Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just in Time for the Holidays: Books and Cards from the DNB

In this economy, there's nothing quite as nice as 60% off. And that's what the DNB is offering: 60% on books sold through the DNB -- see the list of offerings here.

Also, if you plan to send holiday cards this year, why not make them Note-8-Cards? They are all designed by DNB staff and friends, and each design incorporates notation symbols in a creative and delightful way. Note-8-Cards come in packets of (surprise!) eight, and you can specify which eight you'd like (all the same, all different, whatever).

Choose your favorite eight from the Note-8-Card Gallery.

On this very cold day in NYC, Snowtation Man is the card that's most speaking to me:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Hello at the DNB, Part 2

Just a PS...

Have you looked at the DNB's staff listing lately?

Go to the DNB's About the DNB page and then click "Board and Staff."

Look at the staff listing.

That's a lot of people.

With a whole lot of credentials.

And a ton of energy.

And an insane amount of talent.

Just one more metric by which the DNB is doing really well. Not just surviving. Nope. Thriving.


Another Hello at the DNB

Another new face at the DNB!

The Dance Notation Bureau is very pleased to announce that Oona Haaranen has joined our staff as Director of Education. Oona is a choreographer, educator, and writer -- and she has a BFA from Juilliard, an MA from City College of New York, and is currently pursuing her PhD in dance. We are excited about working with Oona and look forward to a productive future.
Actually, Oona's not really a new face. She's been involved with the DNB for many years, and she's been writing the DNBulletin for a couple of years. But this is a new position for her -- and for the DNB. It will be exciting to see what happens at the DNB now that there's a Director of Education!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Starting on the Queue of Things I've Been Meaning to Post

A few days ago, Leonard Lopate interviewed Suzanne Farrell on WNYC. Most of the interview concerned Suzanne's reconstruction of the Balanchine ballet Pithoprakta, a "lost" Balanchine ballet from 1968. The recreation of this ballet was especially challenging because Suzanne only had an incomplete film and fuzzy memories to rely on. And the film wasn't just incomplete, it was seriously incomplete: it was shot one day when Arthur Mitchell was out, so it's missing all of the male lead's parts!

Yet again, the perils of recording dances on film only!

Suzanne also said fascinating things about the music, but I was making lunch while I listened, and the sink and the stove drowned out some of the details. I should listen to it again. And you should listen too!

Click here to listen.

Farewell to Nancy, Hello to Kristin

A major announcement from the DNB:
As of September 1, 2008, Nancy Allison, our Director of Programs, has departed from the DNB staff to pursue personal projects . We thank Nancy for her outstanding contributions and energetic presence and wish her well. Kristin Jackson is the new Director of Programs. Ms. Jackson is a former member of Laura Dean's Dance Company and has staged Dean's works (including one piece that was notated). She has taught ballet, modern, choreography and kinesiology and has connections to university dance departments in the US and Asia. She earned a M.F.A. in Dance from New York University. We welcome her addition to our staff.
Good luck to Nancy! And welcome to Kristin!

And a big old scolding to Jill, who has not been keeping up with the blog. I have a long mental queue of things to post, but I've just been so busybusybusybusybusy. Workworkwork, eateateat, sleepsleepsleep. But I really need to blogblogblog.

Soon, I hope!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Break from Laban, A Bit about Eshkol-Wachman

Curious about other forms of movement notation?

Learn a little about Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation from Deborah Friedes' recent Winger post.

Learn quite a lot more from her interview with Michal Shoshani, who worked closely with Noa Eshkol (yes, as in Eshkol-Wachman).

Both of the above show you what Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation looks like. Very different from Laban!

August Additions to the Theory Bulletin Board

In August, there were two great additions to the DNB's Theory Bulletin Board. (The title of this post could be "August August Additions to the Theory Bulletin Board.")

