Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dance Notations and Robot Motion

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - September 26, 2015

I would like to direct you to a site which documents the "Dance Notations and Robot Motion" workshop, held in LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, France, November 13-14, 2014.

Videos of many of the workshops' thought-provoking talks are available on the Program page

A description of the workshop is given on the homepage:

....."The workshop “Dance Notations and Robot Motion” aims to gather roboticists, computer scientists, neuroscientists, dance notation system researchers (Laban, Benesh, Eshkol-Wachman), and choreographers, in order to promote a multidisciplinary research on human motion analysis. Its objective is to lay the foundations for a mutual understanding that is essential for synergetic development in motion research.

The topic addresses methods for anthropomorphic motion segmentation and generation. In the dance field, tools for analyzing and transcribing human movements, i.e. the so called “dance notation systems,” have been developed to enhance dancer performance. Furthermore robotics is concerned by computer-based approaches to transform actions expressed in the physical space into a sequence of motions expressed in the robot control space. The workshop intends both:

  • To focus on notation systems, which structurally describe human movements by using symbols, as tools of motion segmentation
  • To explore the relationship between motion notation systems and engineering based methods for motion generation as developed in computer animation and humanoid robotics.
The workshop will particularly address recent developments on the computational issues of Laban notation systems (Kinetography Laban/Labanotation and Laban Movement Analysis). The computation of different movement notation systems as like Benesh Movement Notation and Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation will be also discussed and mirrored with recent developments in robot motion planning and control."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Leeder Project

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - September 2015
Written by Ann Hutchinson Guest - (October 2012 and March 2015)

[Following are two articles by Ann Hutchinson Guest about the Leeder Project.]

UP-DATE on the LEEDER PROJECT. October, 2012.

Picking up the Leeder Project, after the summer away, the focus has been on organizing the music for the chosen studies. Ideally we need the recording and the sheet music of the pieces being published in the book, however, it may not be practical to include the sheet music. The Swiss Archives converted the old cassette tapes into CDs but without identifying each piece. Separately they sent a list of the contents of each disk but this did not immediately tally. On request they also sent the sheet music of pieces by pianists who had worked at the Jooss-Leeder Dance School at Dartington Hall. My thanks go to the Swiss Archives for all their generous help.

I encountered problems in sorting out this music material. Into the picture comes Jonathan Still (Music Department, the Royal Academy of Dance) who has already been helpful on the music front, and Dr. Suzanne Knosp (Director of Music for the School of Dance/University of Arizona) who assisted me during several Leeder presentations at the National Dance Education Organization conferences in the States. Fortunately Suzanne decided to come to London in September on her Sabbatical. Both of them are amazed at the wide range of music choices that Leeder used in creating the classroom studies. Often the movement quality to be studied dictated the choice. In particular cases the music and movement were created in tandem. This project provides important examples of how movement and music are linked. What is fascinating is to experience the view provided by musicians experienced in playing for dance classes.

Jonathan states: “The value in my view is that musicians in dance usually feel as if there is no history to what we do, because it is impossible to recreate classes. This project brings together not only notation of the music, but recordings of it, and the ability to see the exercises that were created with it. The past of music for dance is usually a notional 'they' that we can only imagine by projecting our own experience backwards, whereas this makes the past tangible, audible, visible and offers, as it were, a critical eye on the present. It's a wonderful example of sensory history.”

Suzanne puts forward the point that, through this project, we will provide new information to be added to the historical archives of the International Guild of Musicians in Dance as well as the field of dance education. An examination of Leeder's musical choices for these studies may provide further insights into the teaching process of this important 20th century dance pedagogue and artist. It may also contribute to the study of the relationships between music and dance. These two experienced musicians are providing a fascinating additional dimension to the development of the Leeder Project. Both of them had composed accompaniment for studies, following my ‘singing’ from memory the music into a tape recorder. With the original music now found, comparison will prove interesting. Both see deeper significance in the project and have divided the material for further investigation.

Valuable preliminary material for the book already contributed by June Kemp are: Sigurd Leeder, A History; Sigurd Leeder, The Teacher; and The Sigurd Leeder School of Dance, Curriculum (a brief outline).

