Riverdance: Kelly takes steps to settle

A week after he reported that Irish fashion designer Jen Kelly was suing Riverdance duo Moya Doherty and John McColgan for unauthorised use of his designs, the IPKat can now tell his readers that Kelly's action has been withdrawn. According to Tim Healy, writing in today's Irish Independent, Kelly

"...dramatically withdrew his legal claim against the 'Riverdance' producers after a compromise was reached.

Jen Kelly ... claimed he had been "airbrushed out of history" by the world famous dance and music sensation. ... Mr Kelly sought €820,000 damages, alleging he had not been given proper credit for his work and his designs were used and altered without his consent ...

But [he] yesterday decided to accept that producers did not use costumes he had designed, nor copies of them, in live performances of 'Riverdance' after December 31, 2001.

It was unclear last night whether money had changed hands ahead of the settlement.
Afterwards Mr Kelly said he was "delighted that I can get back to what I do best, designing clothes". ...

[Kelly] claimed the defendants breached a November 1999 agreement not to use his costume designs in 'Riverdance the Show' after December 31, 2001. It was in 1999 that Mr Kelly was informed that another designer, Joan Bergin, would be used for the costumes in a new show on Broadway. The defendants had denied the claims.

And yesterday, on the third day of the hearing, Mr Justice John MacMenamin was told that there had been a compromise in the proceedings. ... The judge struck out the action which had been estimated to run for two weeks.

... Joan Bergin, the designer who took over the 'Riverdance' costume work, said: "I'm mightily relieved for every costume designer who works in theatre, otherwise we'd just spend the rest of our lives looking over our shoulders."

Last week the court had heard that Mr Kelly agreed to design costumes for 'Riverdance the Show' following the success of the performance at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. As the show's popularity expanded, an agreement was entered into in October 1996 between 'Riverdance' and Mr Kelly. As part of that agreement Mr Kelly received a royalty payment of £60 per performance -- but difficulties later arose .... The difficulties culminated in an agreement in December 1999 under which Mr Kelly was to receive a payment and his costume designs would be used in the shows up until the end of December 2001 ...".

The IPKat feels a little sorry for the legal teams involved, who must have blanked a fortnight out of their respective diaries in the anticipation of some interesting, instructive, lucrative and publicity-rich court work. Merpel says, if you get rid of all the repeated bits, couldn't you have choreographed the two-week trial down to about three days?

Traditional Irish dancing here and here
How to dance an Irish jig here ("Be careful not to fall when standing on one foot or hopping")
Fitness and health issues for Irish dancers here and here
Riverdance: Kelly takes steps to settle Riverdance: Kelly takes steps to settle Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Rating: 5

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