I feel magically smarter having read them. Maybe you will too!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New(ish) Theory Meeting Minutes

Two more sets of minutes from DNB theory meetings went on the Theory Bulletin Board in July:

  • The November Open Theory meeting covered Dance Forms software and several possible ways that the DNB and notators in general could use it, as well as possible ways to notate not just nearness but degrees of nearness.
  • The June Motif Theory meeting covered numerous Motif topics, including phrasing bows, indications of "the same" and "different," and diagonal paths.
No point trying to summarize here. The really interesting stuff is in the minutes!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two More Tidbits

Tidbit #1: The DNB just made a major sale of books to Singapore. There are still some great finds left -- and still 50% off -- check the book sale list to see if there's anything to tempt you!

Tidbit #2: Congratulations to Gwendolyn Arbaugh of Elverson, PA, who just completed and passed her Intermediate Correspondence Course in Labanotation. Not an easy feat!

Farewell, Patricia Nanon and Georgette Weisz Amowitz Gorchoff

The Dance Notation Bureau mourns the recent deaths of two dear friends and steadfast supporters: Patricia Nanon, who passed away in February, and Georgette Weisz Amowitz Gorchoff, who passed away in May. We are also deeply grateful that they continued to think of the DNB with monetary gifts at their passing. We shall miss them.

Here's more about Patricia Nanon's amazing life and accomplishments, from the New York Times.

And here's more about Georgette Amowitz Gorchoff's remarkable life and achievements, from the Lynchburg News Advance.

Friday, July 4, 2008

CMAs Look at Presidential Candidates

The New Yorker recently published a short article about the body language and movement styles of presidential candidates as observed by people who really know what they're observing: Certified Movement Analysts.

Be sure to read to the end, where there's a nice surprise about Chelsea Clinton's aptitude for movement analysis!

We Had a Bit of a Blog Break, But We're Back...With an Article from Dance Teacher Magazine

There's a nice article about the Tudor Centennial Celebration on the Dance Teacher Magazine website. By Elizabeth McPherson, author of the Martha Hill book I mentioned in my last post, the article includes Labanotation for two Tudor class combinations, tendus for barre and grands battements for center. The notation is paired with word descriptions of the combinations, so they're good practice for beginning Labanotation students and a good introduction for Labanotation newbies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Martha Hill Book - How to Get More Than 60% Off

It's true -- deeeeeeep discounts are available for The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, 1900-1995 by Elizabeth McPherson.

Here's how to get the book for $39.95 instead of $109.95 (more than 60% off!):

Email the author, Elizabeth McPherson, at emm2072000[at]yahoo[dot]com. (Format the email address in the usual way, of course; just trying to prevent spam.) She can give discount flyers to individuals (not institutions, though).

Great deal!

Martha Hill - Important Woman, Important Book

Martha Hill, 1900-1995, was a major figure in dance education and a major supporter of dance notation. Here are just two of her accomplishments, just to give you a sense of her impact: in 1932 she created the first bachelor of arts program in dance (at Bennington), and in 1951 she became the first director Juilliard's dance division. Pretty impressive, huh? Now think about this: she remained director of Juilliard's dance division for 34 years, until 1985.

In a word: wow.

Want to know a little bit more about Martha Hill?
Read her obituary from Dance Magazine.

Want to know more than just a little bit more about her? Read this new book:
The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, 1900-1995 by Elizabeth McPherson

Here is the book's table of contents. It's amazing how the life of Martha Hill is essentially the history of dance education in America (NYU, Bennington, Connecticut College, Juilliard, scores of students who taught scores more students):

  1. An Overview of the History of Dance in Higher Education in the United States
  2. Hill’s Youth and Early Career: Growing Up in the Bible Belt (1900-30)
  3. Establishing a Dance Program in the School of Education at New York University (1930-51)
  4. Establishing a Place for Dance in a Liberal Arts Setting at Bennington College (1932-51)
  5. Moving Dance into Mainstream American Thought at The Bennington School of the Dance and The Connecticut College School of the Dance/American Dance Festival (1934-52)
  6. Creating and Nurturing a Conservatory Program in Dance at Juilliard (1951-95)
  7. Through the Eyes of Hill’s Students
  8. Hill’s Legacy
The list price is $109.95, but I'm told that it's available at a deep discount. Elizabeth, if you see this, could you possibly leave a comment telling people how to get the discount? I'll then repost the information in its own blog post...thanks!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another Staging...

