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By Caroline Joan S. Picart

The trouble to win federal safeguard for dance within the usa used to be a racialized and gendered contest. Picart strains the evolution of choreographic works from being federally non-copyrightable to changing into a class almost certainly copyrightable lower than the 1976 Copyright Act, particularly analyzing Loíe Fuller, George Balanchine, and Martha Graham.

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Additional info for Critical Race Theory and Copyright in American Dance: Whiteness as Status Property

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This chapter functions principally as an explanation for the scope of the book (including key questions), and the various methodologies it employs. It also covers a brief review of other approaches explaining why copyright and choreography have had such a refractory history. ” This chapter functions as a general schema in order to map out how whiteness functions as status property in relation to choreographic works. It is a general heuristic for mapping what constitutes a white aesthetic (which tended to be copyrightable) and a nonwhite aesthetic 18 Copyright in American Dance (which tended to be noncopyrightable), in the history of American dance from the late 1800’s to roughly the mid-2000’s.

Thus, what I focus on, in this preliminary chapter, is a working schema, established in order to explore intersections linking critical race theory, copyright, and a certain period of American dance (the late 1800’s until roughly 2006), not an attempt at totalization or an overtly “morally” driven project. Moral questions, while they are important, are simply part of the destination, subtly embedded, but not at the forefront. 1 These constructions (whiteness/nonwhiteness; masculinity/femininity) do not stay stable, but like living organisms, evolve, in relation to each other, sometimes cross-fertilizing to produce new strains, which in turn either spawn new variations or are reabsorbed back into the preexisting classification (and hierarchy) of terms; my principal task is to try to illustrate that dynamic.

93 To close this general historical sketch, what emerges is the observation that the relationship between copyright and dance choreography remains in flux, sometimes in conjunction, and often in tense interplay. Unlike music and film or video, choreography has often been regarded as the invisible stepchild among the copyrightable categories. Although there are numerous factors that account for why this is, the critical factors this book focuses on are those that underlie the construction of whiteness as property, against the intersectional backdrop of race, gender, and, to some extent, class.

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