Thursday, December 13, 2007

(Recently Unearthed) Great Quote about Notation

Here's a quote you haven't seen on the Dance Notation Bureau website. It's an excerpt from the last will and testament of Antony Tudor. It's in legalese and thus is not the most colorful quote in my little Great Quotes series, but what it says -- stipulating DNB involvement in stagings -- now that's a Great Quote with oomph!

". . . I request my Trustee, in order to insure the integrity of my ballets in performance, to require as a condition of any agreement entered into or permission given for performance of any of my ballets that the performance be based on the best available record of the ballet and, specifically, if the ballet has been notated by the DNB or by the Institute of Choreology, that the Bureau or the Institute be consulted and the performance based upon its notation."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Great Quotes about Notation, Part 5

It feels like time to trot out another testimonial. Here's Antony Tudor on the Dance Notation Bureau:

Sorry, Folks!

Apologies for temporarily posting a mangled message. It's fixed now, but those of you reading this via RSS readers probably have a posting that makes no sense. There was a four-car accident right outside my window, and at the moment of impact I accidentally clicked "Publish Post." Oops!

New Theory Bulletin Board Posting

A new posting has been added to the DNB Theory Bulletin Board. To read the newest posting, which discusses inclusion bows, thumb facings, cartwheel signs, and touching leg gestures, follow the link above and click “Minutes for the Open Theory Meetings Thread” or follow this link.

As always, feel free to add to the discussions or to initiate a new topic. Instructions for submitting postings can be found on the Bulletin Board.

Great News for Dance Companies: Dunham Dances Available for Staging!

Barrelhouse Blues and Choros I, choreographed by Katherine Dunham, are now available to be staged from Labanotation score. Cleo Parker Robinson will serve as the mandated artistic coach for all productions of these American modern dance masterworks. The scores, created by notator Sandra Aberkalns, are now available for educational and research use. For more information about staging please contact nancyallison [at]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Heretofore Rare Occurrence: Advanced Labanotation in NYC!

Start Thinking About Summer Now!

The DNB is currently formalizing plans for a three-week course in Advanced Labanotation from July 28 through August 15, 2008 in New York City. The course, taught by two Certified Labanotators will focus specifically on developing writing skills and is a pre-requisite for Certified Notator Training. Classes will be held at the DNB offices and in a nearby dance studio — with field trips to dance classes and rehearsals throughout the city. Registration is limited. For more information, or if you would like to reserve a place in this rarely offered course, please contact nancyallison [at]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"The Dance Notation Bureau began life in an abandoned elevator shaft"

Did you know that the Dance Notation Bureau's first office was an abandoned elevator shaft?! That the Dance Notation Bureau was the idea of legendary New York Times dance critic John Martin?!?! That Ann Hutchinson Guest directed the DNB without pay for 20 years?!?!?!

Yep. True. True. True. It's all in the new DNBulletin, which has a cover story about Ann Hutchinson Guest and her jaw-dropping accomplishments.

Click here for the PDF of the new DNBulletin. (Of course, if you're a DNB member, you'll get one in the mail too!)

(And for more DNB history, visit the About the DNB page and click "DNB History.")

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Yet Another Holiday Idea: Seven Statements of Survival

Dance and Movement Press recently published Seven Statements of Survival: Conversations with Dance Professionals, edited and with an introduction by Renata Celichowska. The hardcover is very reasonable at $24.95, and the paperback is a great deal at $12.95. The book consists of seven interviews with dance professionals, including dance writer Deborah Jowitt, dancers/choreographers Carolyn Carlson and Garth Fagan, dance administrator Andrea Snyder, dance anthropologist JoAnn Keali'inohomoku, dance educator Bill Evans, and dance librarian Madeleine Nichols.

(Personal aside: A former dance librarian myself, I'm delighted to learn that the book features a dance librarian. I remember my first meeting with my advisor in library school: I said I wanted to be a dance librarian, and she looked at me like I was delusional. Once I became a dance librarian, I always wanted to go back and say, "I told you so!")

Below is some praise for Seven Statements of Survival:

"This is a fascinating collection of life lessons that will inspire anyone contemplating a career in dance. The passion and wisdom of these seven outstanding individuals exert a strong cumulative effect on the reader."

-- Norton Owen
Director of Preservation, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

"Seven Statements of Survival is unique and inspiring in its honesty and real-life specificity. It spans the large universe of dance and pinpoints the many unforeseen places where passion and practicality overlap. I recommend it to anyone contemplating a future in dance or those already immersed in the field."

