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Routine Plagiarism: How Far is TOO Far?

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  • Routine Plagiarism: How Far is TOO Far?

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    Zafire Pro Team
    Courtesy of Vino Photography


    In the dance world, people will always copy dance moves, patterns, tricks etc. It is an inevitable part of the business which performers and instructors have come to accept, tolerate, and sometimes are even flattered by the homage. There are many people who are fans and have been inspired by International teams/artists and pay tribute to their dance gurus by adding a move, a trick, a pattern into their routine; But when does this practice go too far? Where should the line be drawn as to what is homage and what is dance plagiarism?

    There has been a recent uprising in the Salsa community labeling this situation 'Routine Plagiarism" and has everyone screaming 'lawsuit.' Sadly, the reality is that nothing can be done legally. The law apparently has not caught up with creativity and these are the results of such lax laws and protections. The popular dance team Zafire from NYC, had a shock when this video appeared on the internet:



    Sources say that Directors of Zafire Dance Project Carlos Herandez and Arlette Guerra have both stated that this team DID NOT have permission to use their choreography, costumes, or material. They also stated that they had no idea this was happening until the video hit the internet.

    There have been rumors as to the true intentions of this random dance team, but there are too many questions and too little answers. An individual on one of the many discussion threads on the internet mentioned that the directors of this mystery team contacted Carlos and Arlette apologizing, and clarifying that it was merely a "tribute." to the Zafire Dance Company. However, if it was a tribute, how come Zafire was not mentioned? Why were Carlos and Arlette not notified? Usually when one team wants to pay tribute to another, directors are invited, pictures are taken, and credit is rightfully given to the professionals who inspired them. With fans, dancers, and fellow Instructors fuming, one Zafire fan stated his observation that, "at the end of the video, they had the audacity of sitting and posing for the camera like if they were the inventors of the routine THE NERVE."

    Recently, Arelis Beato Director of Tropical Image created an amazing showcase titled "Dancer's Paradise," where her and her amazing group of talented Dancers paid tribute to some of the pioneers in the On2 Salsa scene, including Eddie Torres, Santo Rico, Addie-tude and Carribean Soul. I was privileged enough to have been at this event, and have to say that Arelis did an amazing job at honoring the above mentioned Artists. THIS IS A TRIBUTE. Directors and Artists were invited, fliers were made, seats were reserved and people put in their time, work, sweat, blood and tears to make it happen. See the difference???

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    As this disgraceful drama unfolds, we have to realize that Salsa has reached a new low and many Dancers, Instructors, Performers and Students are hanging their heads low asking, "what is this scene coming to?" Long time Instructor Gina Liccardo voiced the opinion of many by commenting on the copied youtube video, "Something needs to happen here. This is called the Salsa scene has hit rock bottom." But has the scene truly hit rock bottom? Or is this an opportunity for the community to come together, create a voice, and get something done?

    By: Amy Tuarez

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      Courtesy of Vino Photography
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