I don't know much about this staging, so I don't have much to say about it, but I like to share news of stagings around the world. So many dances, so many choreographers, so many dancers, so many stagers, so many companies, so many countries! It may still be the case that most people haven't heard of Labanotation, but that doesn't mean Labanotation isn't in active use all over the place!

So, today I write to report that Marion Bastien recently staged Lotte Goslar's Clapping on Comité Departmental Meuse Danse in Paris, France.

(A great line from Lotte Goslar's NYTimes obituary: "A short, roly-poly woman with a round, expressive face, Miss Goslar as a performer brought bugs, flowers and mushrooms vividly to life.")

Read about Staging Folksay, Hear about Staging Folksay

The D.C. based CityDance Ensemble is currently staging Sophie Maslow's Folksay, and they have two great blog postings about the staging process.

If you'd rather read about it, read the Reflections on Reconstructing a 60 Year Old Dance post.

If you'd rather hear about it, watch the video of Greg Halloran talking about it.

I did both -- and recommend both!

Monday, May 12, 2008

50% Off Books from DNB!

Dear DNBlog, has it really been a month since my last post? I'm afraid it has. (I do hope that next month will have more posts and pics than last month. Just a wee bit busy these days.)

Today I write with news of a sale. And who doesn't like a sale? More specifically, who doesn't like 50% off!

That's right: 50% off all books listed on the DNB's Book Sale page. I am assured that this includes the rare and fine books on the list! The sale is effective immediately and will run through June 30, 2008. Plenty of time to make your selections!

Scanning the list, I see popular titles such as Toni Bentley's Winter Season, sure-to-be-fascinating older titles such as Dancing from 1895, serials from many decades...lots to choose from!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tribute to Tudor

As I've mentioned several times before, this year is Antony Tudor's centenary. Here's another newspaper tribute to Tudor, partially focusing on a two-day conference about Tudor and mourning the absence from the conference of Airi Hynninen, notator and former assistant to Tudor:

New Theory Bulletin Board Posting

The minutes of the DNB's November open theory meeting, which benefited from the attendance of Ann Hutchinson Guest, are now available on the DNB Theory Bulletin Board. The minutes capture the meeting's lively discussion, which included palm and thumb facing, the term "front sign," counting issues, Graham hand and torso contractions, entrances and exits, and direction sign progressions.

To access the newest posting, follow the link above and click "Minutes for the Open Theory Meetings" or follow this link.

As always, responses are welcome. Instructions for submitting postings are on the Theory Bulletin Board page.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Four More Martha Graham Works Will Be Notated! (Yes!!!)

Exciting news from the Dance Notation Bureau:

NEA Grant to Preserve Martha Graham's Signature Works Awarded to Dance Notation Bureau

The Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) has been awarded a 2007 Save America's Treasures grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to record and preserve four of Martha Graham's signature works. The $94,993 award will be used over the next two years towards notating works including Appalachian Spring and Primitive Mysteries, in Labanotation, a symbol for recording dance.

"For years, it has been our goal to preserve the works of one of the greatest choreographers of all time," said Lynne Weber, Executive Director. "With the NEA grant we will now be able to ensure that four of Martha Graham's greatest works will be preserved forever with all the details and nuances of her artistry." Ms. Weber also noted that this award completes the funding goal for the project, which was initiated with an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant.

The DNB was one of 31 grantees selected from 340 eligible applicant organizations nationwide in the competitive Save America's Treasures Grant Program. Dana Gioia, Chairman of the NEA said, "The NEA is pleased to join our partner agencies in congratulating these awardees whose work helps preserve our national's artistic and cultural heritage. Save America's Treasures grants not only protect the irreplaceable, but also allow us to build our future by preserving our past."

Save America's Treasures guidelines state, "Grants are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites." The Save American's Treasures award announcement can be found at

Contact: Nancy Allison, Director of Programs, 212/564-0985, email

How to Study Labanotation -- and Why

Did you know that the Dance Notation Bureau offers correspondence courses in elementary and intermediate Labanotation?

It does.

And did you know that many college students arrange to take the DNB correspondence courses for college credit?

They do.