Word notes pointing out the highlights of each piece, what to focus on and the changes in quality underlying the different phrases, are already written for four of the ten contrasting pieces to be included in the book. The notation scores need careful checking to be sure the movements and transitions are clear. Thus there is still much work ahead.

Another important development has been the October visit from Switzerland by former Leeder student Evelyn Rigotti, who brought with her Romana Frasson, also a former Leeder student. Evelyn brought with her some important notated studies found at the former Leeder School by Christine von Metlin, a welcome addition especially as they included “Rain” which everyone remembered with special affection. Discussion centered on how to expand interest in the project, the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen-Werden should be contacted, also the Palucca School and others.

Apart from the production of the music CDs, work still to be done includes completion of the word notes for each study, checking these with other knowledgeable people, and checking the Labanotation for possible improvement. Further down the line is the production of DVDs of the studies in performance. For this we will be in touch with Joan Turner Bunster and her daughter Manuela at the University in Santiago, Chile, who are keen to undertake this part of the project as they have dancers trained in the style and the facilities for filming.

Report from Ann Hutchinson Guest
Holland Park, London.
List of Studies for this Book

1. Elementar I
2. Elementar II
3. Laufen (Running) Study
4. Somersault Impulse
5. Side Impulse
6. Swing Adagio (Arensky Waltz)
7. Side Mazurka
8. Rotation Study
9. Dirge III
10. ?


An invitation came from Evelyn Rigotti to attend the second meeting of former Swiss students of Sigurd Leeder.  During his last decades Leeder’s School of Dance was in Herisau, not far from St. Gallen.  These were students of his later years.  In contrast I was his student in the late 1930s.
The prospect of meeting this group and sharing with them the book I have been compiling on Leeder’s classroom studies had me on a plane to Zurich.  There I was met by Romana Frasson, a bright spark who is working closely with Evelyn on organizing meetings for the Leeder project.  She drove me to Wattwil where Evelyn lives and has next door a splendid dance studio.  Emilio Schläpfer was on hand to help discuss and pin down the program of activities.  The day began with a welcome warm-up conducted by Evelyn.  This was followed by my teaching an early study, the Somersault Impulse which I had notated when a student at the Jooss-Leeder Dance School in Dartington Hall, Devon.  Unfamiliar to the group, they tackled it with gusto, but neither I nor they atempted  the full somersault at the end.

After lunch I presented my work-in-progress Leeder book, explaining the contents, to what extent it is complete, and the music disc which has each of the pieces in chronological order.  Ideally it should include a DVD with performance of each study.   The interest on the part of the Chilean former Leeder students to assist in this project was discussed.  A film was shown of Leeder coaching Ueli Kohler in his series of barre exercises.  I had brought with me my collection of Leeder technique which I had notated in 1966 during a summer course in London.  In 1976 I visited Sigurd in Herisau and so have notes on corrections made at that time.  The afternoon concluded with everyone dancing the Rain study. I asked them to contribute what they remembered of the images that Leeder had provided for each section of this study, adding these to my performance notes for Rain

At some point we discussed the fact that, of those present, only Christine von Mentlen was able to read the notation, the others had not used it and so it had been forgotten.  I reported on how we were taught notation (script) at the Jooss-Leeder School.  The emphasis was on writing the classroom studies; the only reading we did was of other students’ homework.  It is true that in the mid-thirties there were very few scores available.  When I took my notation exam I was given the score of a solo of Leeder’s to dance.  It was the first time I had the experience of recreating the movements from the symbols.  At the Leeder School in Herisau it was much the same pattern.  When I saw the neat copies that Sigurd had written of his studies, I remarked how wonderful that the students could get copies to understand better how the movements should be.    But no, it was better for the students to write the studies themselves, his far more correct notations were not to be made available to them.  What a missed opportunity!  It is hard to believe, but the students were also forbidden to teach the studies - how then can the work be handed down?

To conclude the day,  there was much discussion regarding future plans.  I am hoping to attend the next meeting which is set for early September.  Altogether being with these people was an uplifting experience.  Much appreciation was expressed for my being there and for my contribution

[For notation for Rain and a picture of attendees to the 2015 meeting, GO HERE]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jacqueline Challet-Haas' Publications

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu - September 17, 2015.