-- Sharon Gersten Luckman
Executive Director, Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

"Seven Statements of Survival successfully challenges the stereotype of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ path to career success in dance. In this outstanding book, seven very different but equally legendary professionals share with us the ways in which they created and continue to shape a dance life worth living. This book will inspire students, professionals and those in the audience alike."

-- Anne L. Wennerstrand, MS, DTR, LCSW
Author of Advice for Grown Up Dancers

Seven Statements of Survival (and all other Dance and Movement Press books) can be bought at As mentioned a few days ago, Dance and Movement Press's mother company, Rosen Publishing, will donate to the Dance Notation Bureau 10% of the price of all purchases made through the above link. (This offer extends into 2008.)

Another Holiday Idea: Note-8-Cards

Bet you didn't know there's a way to sneak dance notation into your holiday greetings. But there is! The DNB sells Note-8-Cards, note cards with clever notation-themed designs. There are 17 all-purpose Note-8-Cards and 12 holiday Note-8-Cards, and you can buy them in any combination you like. See for details.

Personally, my favorite holiday cards are Deck the Staff, Tree of Laban, and Snowtation Man (thumbnails below):

And my favorite all-purpose cards are Pablova (Pablo Picasso + Anna Pavlova + notation), Cow Jumped (check out her spots!), and Connect the Dots (OK, I admit it, I like that one because I made it...):

But that's just me. Find your favorites at

Monday, December 3, 2007

Call for Papers: Mapping the Body: Methodologies for Reconstructing Lost and Disappearing Dance

A enticing call for papers for the Theater Library Association Plenary at the 2008 American Society for Theater Research conference:

Call for Papers

Mapping the Body:
Methodologies for Reconstructing Lost and Disappearing Dance
Deadline: March 15, 2008

America, founder of modern dance, is beginning to lose its senior generation of choreographers and practitioners. While a number of leading companies have built impressive archives and now videotape performances in order to preserve them, dances are still passed along as they have been for thousands of years: generation to generation, body to body.

Labanotation was developed as a standardized system to “map” physical movements and the path of the body in space. Videotape, a vulnerable format, has successfully captured dance performances for over three decades - in a two-dimensional medium. Print documents are still critical: reviews, photographs, choreographer’s notes. Others insist that the most effective way is to have the original choreographer - or a trusted company member - set the dance on a new company.

Clearly, a successful reconstruction must be a composite of all these necessary elements. Has the development of sophisticated digital technologies provided new procedures - and perhaps pitfalls - for the documentation of live motion? How do research libraries and archives support this process - and how might they frustrate it? We’re interested in a fresh assessment of contemporary best practices and challenges facing this tenuous field of dance reconstruction.

Further, we welcome testimony of international efforts to document and preserve the movement heritage of vulnerable and vanishing cultures: First Peoples, Cambodian traditional dance decimated by the Khymer Rouge, societies threatened by genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Please submit proposals to:

Susan Brady, Chair
TLA Plenary Committee
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Yale University
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven
Connecticut 06520-8240
203/432-9033 (FAX)
susan.brady [at]

Sunday, December 2, 2007

José Limón and the Post Office

Here's a great idea from the José Limón Dance Foundation: let's convince the U.S. Postal Service to issue a José Limón commemorative stamp. There have been stamps for George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Agnes de Mille (and perhaps others?) . . . and José Limón belongs among them! Now's definitely the time to petition the U.S.P.S., as January 12, 2008 would be Limón's 100th birthday (he died in 1972).

If you too would like to see a Limón stamp, send a note to the U.S.P.S. encouraging it to create a commemorative stamp in honor of Limón's 100th birthday. Here's a sample letter provided by the José Limón Dance Foundation:

Jacqueline Padron
United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Rm. 3821
Washington, DC 20260-3821

Dear Ms. Padron:

On January 12, 2008 José Limón, one of the American founders of modern dance, turns 100 years old. The Limón Dance Company, is the living legacy of the movement technique and philosophy of theater developed by José and his mentors, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, whose innovative works have been recognized as great masterworks of American dance.

In recognition of his achievements, I request that the United States Postal Service issue a commemorative stamp in José's honor.

Thank you for considering my request.

[Your name and address here.]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holiday Gift Idea for Dancers

Here's a great way to do some holiday shopping and support the Dance Notation Bureau! Shop for books from Dance & Movement Press, a small imprint that publishes materials for dancers, students of dance, and interested lay readers.

...and here's how it helps the Dance Notation Bureau:

D & M Press's distributor, Rosen Publishing, will donate to the DNB 10% of the price of ALL purchases made through this link:!