at all this sterile criticism. It sounds as if this guy definitely wants anybody to take a step forward, pick up one of the Graham pieces which are of public domain, et volià, we will have a perfect performance.

I do not believe in criticism for criticism's sake and I feel that is what he is doing!
And you are right, the company needs time to find a new balance, and they need to perform to achieve that, train and perform no matter what some nasty journalist might say.

The energy they can get from performing makes it a priority and probably the best feedback they can get!

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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:06 am 
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Quote:
Dance and Profit: Who Gets It?
by JENNIFER DUNNING in The New York Times

Last year, Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of federal district court in Manhattan ruled that Graham could not have legally left her work to Ronald Protas,...

Mr. Protas is appealing the ruling and the case is expected to go to court as early as next month.
Click here for more


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:20 am 
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As the Graham Company prepares for a new season and a visit to London, I'm confident that modern dance lovers all over the world will be crossing their fingers that the ruling in favour of the Company and the Center by Judge Cedarbaum (whom God preserve) will be upheld.


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:29 pm 
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From the SF Chronicle.

Quote:
Dance world battles over artists' rights
Martha Graham dispute brews ownership debate

Jennifer Dunning, New York Times

Contentious debates over artistic ownership generally seem to revolve around online music piracy or Mickey Mouse. But dance is facing unexpected and vexing questions about artists' rights as well. Do choreographers own their dances? Or are they simply employees who give up ownership to organizations that commission or support their work?
more...


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 3:21 pm 
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<img src="http://www.bloomingbritain.com/webcat/pics/congratulations.jpg" alt="" />

<big>Great news - the Martha Graham Center wins the appeal concerning their ownership of the bulk of the Graham repertory.</big>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2004.

APPELLATE COURT RULES IN MARTHA GRAHAM CASE

Fourth decision in long legal battle over the late choreographer’s work overwhelmingly affirms ownership by the organizations that she created

The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance is pleased to announce that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today overwhelmingly affirmed the United States District Court’s rulings regarding the Center’s ownership of dances choreographed by Martha Graham along with related sets and costumes.

The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s findings that Martha Graham assigned all of the dances created before 1956 to the Center. The Court also found that Martha Graham was an employee of the Center and that works created between 1966 and her death in 1991 were works-for-hire. The Court remanded seven dances to the district court for further findings questioning Graham’s job responsibilities. The Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, with its legal team at Cravath Swaine & Moore, led by Katherine B. Forrest, Esq., and Joanne M. Gentile, Esq., believes it has ample proof of its ownership to satisfy the District Court with respect to these seven dances.

The remainder of the Court’s findings -- that Ron Protas breached his fiduciary duty to the Center and owes damages for licensing fees he inappropriately pocketed, and that the sets and costumes are owned by the Center -- were also affirmed. With respect to the breach of fiduciary duty the court stated, “There was evidence that Protas ignored questions that surfaced from several sources about his ownership of the dances, sets, and costumes, and made assertions regarding ownership of these items to the Center’s board of directors and to third parties. These assertions were, at best, irresponsibly made, and, at worst, intentionally misleading.” The panel of Judges (Newman, Kearse and Pooler) who rendered this decision all have extensive expertise in the area of intellectual property.

Marvin Preston, Executive Director of the Center stated, “We are extremely pleased with the Court’s decision. It confirms what we have always known, that Martha Graham built this organization to preserve and carry forward her

legacy in dance. Fortunately, our day-to-day focus has not been on legal issues: we have been dancing, and dancing to great acclaim. Our goal has always been to keep this great art alive.

“The world is indebted to our Board of Trustees – in particular, Delores Barr Weaver, Inger Witter, Francis Mason, and Judith Schlosser, who supported the Center through its most difficult times with donations and loans – and to the intrepid employees and patient suppliers of the Martha Graham Center and School. We also acknowledge with deep gratitude the organizations that showed their confidence in us through major support of our efforts through these recent years of legal and financial challenges: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, New York Community Trust, American Music Center, New York Times Company Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Dana Foundation, Ernst & Young, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.”

“We look forward to dancing Martha’s work for audiences worldwide, forever.”

The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance keeps vital and builds upon the work of Martha Graham by: performing Martha Graham’s ballets in authentic ways; teaching the dance vocabulary of Martha Graham; preserving, documenting and sharing Martha Graham’s historical legacy; generating new theatrical experiences and artistic resources; and creating and cultivating audiences moved by the evolving Martha Graham art form.

<small>[ 18 August 2004, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:47 am 
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For immediate release:
August 19, 2004

A Statement from the Martha Graham Dance Company Artistic Directors

After a night of overwhelming euphoria and relief, we want to convey our most profound thanks to our pro bono legal team from Cravath Swaine & Moore led by Katherine Forrest, our Executive Director Marvin Preston and the Board of Trustees of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and our dauntless staff.

It is very important that we advance understanding of our new life as an organization: most significantly, for the first time in the 12 years following Martha's death, her Company is now run by the artists who worked with her in the last decades of her life.

