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 Post subject: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:42 am 
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Dirty Dancing

Martha Graham was the queen of modern dance. The New York school she founded 75 years ago is still a globally respected institution. So why is the man she left her legacy to taking steps to close it down?

Investigation by Alix Kirsta in The Sunday Times, which provides a solid background and is highly critical of Ron Protas.

Quote:
For, as things stand, by teaching and performing the late Martha Graham's work, they [The MG School] could be breaking the law. And if Ron Protas, Martha Graham's elusive heir, wins the lawsuit he recently brought against the centre, then the work of America's high priestess of dance could be irretrievably damaged. You might as well talk of the Royal Ballet School or the Kirov shutting its doors.

Many consider the loss unthinkable, a tragedy that would wipe out three-quarters of a century of dance history. Martha Graham is the acknowledged pioneer of modern dance, who, according to the British choreographer Gillian Lynne, 'founded a whole new language of dance'.
more...

Here is our previous Graham legacy thread, which has links to even earlier ones.

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 08, 2001).]

<center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center>

<small>[ 08-10-2002, 14:58: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 2:59 pm 
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It is sad that it has come to this:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The sign outside the inconspicuous studio on Manhattan's West 26th Street reads: 'Stepping Out: Swing, Latin & Ballroom Dance Studios.' It is hardly where you would expect to find members of one of the world's greatest companies taking class.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 9:38 pm 
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I know what you mean Azlan, but if the Studio has showers and really good floors, then it will provide better facilities than a heck of a lot of the places that modern dacers have to use here. <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2001 6:15 am 
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Hi everyone,<BR>It is unfortunately that I am unable to deliver you any updates at this time. There is much work and negotiations happening as we speak, but due to the respect to the judge and the process (and of course outcome) I will only ask for prayers and good energy being sent our way. The judge is expected to rule now very soon.

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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2001 6:31 am 
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Be careful tadej - you may be knocked off your feet by all the waves of good energy coming your way. Fingers and everything else crossed for the judgement.


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2001 2:03 pm 
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Sorry, I just couldn't read that entire post about the "latin dancing " studio; too depressing. (the one that's housing the Graham classes). Mainly, because of the contrast between that and the old Graham studio, which was like a musuem, with a beautiful garden, 3 airy studios of various sizes and all the Graham history, sets and repertory housed therein. Oh dear, I verge on the maudlin. Tadej, we are crossing toes, eyes and fingernails and saying many Graham mantras. <p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited July 15, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2001 7:15 pm 
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this just in this evening,... I don't have the final text of the judges decision, but only the statement from chairman of the board for Martha Graham Center, Francis Mason:<P> "As chairman of the Board of the Martha Graham Center and School, I am proud that today's decision by Judge Miriam Cedarbaum vindicates our work to preserve Martha Graham's legacy. As the Court noted, this is what Martha Graham intended. The Martha Graham Center and School will vigorously pursue our plans for the future, now free of the threat of the baseless and unfounded claims brought against us. The Board owes a deep debt of gratitude to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for the role that he and his office play in insuring that Martha Graham's name and art will not be lost."<P>Thank you all for all the good energy and prayers!!!<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 4:23 am 
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Jennifer Dunning - NY Times, 08/08/01:<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Federal Judge Allows Martha Graham Center to Use Her Name and Methods</B><P>In a partial ruling in a controversy that has roiled the contemporary dance world, a federal district court judge in Manhattan determined yesterday that the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance could continue to use the choreographer's name and teach her dance technique. <P>The center's use of the Graham name and her technique had been challenged by Ronald Protas, the sole heir to Graham's works. <P>But Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum found that there was clear evidence that in 1956 Graham had sold the school and its name. <P>She also wrote that she found Mr. Protas "not to be a credible witness." She made the same finding about a supporting witness, Michelle Etienne, a former company bookkeeper.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/08/arts/dance/08GRAH.html?searchpv=nytToday" target=_blank"><B>more...</B></a><BR><I>Note - you must register on the NY Times site to read articles</I><P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 7:23 am 
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Put out the flags, strike up the brass band, light the fireworks. This is such good news for dance - the true inheritors of the Graham legacy, those who live and breath the technique and the rep, have scored a victory in their struggle to maintain this vital legacy.<P>However, the ruling on the right to perform the body of work remains to be decided. And before we all get too carried away I would guess that the reason that Ron Protas and his lawyers were not reachable today is that they are consulting on the question of whether to appeal the ruling.<P>Nevertheless, it is a great day for dance. Our congratulations to you and your colleagues Tadej. <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 08, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 11:23 am 
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HALLELUJAH!!!!! This is indeed good news for the school...yayayyaa!! Now we have to wait and see what the decision is about the repertory, and to see if Protas will appeal?


