Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dance, Dance Notation, and Language

The recent obituary of Igor Moiseyev in the New York Times included something he once said about classical ballet: that it's “the grammar of movement.” I'm sure a lot of smart and thoughtful people have a lot to say about whether or not ballet is the grammar of movement...but me, I didn't spend much time thinking about that particular issue. Rather, I started thinking about one of the most fascinating threads on the DNB's Theory Bulletin Board: Labanotation as a Language.

The thread is a little old (2001), but it's in no way dated. In it, well over a dozen people mull over questions such as: Is Labanotation a language? Or is it just a script, with dance being the language? Is Labanotation more like a programming language or a human language? Should it satisfy a university's foreign language requirement? Or is "foreign" indeed a crucial part of such language requirements?

I can't remember the fine points. I'm going to go read it again now.

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