We are ecstatic about this affirmation of our rights to the dances Martha created. Working with Martha for so many years, we knew her as an artistic genius and saw her create great dances. We also know that she took care to protect her art, making careful plans to give her work to the home she had created for that purpose: the Martha Graham Center, Company and School. She knew that the dancers who dance the work and the people concerned with producing her art were the ones who should care for it.

One of the spins that Ron Protas communicates is that the faceless corporate board is stealing Martha's work and thwarting her wishes. He represents himself as protecting Martha and her work for all artists everywhere. In fact, as we know from living the experience and from the unassailable defense and incontrovertible evidence presented by our lawyers, the opposite is true. The very words "work for hire," provoke a visceral reaction in people who understand only the surface of what this is about. We believe that the emphasis on the decision’s importance should not be on a defense of "work for hire," but on the specific facts, accepted by the courts in the trademark and copyright rulings and subsequent appeals, that Martha deliberately set up the Center and willingly gave her dances to it in return for advantages to her. In this way she was free to focus entirely on creating her art and to safeguard it for the future.

Successfully defending ourselves in this legal suit protects Martha's desires to house her art in the place she created for that very purpose. We will honor her art and her desires by keeping vital her great body of work.

Christine Dakin and Terese Capucilli
Artistic Directors, Martha Graham Dance Company


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:00 am 
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I have taken a close interest in this saga from the time of the MGDC 1-day seminar in London some 6 years ago, which included an afternoon session with Protas, Dakin and Capucilli talking about the Company.

Everything I have heard and read supports Dakin and Capucilli's interpretation of the events, given in the statement above.

The two ADs have graciously thanked the team af advisors and administrators who have played such a key role in the successful resolution of this case. I would like to thank Christine Dakin and Terese Capucilli for their devoted labours in preserving the Graham legacy for future generations through their dancing, their teaching, their conservation and restoration work and their legal fight to keep the Martha Graham Dance Company dancing the Martha Graham rep.

The Sadler's Wells season last year showed the Company already transcending the standards of the visits in the 1990s and I look forward eagerly to the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:56 am 
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Here are the names of the 10 works that belong to the public domain. This list was repeatedly requested in this thread, yet no one bothered to answer the request.

Quote:

The judge found that for 24 of the disputed dances, "neither side has established ownership of copyright."

These include ten works in the public domain, meaning that now anyone can perform them:

"Appalachian Spring,"
"Night Journey,"
"Chronicle/Steps in the Street," (my fave!)
"Lamentation,"
"American Document,"
"Heretic,"
"Flute of Krishna,"
"Frontier,"
"Panorama,"
"Celebration."

http://www.danceinsider.com/f2002/f0824_1.html

As for the comment "I fear that we may see some very inferior performances of the works in the public domain"...

Some of these "inferior performances" of public domain-works will no doubt be by students. Students who actually might end up dancing for the company. Are you willing to tolerate that?

I saw the Acts of Light performance by The Dutch National Ballet mentioned in this thread. The first two rows of Het Muziektheater were occupied by a class of Italian(?) ballet students, and they were super enthusiastic, they even snapped pictures of the ballet-dancers bowing at the end. This is obviously not allowed, but Het Muziektheater didn't make a fuss, because they were glad at such a receptive (and young) audience.

So, I encourage students everywhere to try out Steps In the Street, for free! The more this is recreated the better! Go for it kids!

Tex.

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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:39 pm 
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Thanks for posting the ten dances Marie, but for the record the link you give with the list was posted here back in 2002.

I support the concept that dances are preserved in the way, or in the various ways, that the dance maker intended. Thus the thought of seeing great works, like "Appalachian Spring", performed in a manner that deviates greatly from the Graham technique and style is a worry. Audiences at such events may then decide that the Graham heritage is over-rated.

Regarding students, in the schools where Graham technique is taught, such as London's Laban, the students do learn Graham pieces by authorised teachers such as Susan Sandler.

By the way, "Acts of Light" was set on The Dutch National Ballet by one of the Graham Center team before the court case blew up and revived by DNB a few years later, which may have been the performance you saw, Marie.

It's an irony that "Chronicle/Steps in the Street" is in the public domain,as it only exists today because Terese Capucilli recontructed and filled some gaps to make the version we see today.

<small>[ 03 September 2004, 02:42 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Graham Center wins case for ownership of the dances
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:40 pm 
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Quote:
As for the comment "I fear that we may see some very inferior performances of the works in the public domain"...

Some of these "inferior performances" of public domain-works will no doubt be by students. Students who actually might end up dancing for the company.
Possible, but not likely, I think. The usual career path for a Graham dancer is several years in the school, several years in the Martha Graham Ensemble, and then, if lucky, acceptance into the Graham Company.

It's likely that they'll dance these public domain works in the Ensemble, but these performances are unlikely to be "inferior", except in comparison to the Company.

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Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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