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Cultural Property: The Hero of Dance’s Drama

By Vanessa Gonzalez

The importance, if any, of art in society has long been debated. Aristotle believed music presented individuals with three benefits: pleasure and amusement, moral training and cultivation of the mind.1 One could argue that many believe art generally provides at least one of these benefits to the public. As a matter of law, there are various statutory regimes intended to safeguard and promote artistic expression. Yet these laws overlook the vulnerability of certain types of art, including dance. This Note explains how a gap in the law has formed so that there is a risk that important dance choreography will be lost to our future generations without appropriate legal action. Part II illustrates the important economic and preservation functions of arts organizations, along with the existential obstacles they face due to their nonprofit status. Part III discusses the two main legal paradigms, nonprofit organizational law and copyright law, that touch on dance preservation and how they fail to adequately preserve dance choreography. Finally, Part IV proposes a new avenue for legislation to address dance preservation according to its intangible attributes.

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