Jacqueline Challet-Haas, the leading notation expert in France, has provided a list of her Kinetography Laban publications.  She studied notation with Diana Baddeley-Lange and Albrecht Knust.  In addition, she is the vice president of International Council of Kinetography Laban. 

1. Textbooks

Grammaire de la notation Laban vol. 1  Ed. Centre National de la Danse (CND), Paris/Pantin, 1999  (1st publication, stencil, 1961, Ecole Supérieure d’Etudes Chorégraphiques, (ESEC), Paris).
Translated into Spanish : « Cinetografia Laban, Primer Volumen » by Yvette Alagna, 1983 (published in stencil by the Centre National d’Ecriture du Mouvement, CNEM).
Translated into Catalan : «  Gramatica de la Notacio Laban, Volum 1 » by Agusti Ros, 2010 (published by Institut del Teatre, Barcelona). 

Grammaire de la notation Laban vol. 2  Ed. CND, Paris/Pantin, 1999 (1st publication, stencil, 1986, CNEM, Paris).
Translated into Spanish : « Cinetografia Laban, Segundo Volumen », by Yette Alagna, 1999 (published in stencil by the CNEM).
Translated into Catalan : « Gramatica de la Notacio Laban Volum 2 »by Agusti Ros, 2010 (published by Institut del Teatre, Barcelona).

Grammaire de la notation Laban vol. 3  Ed. CND, Paris/Pantin, 2011.

« Symbolisation du Mouvement Dansé » (avec Mic Guillaumes), collection « Balises » n°4,  Ed. CESMD Poitou-Charentes, 2013.
La Symbolisation du Mouvement  (issue de la Cinétographie Laban), Ed. CND, Paris/Pantin,  2014 (1st publication, stencil : Symbolisation du Mouvement Dansé, Ed. CNEM, 2003). 
Translated into catalan by Agusti Ros : «  La Simbolitzacio del Moviment Dansat », published by Institut del Teatre, Barcelona,  2010 (in one volume together with the Gramatica, volumes 1, 2).

2. Translation

Dictionnaire usuel de Cinétographie Laban/ Labanotation by Albrecht Knust, (A Dictionary of Kinetography Laban/Labanotation) with Jean Challet, 2011, Ed. Ressouvenances, Collection pas à pas.

3. Notated Materials

Exercices au sol, Atty Chadinoff, Collection ESEC/CNEM, 1964.

Sélection des exercices de barre de Boris Trailine, Collection ESEC/CNEM, 1966.

Dances from the Marais Nord Vendéen, Documentary Dance Materials, vol. 2 and 3, Ed. CFDS, Jersey, 1977.

Folkore I, Alsace, Lorraine, Berry, Poitou, Ed. CNEM, 1989.

Lexicon of classical ballet steps in Manuel pratique de danse Classique, Ed. Amphora, 1979, réédition 1997, Ed. Ressouvenances 2009.

Collection of floor exercices in L’enseignement de la danse aux enfants, Ed. Amphora, 1983, réédition 1997.

Exercices fondamentaux de Bartenieff, with Angela Loureiro de Souza Ed. Ressouvenances, 2008.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Online Laban Resources from Dick McCaw

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - May 28, 2015
Following are four terrific Laban related recourses from Dick McCaw. 

1) "Three Perspectives on Rudolf Laban's Dimensional Scale":

This is a video that presents Dr. McCaw's understanding of the Dimensional Scale based on the teaching of Geraldine Stephenson, Warren Lamb and Walli Meier.

2) "Performance Pod 202",+Rudolf+Laban./
This is an audio podcast in which Dr. McCaw discusses Laban and his theories.

3) "Laban Collection"

Dr. McCaw created this new online catalogue of Laban materials gathered by the late John Hodgson and now lodged in the Special Collections of The Brotherton Library, Leeds. 

