By Anthea Kraut

Choreographing Copyright is a brand new old and cultural research of U.S. dance-makers' funding in highbrow estate rights. Stretching from the past due 19th century to the early twenty-first, the publication reconstructs efforts to win copyright security for choreography and teases out their raced and gendered politics, exhibiting how dancers have embraced highbrow estate rights as a way to either consolidate and contest racial and gendered strength.

A variety of the artists featured within the publication are famous within the background of yankee dance, together with Loie Fuller, Hanya Holm, and Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, and George Balanchine. however the publication additionally uncovers a number of marginalized figures--from the South Asian dancer Mohammed Ismail, to the African American pantomimist Johnny Hudgins, to the African American blues singer Alberta Hunter, to the white burlesque dancer religion Dane--who have been both attracted to positioning themselves as matters instead of items of estate.

Drawing on serious race and feminist theories and on cultural stories of copyright, Choreographing Copyright bargains clean perception into the raced and gendered hierarchies that govern the theatrical industry, white women's traditionally contingent courting to estate rights, legacies of possession of black our bodies and appropriation of non-white hard work, and the stress among dance's ephemerality and its reproducibility.

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Extra resources for Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance

Sample text

Out of these battles grew an idea of the author as proprietor, as well as an idea of literary property, itself a complicated construction that mixed ideas of originality and personality, landed property and immaterial thought, paternity and propriety. ”36 The original provision submitted to the framers of the Constitution was designed “to secure to literary authors their copyrights for a limited time,” and the first copyright law enacted in the United States protected only books, maps, and charts.

And Jean Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 33. 22 On the history of copyright law in the United States, see Siva Vaidhyanathan, Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 37–55. On copyright law as it existed in nearly all of the colonies prior 8 Choreogr aphing Copyright and originality requirements, as well as its emphasis on individual rather than communal creativity, privilege a Western approach to art-making.

But because, as I discuss further below, property itself is a raced, gendered, and classed construct, attention to dancers’ efforts to assert intellectual property rights in their compositions can cast new light on how the inequities that have structured the US dance landscape took shape. That is, the struggle to win copyright protection for choreography did not just play out within a context of raced, classed, and gendered hierarchies; it was a vital site for the formation of those hierarchies, as well as for resistance to them.

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