Martha Graham Center Wins New Victory in Legal Battle Over Ownership of Choreographer's Works

Classic Arts News   Martha Graham Center Wins New Victory in Legal Battle Over Ownership of Choreographer's Works
 
A U.S. District Court judge in New York ruled on June 23 that seven of Martha Graham's dances belong to the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance rather than to the choreographer's designated heir, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The dances affected by the ruling include important works such as Embattled Garden and Phaedra.

Ron Protas, who took over as artistic director of the center after Graham died in 1991, has claimed that he owns Graham's name as well as her dances, costumes, and sets. Last August, the U.S. Cirtuit Court of Appeals found that Graham was an employee of her own center from 1966 until her death. Her works were therefore created on a for-hire basis and did not belong to her and could not be willed to Protas.

The seven dances under consideration in the current ruling were created between 1956 and 1966, and were remanded to the lower court to determine ownership.


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