Written descriptive texts to accompany a selection of images and documents from the collection can be accessed in the Laban Collection guide at:

4) "LabanSoucebook," by Dick McCaw.  A partial online preview can be found at Amazon at:
"The Laban Sourcebook offers a comprehensive account of Laban’s writings. It includes extracts from his five books in English and from his four works in German, written in the 1920s and translated here for the first time....
Each extract has a short preface providing contextual background, and highlighting and explaining key terms. Passages have been selected and are introduced by many of the world’s leading Laban scholars."

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Journeyed Down An Unpaved Road

Submitted by Doris Green - April 13, 2015

The fight for equality begins at birth. I say this because as a youngster I realized that girls were not given the same opportunities as boys. This annoyed me to the point that I challenged them in their own arena, the sports. I was a superb athlete and could beat any boy in the neighborhood. I did not believe that the roles that defined girls and later women were fair nor did it challenge the mind. Therefore I was determined to separate myself from the pack.

In the field of music and dance I discovered that I could do something that no one had done before. This was to create a system whereby music of percussion instruments could be written on paper, thus preserving them and giving them perpetuity. Someone told me that oil vats could make music and I did not believe them until I met Rudy King, the first person to bring the Steel Pan to Brooklyn. I was immediately drawn to it. Years Later I was invited by Priscilla Taylor to write a magazine "Steel Bands of New York" that would tell the story of Steel Band men. In honor of Women's Month, the Steel Band Association recognized my achievements in music and dance with this write up. Today the fight for equality is still an issue as women still make less than a man for the same work. Therefore the struggle continues.

People reading this write up will notice my skills of percussion notation through the creation of Greenotation. When I wrote my first drum sounds, I had no idea where this unpaved road would lead. Not only was I able to align the accompanying dance movement through Labanotation creating integrated scores of African music and dance that returns the scientific basis to African music and dance that it had before much of it was lost during the middle passage. With my work African music/dance is no longer an oral tradition but is on the road to perpetuity. The mind of a woman should never be taken for granted.

[The Steel Band write-up can be found at]: 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Artworks by Jean Kirsten

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - April 4, 2015

Recently we posted information about Jean Kirsten's intriguing exhibit at The Ohio State University, "Jean Kirsten: For Laban":

Yesterday Jean sent me two further examples of his Labanotation inspired art. The first is shown in the photo below. The image depicts the biggest print ever (until now) of one of his works. The print hangs on the glass facade of a building in Dresden, Germany.

Note: For a larger image, go here:

A fast motion video of the print being hung can be found here:

The information provided below the video is in German. Here is a translation of it I obtained through Google Translate:
"Digital Customer Solutions : ITARICON expanded its portfolio and is based on digital solutions for customers and logistics processes. The realignment is now also optically visible : a large graphic of the Dresden artist Jean Kirsten graces the front window of the company building on Wiener Platz . It shows the transformation of dance movements in the two-dimensional space and can be clearly seen by the bright green of the Dresden main station."
Jean also sent me a photo of his delightful Easter Card for this year:

Moving Technology

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - April 4, 2015
Written by Sandra Hooghwinkel

[The following notice about Sandra Hooghwinkel's website "Moving Technology" was originally posted on the CMAlist on April 2, 2015.]

Dear all,

Proudly I’d like to present to you my new website:

It’s about my work, my plans, my dreams and a great deal about LMA (as they kind of overlap ).

I’m very proud of the result, as I created the entire site myself, both design, programming and content. Please be welcome to take a look!

It also holds the LMA/LBMS taxonomy that I created and sent in a few years ago. It’s been evolved and updated since then and it’s downloadable for free.

Laminated copies can be ordered online as well, just not all at the same time please! ;-)

No need to say of course, that I’m not seeing the taxonomy as the one truth to look at the LMA system, just merely as a means to create some overview in the richness and complexity of the system for myself.

Until now it has been very helpful to me, and I just hope it can be helpful to others as well.

Inspired by the work and the community as always!

Thanks, and feel free to link my website on your own…

Best wishes,
Sandra Hooghwinkel

Moving Technology
Sandra Hooghwinkel, BDaEd, CMA
Software Developer, Dancer and Certified Movement Analyst
Zwolle, The Netherlands