Since the legal clash over the copyrights to Martha Graham's works, choreographers and dance companies are paying much closer attention to who owns the dances they create and perform. In Graham's case, a federal judge has determined that most of her works belong to the Martha Graham Center rather than to her designated heir, Ronald Protas, who tried to prevent the Center from using Graham's name or performing her works. Protas continues to wage a legal battle against the Center.
There should be no such problems with Arpino's work, who co-founded the company with Robert Joffrey in 1956. Arpino has been quite clear about the legal status of his ballets, and of Joffrey's, which he also owns. "I've seen to it that my works are incorporated into the company forever," Arpino told the Tribune.
The troupe's executive director, Jon Teeuwissen, also quelled rumors that there are plans to drive out Arpino in the future. "There is no scenario in which Mr. Arpino would not be a part of this organization as long as he's on the planet," Teuwissen said. Arpino's contract runs through 2007; the company's 50th-anniversary celebration begins in 2006.