Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sandra Aberkalns' Letter to the Editor

Several weeks ago one of our notators, Sandra Aberkalns responsed to Terry Teachout's article in the Wall Street Journal on "Why Dances Disappear". Her Letter to the Editor is a good answer supporting Labanotation!

"It's the Dance That's Complex, Not the Notation System
Terry Teachout's comment, "Dance notation is so complex and inexact," in his article "Why Dances Disappear: Can Merce Cunningham save his work by killing his company?" (Leisure & Arts, June 27) arises from two misconceptions about notation that continue to linger in the dance community. Notation is not complex -- dance is! As a Labanotator of nearly 40 works -- representing some of the most respected choreographers of our time -- I know each score is unique with, yes, various levels of "complexity" depending on the work, not on the notation. As to being "inexact," as a notator, I am as aware as the dancers, if not more so at times, of what must happen physically, motivationally and emotionally so that the choreographer's intentions are preserved in a manuscript that will inform dancers for generations to come.
Unlike Kenneth MacMillan, Antony Tudor, the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Paul Taylor, among others, Mr. Cunningham chose not to have a notator document his works (other than "Totem Ancestor"). I feel that is a tragedy, as his legacy is now dependent on the whims of technology and changing memories -- both of which are fickle mistresses at best.
Sandra Aberkalns
Dance Notation Bureau
New York"
Here is the link to view the original article written by Mr. Teachout:

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