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2001 2:38 am 
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From Law.com: <P><B>Martha Graham's Heir Can't Control Use of Dancer's Name</B> <P>By Daniel Wise <BR>New York Law Journal<BR>August 8, 2001<P>The ousted artistic director of Martha Graham's artistic institutions cannot control the use of the legendary dancer's name, despite having registered a trademark in it, a Southern District judge ruled yesterday. The director, Ronald A. Protas, a longtime friend of Ms. Graham and the sole heir to her will, had sought an injunction barring both the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance from using the dancer's name or claiming to teach the "Martha Graham technique." <P>In November 1995, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Mr. Protas' registration of the name "Martha Graham," as well as the term, "Martha Graham technique." And in 1999, Mr. Protas entered into a licensing agreement with both the Martha Graham center and school that set the terms under which they could use the two registered terms. <P>But U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum denied Mr. Protas an injunction, finding that the school and the center had owned the use of the two terms all along, and that Mr. Protas had provided the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) with "erroneous and misleading" information when he applied to register the two marks. Mr. Protas had informed the PTO that as Ms. Graham's sole heir, he held the "oral license" that Ms. Graham had granted to both the center and the school to use her name and teach her technique. <P>However, Judge Cedarbaum wrote in Martha Graham School and Dance Foundation v. Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, 01-271, there is "no credible evidence" of such an "oral license" during Ms. Graham's lifetime. To the contrary, Judge Cedarbaum concluded, Ms. Graham had granted the school and center "an irrevocable right" to use her name in connection with teaching her dance technique. While making no finding as to whether the misleading information had been provided intentionally or not, Judge Cedarbaum faulted Mr. Protas for registering the marks in his name, while he was a director of both the school and center, as "contrary to his fiduciary obligations."<BR>Additionally, Judge Cedarbaum pointed out that the center had used the name "Martha Graham" in its title continuously since it was incorporated in 1948, as had the school since its incorporation in 1956. <P>After a period of increasing friction, Mr. Protas was removed as artistic director of the center in May 2000. By the end of the month, the center had suspended its operations because it was unable to meet its payroll. By the end of 2000, however, the school and center were both able to obtain a significant amount of new funding and to secure a long-term lease at the same location where they had been operating. Those favorable developments allowed both the school and center to reopen on Jan. 16 of this year, according to the opinion. <P>Mr. Protas was represented by James J. McGuire, Cyrus Benson, Alan Blum and Timothy McCarthy of White & Case. The Martha Graham school and center were represented by Dale M. Cendali, Claudia Ray, Louis B. Kimmelman and Samuel M. Leaf, of O'Melveny and Myers. Several individual members of the boards of the center and school were represented by Victor A. Kovner and Matthew A. Leish of Davis Wright Tremaine. A separate board member, Robert N. Solomon, was represented by Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit, Klein & Selz. Marla G. Simpson, Barbara L. Quint and Charles H. Smith III appeared for the State Attorney General's Office, which opposed Mr. Protas' efforts to control the "Martha Graham" name. Date Received: August 07, 2001 <P>The full ruling can be found at: <A HREF="http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/courtweb/pdf/D02NYSC/01-08492.PDF" TARGET=_blank>http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/courtweb/pdf/D02NYSC/01-08492.PDF</A> <P><B>Stuart</B> adds - You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the full ruling. If you don't have it, it's worth downloading as it is a useful piece of free software. I've also made small changes to the lay-out above.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 09, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2001 4:46 am 
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<B>Federal Judge Rules Against Martha Graham Heir</B> <BR> <BR>By Megan Rosenfeld in The Washington Post <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Protas could not be reached, but Robert D. Russo, producer and administrator of the Martha Graham Trust and the Martha Graham School and Foundation -- entities that Protas established and runs -- said they disagree with the decision and are considering an appeal. The Martha Graham School and Foundation were set up last fall; this "school" does not actually have students, Russo said, but is part of a nonprofit structure to preserve Graham's considerable legacy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51471-2001Aug8.html" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2001 6:04 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Center to Keep Martha Graham Name<P>THE ASSOCIATED PRESS via NY Times<BR> <BR>NEW YORK (AP) -- A center and school dedicated to Martha Graham's techniques can continue to use her name over the objections of a man who is the dancer and choreographer's sole heir, a federal judge has ruled.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Martha-Graham-Center.html?searchpv=aponline target=_blank>More</a>


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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2001 8:16 am 
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I think at this point all of us -- even those of us who are not dancers -- are doing the "happy dance".

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 Post subject: Re: The Graham legacy - July 2001 onwards
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2001 10:37 am 
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This ruling renews some of my faith in the U.S. judicial system.


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