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Alexandra

Martha's Back!

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From today's NYTimes:

Despite Suit, Dancers Will Dance

quote:


The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform for the first time in two years of heated legal battles, presenting a program of Graham dances on May 9 at City Center. The program, called "Indisputably Martha," will be presented by the Martha Graham Dance Center, the umbrella organization for the company and its school.

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Thanks for the update, which I missed in the paper.

I've been getting mailings about the performance, but it wasn't until I saw names like Christine Dakin, Teresa Capucilli, and Francis Mason and a list of Graham repertory on the same piece of paper that I realized the long legal battle had ended.

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actually if i read the comment here about assuming the legal battle ended, it should be noted that the court case is still active. part one of a decision, if i understand it all correctly, said that the center could also use graham's name and that the trust, headed by ron protas, could not hold exclusive rights to the name. (this is now, i THINK, being appealed by the trust.)

part two, which goes back to court in the next few weeks, is to make a determination regarding ownership of the works created by graham.

to the best of my knowledge, this single perf. is being done w/out any sort of legal protest by the trust, but that side still feels it is the sole holder of the rights to graham's work, so if the copyright case is won on appeal or if the next phase goes against the center, there could be some recompense demanded by the trust for this perf. organized by the center.

according, btw, to a flyer now at city center, i gather the planned presentation of a revival of 'chorale' is no longer in the mix, as it is not mentioned on the programming printed on the hand-out.

fyi the leaflet lists the prog as follows:

SERAPHIC DIALOGUE

'CONVERSATION OF LOVERS'/ACTS OF LIGHT

EMBATTLED GARDEN

NIGHT JOURNEY

'STEPS IN THE STREET'/CHRONICLE

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If I remember correctly, the Dutch National Ballet will perform Graham's "Acts of light" next season.

I wonder how it will be organized- it has to be authorized by Ron Protas, but who will coach the dancers?

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I'm sorry to hear that the suit goes on.

As for allowing other companies access to Graham works.... This is something Graham refused in her lifetime, except for a tiny handful of companies that chose to devote their entire efforts to her technique and her works.

In this age of fallen barriers, I can see why many companies would want to add a Graham or two to their repertories. Acts of Light and Diversion of Angels, abstract dance pieces, are especially attractive to classical and "non-traditional" companies. But the best Graham dancers and teachers are allied against Protas, who controls the copyrights. So there's a real risk that "authorized" performances will be hideous burlesques, while the "inner core" continues to present original dances that avoid authentic Graham choreography but capture the true essence of her work.

Surely this great genius deserves better!

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It seems to me that choreographers should have some way of leaving instructions for how they want their works to be used after their death. Then none of this could be disputed. But then you would have trouble with new technology ... would petipa have wanted his ballet's videotaped?

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It seems to me that choreographers should have some way of leaving instructions for how they want their works to be used after their death. Then none of this could be disputed. But then you would have trouble with new technology

And there, Star 18, you have hit the very nub of the question. Which instructions are essential to the work, and which are inevitably evanscent? I think back to my conversation with Danilova and her injuction that "If we do not PROGRESS, we RETROGRESS." Is "re-creating" Petipa's Odette even possible?

Is the fact that master choreographers like Balanchine often told dancers, "Here you do something that makes public applaud" a license to change embellishments from what might appear on tape? Does the fact that Suzanne Farrell never danced the same role the same way twice make it impossible to stage ballets created on her?

If you asked leading choreographers -- like Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp (I choose them since I see their work just down the street) -- how they would want their work staged in the future, would they insist on some "definitive" performance? (In both cases, I fell confident in saying, the answer is "NO!")

The simple fact is this: dance is the most fleeting and subjective of arts. Performances exist only in the moment and in our memories. To be sure, the law in the US, and many other countries, offers protection to choreography and music, largely as an instrument for channeling revenue to the creator and his or her family.

With nothing but love and respect for my warrior colleagues, I retreat to a conservative "Good night."

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Originally posted by Morris Neighbor

If you asked leading choreographers -- like Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp (I choose them since I see their work just down the street) -- how they would want their work staged in the future, would they insist on some "definitive" performance? (In both cases, I fell confident in saying, the answer is "NO!")

I'm not so sure. In fact, I think I disagree.We'd have to ask them. I just cannot think Tharp would be more laissez faire on this subject than she is on any other. Of course one cannot rule from the grave, but one can make assumptions from how the choregrapher controls his or her work in life.

As for Martha being back, all I can think is "As if," and "If only." I thought Martha was gone when she was still here....

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