And did you know that many of those students don't intend to become notators but nevertheless believe that the ability to read Labanotation is a valuable skill?

It's true.

Learning Labanotation can open a world of dance repertory, history, and research. The ability to stage historic dance repertory from Labanotation score can give dancers an edge over other applicants in the tough dance job market. Furthermore, many universities allow Labanotation to satisfy the foreign language requirement!

Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Deception" (another really fine hour of radio from Radiolab)

As I've mentioned before, I am a passionate fan of WNYC's Radiolab. I once recommended the "Where Am I?" episode, which included a segment about a man who lost the ability to sense the location of his body parts.

May I now recommend "Deception," another episode that might interest those interested in dance notation. The "Catching Liars" segment of "Deception" includes an interview with Paul Ekman, a psychologist (a very influential one, to boot) who devised the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a "muscular scoring system" for describing facial behaviors and expressions.

A bit more, from the FACS website:

A FACS coder "dissects" an observed expression, decomposing it into the specific AUs that produced the movement. The scores for a facial expression consist of the list of AUs that produced it. Duration, intensity, and asymmetry can also be recorded.
Not entirely unlike a notator's work!

Anyway, Radiolab presents all of this in a really fascinating way. The rest of the episode's segments have nothing to do with notation, but if you have a few free minutes they too are well worth listening to.

(If you prefer reading to listening, here's a summary of a New Yorker article about Paul Ekman's work.)

Stagings Past and Future

Here are some stagings from past months, as well as two stagings for future months. Even though most of these performances are over, I think it's worthwhile to list them all, to see which choreographers and choreographies people are interested in:

  • February 18: Repertory Dance Theatre of Salt Lake City, UT performed "Chair Pillow Dance" and "Couples" from Yvonne Rainer's Continuous Project - Altered Daily. The performance was staged by Lisa Moran.

  • Also on February 18, 2008: Repertory Dance Theatre of Salt Lake City danced Negro Spirituals, choreographed by Helen Tamiris.

  • March 5-9: the University of Oklahoma School of Dance danced Jean Erdman's Daughters of the Lonesome Isle. Read a bit more about the production, which was coached by DNB Director of Programs Nancy Allison.

  • March 6-9: Utah Valley State College performed Helen Tamiris' Dance for Walt Whitman, which was staged by Linda C. Smith. (More about the performance here.)

  • March 7-9: the University of New Mexico performed Hanya Holm's Rota. Donald Redlich served as artistic coach. Here's an article about it.

  • March 8: ARKE (a dance company in Turin, Italy) performed Doris Humphrey's Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. Leslie Mains was the stager.

  • March 22: the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT performed Antony Tudor's Little Improvisations, staged by Amanda McKerrow (a little bit about her here).

  • April 3: In Bern, Switzerland, Hermesdance will perform Anna Sokolow's Steps of Silence. The piece will be staged by Karin Hermes.

  • May 8: The Dance Center of Columbia College will present Doris Humphrey's The Shakers, staged by Gail Corbin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great Quotes about Notation, Part 7

So many posts in my head, so little time to post them!

Soon, I hope to write bits about open source dance, notation for facial expressions, and more. Until then, a great quote about notation to tide you over. This time, it's from Laura Dean:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Profile of Billie Mahoney

The Kansas City newspaper Pitch recently ran an in-depth profile of dancer and notator Billie Mahoney:

The article is long, but I read every last word, and I bet you'll want to as well. Lots of colorful stories from long ago and not-so-long ago. Also, the article includes numerous photos of Billie -- click them to see larger versions.

The article made me wonder if there any videos of Billie on YouTube. And indeed there are! Here's one that overlays two performances of the same phrase to show how precise her tapping is:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Grace in Gridlock?

This isn't about notation, but it is about quality of movement, and it's too good not to post:

Romanian traffic police are receiving ballet instruction. The hope is that ballet lessons will help them direct traffic with greater grace and clarity -- which might in turn delight drivers and prevent road rage.

Here's an article from the Guardian.

Here's a video from the BBC.

And here's some CNN video of a dancing traffic cop from Providence, RI. (I'm not sure if his moves are always unambiguous, but they are very entertaining.)

