Total novice question on choreographyand who gets credit
Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:28 PM
We started noticing it with the Nutcrackers first. These pre-pro programs especially seem to think nothing of putting on a Nutcracker with dumbed-down but nevertheless clearly identifiable choreography from the Balanchine or Royal Ballet versions, yet no credit is given for that. In fact the directors will more often than not give themselves choreography credit, too.
I remember the first time my daughter, at 8, noticed this. Her former school was doing a production of a well-known story ballet and had even made a big to-do over bringing in a well-known dance teacher from another country to choreograph. In the midst of rehearsing the show, we watched a videotape of the same ballet as done by a big company. My daughter went marching into the school's director the next day, took her aside and asked her if she knew that the visiting choreographer had stolen the choreography from such-and-such company. The school's director looked at her as if she had two heads, chuckled indulgently, then went along her way without offering an explanation. And she wasn't the sort of person you could ask questions of, so I didn't press her for an answer either (hence part of the reason why it's our dd's former school).
But can anyone give me a good explanation for why this is? Is it just sort of a tacit arrangement in the dance world that schools can filch choreography without giving credit? Even just a "based on..." credit would be a lot more honest.
Posted 05 February 2004 - 06:59 PM
Posted 05 February 2004 - 09:57 PM
Her former school was doing a production of a well-known story ballet and had even made a big to-do over bringing in a well-known dance teacher from another country to choreograph. In the midst of rehearsing the show, we watched a videotape of the same ballet as done by a big company.
Of course, if it was a story ballet by Petipa, it would be in the public domain, wouldn't it?
In cases where the choreography isn't yet in the public domain, yes, there are intellectual property rights involved, and there are sometimes lawsuits. I seem to remember hearing a while back that the Balanchine Trust subscribes to a clipping service and sometimes catches copyright infringement situations when the productions are reviewed. Sometimes people think if they're doing the production 'out in the middle of nowhere', that no one will find out that they've stolen choreography or used a name without having obtained the right to do so. If they're never reviewed or mentioned in the press, sometimes they do escape.
Posted 06 February 2004 - 04:03 AM
Posted 30 July 2006 - 03:20 AM
It's because the Ballet Police can't be everywhere, and if the copyright holders, if any, of a given piece of choreography don't know of a derivative production based on their copyright material, they can't enforce it. They often have no way of proving the infringement if there is no recording of the alleged plaigiarism.
Apologies in reviving an old topic, but a question was put to me last week regarding ownership of a particular piece of choreography. There are recorded instance where dancers actually create steps and even sections of choreography but never get credited for them. When a solo is evolved from dual contributions how in all honesty can the copyright be enforced by heirs to an estate. We know why, but has anyone knowledge of such a challenge to ownership in this particular aspect (Not others, as in recent legal history)?
Posted 30 July 2006 - 04:01 AM
Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:11 AM
There is no issue when the entire concept of a ballet has been conceived and constructed by a single person, especially if there is a recognizable personal style. Common sense tells us what is "original" and what is not in such situations.
However, what if a choreographer were to take something out of the public domain -- let's say the Act II pas de deux between Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier -- and totally rearrange the movements, using traditional steps, but in an order of combination not seen before?
(I'm thinking of something more "original" than Balanchine's reworking of the Ivanov choregraphy, but not as far afield as Morris's. The basic classical concept, technique and details of the Petipa-Ivanov ballet are retained.)
'The new version appears on a publicly-issued DVD. Someone copies this pas de deux for performance by his/her school performances, making changes here and there in the pas de deux to simplify the dancing, but never requesting permission or giving credit to the source. The entire section takes only a few minutes. A video is made of this. And a copy of the video is sent to the choreographer by a friend.
Would this be in violation of copyright? Would it be stealing an a piece of "original choreography"?
Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:39 AM
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