Who would've thunk?!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another Way to Subscribe to DNBlog

If you want to subscribe to the DNBlog by email instead of through an RSS reader, you now can! In the right-hand column on, there's a "Subscribe to DNBlog by Email" link. Or subscribe by email right now using this link.

(FeedBurner, you're my new love.)

Museum Exhibition: plane

Do you live in or near Chicago? If so, here's something you might want to go see. (And if not, you can delight with me from a distance that Labanotation is being featured in a museum!)

Until April 27, the Loyola University Museum of Art is displaying an exhibition called "…point…to line…to plane: Labanotation and Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading." From the museum's description of the exhibition:

Dance notation as a type of schematic drawing is the subject of this exhibition. Using Airi Hynninen’s notation of the dance work The Leaves Are Fading by celebrated choreographer Antony Tudor (1908-1987), the system of Labanotation records a choreographer’s work for posterity. Segments from The Leaves Are Fading, Gelsey’s Song, and an ensemble piece illustrate how a fleeting performance can be captured. Tudor’s piece premiered in 1975 and was created in conjunction with the music of Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904).
For more information about this and other exhibitions at Loyola, see:

Back in Print: Labanotation for Beginners

Back from out-of-print obscurity: Labanotation for Beginners by Ann Kipling Brown.

Originally part of a larger book that is now out of print, Labanotation for Beginners has been revived and is being published on its own. It presents Labanotation "in a sequence of clear, graded lessons, illustrated with numerous examples and supplemented with practical exercises in reading and writing, with each section of the text presenting logical progressions of exploring and recording movement."

Sounds like a good companion to Elementary Labanotation: A Study Guide, the textbook for the DNB's elementary Labanotation course. The price of Labanotation for Beginners is £10, which as of today equals $19.86. (The ever-falling dollar, sigh.)

Here's more info:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More on Joffrey's Celebration of Tudor

Just posted on the Winger: from Joffrey Ballet's Lauren Stewart, beautiful, intimate photos of the Joffrey's performance of Tudor's Dark Elegies:

(If you're not familiar with the Winger, it's a completely addictive dance website that includes blogging from dancers, dance teachers, dance lovers, etc. And an impressive number of these bloggers are also fantastic dance photographers. Oh, the photos -- they're enrapturing.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Second Centennial

The latest issue of the DNB's Library News celebrates a second birthday, too: the centenary of Antony Tudor. Tudor was a strong believer in the value of Labanotation, and 26 of his 54 dances are notated. Read more about his notated works (and ballet class combinations!) in the article.

Perhaps worth mentioning:

The New York Times has been covering Tudor's centenary as well. Here's an article about the Joffrey's Tudor program: In Chicago, the Elusive Genius of Tudor Revisited.

And here's an article about the New York Theater Ballet's program celebrating both Tudor and Limón: Restoring Luster to Two 20th-Century Dance Legends (notice how the article title is a play on the title of Tudor's Dim Lustre).

Monday, February 25, 2008

José Limón and the Best Ever Two-Word Description of Labanotation

Today I received the most recent issue of the DNB's Library News (if it wasn't in your mailbox, you can read it here). It includes an article about choreographer José Limón, whose 100th birthday would be this year. The article is written by former Limón dancer Lucy Venable, who details the 12 Limón dances that are preserved in Labanotation scores. She also mentions that Limón's centennial was celebrated in November at the CORD Conference at Barnard College; for curious readers, here's a summary of the conference events. (Even more curious readers might want to read the Limón Foundation's e-news or some issues of the Limón Journal.)

But here, to me, is the best part of the article: "From time to time he would inquire how our current 'Navajo rug' was coming along..."

What a brilliant way to describe the look of Labanotation! For starters, it's pretty accurate. See for yourself -- does this rug not look remarkably like Labanotation?!

Photo by Glen Belbeck
(click photo or Flickr link for larger version)

Moreover, just about everybody has a mental image of a Navajo rug. And not a lot of people have a mental image of Labanotation. Next time somebody asks me what Labanotation looks like, I'm not going to say, "Well, it's sort of like a music score, but there are columns and geometric symbols, and..." Nope. I'm going to say, "It looks a bit like a Navajo rug."

(And it's just two words. Two words! Hooray for saying much while saving breath!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Activity on the Theory Bulletin Board, Part 2

There's another excellent and educational addition to the Theory Bulletin Board: an essay by Ann Hutchinson Guest called "How Much Laban Is There in Labanotation?" The most recent entry in the "Names for What We Do" thread, Ann's essay examines the extent to which current Labanotation reflects Laban's original ideas.

The verdict: less than most people would probably assume.

Like so many systems in so many fields, Labanotation developed over time and includes others' contributions and well-reasoned revisions. This is not surprising in the least -- just easy to forget in the case of Labanotation because, well, "Laban" is so inextricable from "Labanotation."

One thing I didn't know (though it's not entirely surprising -- who doesn't somewhat possessively guard his work?) is that Laban resisted the changes. As Ann writes:

Laban was not happy about the changes that the DNB notators had to make. In Germany, Albrecht Knust also needed to make such changes in his development of Kinetography Laban (KIN); in doing so he also incurred Laban’s displeasure. It must be remembered that, in the field of dance, Laban only notated his own choreography, and did not personally encounter other needs.
Read the entire essay by going to the Theory Bulletin Board and clicking "Names for What We Do" or by clicking here.

Activity on the Theory Bulletin Board, Part 1

More theory meeting minutes are available on the DNB Theory Bulletin Board. The most recent minutes summarize the October theory meeting, which covered tick marks in the notation of African dance, categories of African dance and music, issues in the interpretation of palm facing indications in notation, distinctions between accent and emphasis, and the exact meaning of "stillness."

To access the newest posting, follow the link above and click "Minutes for the Open Theory Meetings" or follow this link.

As always, responses are welcome. Instructions for submitting postings are on the Theory Bulletin Board page.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Do you know about THE (INTER) MISSION? According to the site, it's a "social network for individuals with a vested interest in the future of dance."

Personally, I'm a little social networked out. But maybe you're not. And if there's one social network worth highlighting to this audience, THE (INTER) MISSION is the one.

Is Video Enough?

If I remember my dance history correctly (and I'm willing to admit I might not), this clip (the first part) is the only extant moving image of Isadora Duncan -- and it's disputed whether or not it's actually her:

Not much to go on, right?

All together now: Video's not enough. No matter how much there is, it isn't enough.

Happily, in the case of Isadora Duncan, there's a lot more: oral history, body memory, Labanotation...

Friday, January 18, 2008

This February, Three Stagings

This February, three Thursdays, three stagings, three states -- any near you?

  1. February 7, 2008: Antony Tudor’s Continuo will be performed at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. The stager will be Amanda McKerrow.

  2. February 14, 2008: A Gift of Wings, a dance by Rosalind Pierson, will be performed by Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame, IL. The stagers will be Laurie Lowry and Jacyln Thompson.

  3. February 21, 2008: Antony Tudor’s Little Improvisations and Continuo will be staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner for the Brigham Young University Theatre Ballet in Provo, UT.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New DNB Extension Homepage -- and Motif Man!

I just learned two things:

  • The Dance Notation Bureau Extension at Ohio State University has a new and improved homepage:

  • ...and the DNB Extension site includes a fun instructional application called Motif Man, where you can create a short motif score and then watch a stick figure perform it. (My favorite of Motif Man's animated actions is "approach" -- can't help but giggle.) If you're not familiar with motif description, there's an intro to it here (click Motif Description Basics).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Obituary of Ernestine Stodelle

I don't often see obituaries this fascinating -- I guess that's because I don't often see obituaries of people this fascinating: Ernestine Stodelle, 95, Modern Dancer, Dies.

Best line of the obituary: ". . . at age 85, Ernestine is down on the floor showing a young dancer how to do a one-handed push-up."


Dance and Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation in Israel

Deborah Friedes recently shared with the LabanTalk listserv an update on her dance research in Israel, which has included some exposure to Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation. She agreed to let me repost her message, which I thought would interest the Labanotation community:

The announcements for the open theory meeting reminded me that some of you were interested in hearing about my research on contemporary dance in Israel. I'm a little over three months into a Fulbright grant here in Tel Aviv, and the concert dance scene is keeping me very busy! I am blogging about my research at this address: [DNBlog turned it into a tinyurl to make it fit here]

One particular subject that might be of interest to people on LabanTalk is Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation. Although my research in Israel is centered around movement techniques and choreographic works, I have had some exposure to the notation system because of its prevalence here. During the recent International Exposure festival, where Israeli choreographers present their work to arts presenters from around the world, I saw a performance of Tirza Sapir's "Miniatures" by the Rikudnetto dance group; the 14 short dances were created with and then recorded in Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation. I also sat in on a movement writing class at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance a few weeks ago. Although the class was conducted entirely in Hebrew and my language skills are still rough, I was able to follow part of the discussion, in which the students asked a bit about Laban's work as compared to that of Noa Eshkol. It was a treat to see the Laban effort graph drawn on the blackboard with Hebrew terms! Hopefully I'll have some time to learn a bit more about Eshkol-Wachman while I'm here, and if I do, I'll surely post about it on my blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another New Theory Bulletin Board Posting

There's a brand new posting on the DNB Theory Bulletin Board. It covers notation for African dance, the possibility of a new sign for accents with unspecified amounts of energy, the possibility of generic signs for dynamic indications, the basics of phrasing indications, and the issues surrounding kinesphere signs in phrasing indications.

To access the newest posting, follow the link above and click "Minutes for the Open Theory Meetings" or follow this link.

As always, responses are welcome. Instructions for submitting postings are on the Theory Bulletin Board page.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Great Quotes about Notation, Part 6

The Great Quotes series continues, this time with Murray Louis :

"Where Am I?" (aka The Best Hour of Radio I've Heard in Ages)

On my walk to work today, I listened to an episode of Radio Lab (my favorite NPR show, completely addictive) from 2006 called "Where Am I?" The entire hour is great, recommended listening for anyone interested in the body's relationship to space and the communication between the brain and body about location and movement. But one segment, "The Butcher's Assistant" (about 15 minutes), will especially appeal to dancers, notators, anyone who analyzes movement. It's about a man who, at age 19, lost his ability to detect the location of his body parts (a sense called proprioception, similar to kinesthesia). For a while, he lost his ability to move. But, in time, he regained it. What's fascinating is how: he discovered that with self-observation and great concentration, he could control his body (sort of like Patrick Swayze in Ghost!). But he can do this only when he can see himself. Which means he can't do it in the dark. (Which means he's left his lights on all night long for over a decade!)

Hearing him talk about how he analyzes movement and body position is fascinating. He mentally breaks down movement into its components and thinks through each component -- not dissimilar to what notators do.

I guarantee you'll like it.

Here's a link to the show. (If you only want to listen to this one segment, scroll down to "The Butcher's Assistant.")

And here's a link to Pride and a Daily Marathon, a book written about the man by his doctor.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Seven Statements of Survival, Again

I mentioned the new book Seven Statements of Survival: Conversations with Dance Professionals last month, but at the time I didn't have a good image of the cover. Now I do, so voilà:

If you're interested in this book -- and what dancer, choreographer, dance researcher, dance educator, or dance librarian wouldn't be?! -- you can order it from Dance and Movement Press.


Speaking of the Dance Notation Bureau's expanded web presence, another blog has linked to our blog. Thanks, ecnDANCEWORKS! If you have a website or a blog, you too can help the DNB spread the word about the importance of dance notation -- link to us!

And don't forget: the best way to hear everything the DNB has to tell is to subscribe to this blog. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a great video intro to RSS:

Hello 2008!

With apologies for the delay (food coma just now wearing off...), welcome to 2008! But, before we put 2007 completely behind us, some words about 2007 from the New York Times: "In the past year dance has finally carved out a space for itself online as dancers, choreographers and institutions embraced the Internet with video, blogs and new Web sites." (Read the whole article here: The World of Dance Tries Out New Moves on the Web.)

Hooray for us, DNB, for being among the dance institutions expanding and improving its web presence!