Friday, January 29, 2016

Action! Recording!

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu and Charlotte Wile - January 29, 2016 (updated April 25, 2016)

Action! Recording! was published by the Language of Dance Center (LODC) and later by Labanotation Institute at the University of Surrey (1976-2003).

The links below are the facsimiles of issues published between 1976 -1978.  Further issues will be posted in the future.

There are some missing issues.  If you have the missing issue, please send us a hard copy or digital file in PDF or JPEG.

Partially digitized from the Dance Notation Bureau Collection at The Ohio State University’s Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute by support from the Dance Preservation Fund. 


Issue 1, January 1976
Topics: "Shakers" from Welsh Dance Theatre; Labanotation Specialist at Laban Art of Movement Centre; Notation Used to Reserve Chinese Opera; New Systems Ahoy!; Labanotation Course for School Teachers; Effort/Shape; Anstey Research Project ends First Year; November Meeting of LODA; Report on ICKL Conference 1975; Labanotation Card Catalogues; Book Service; Work in Progress; The Dance Library; Systems of Dance (Movement) Notation; Dance Materials in Labanotation; Report on Lectures and Special Sessions at the 1975 ICKL Conference.

Issue 2 (missing)
Note: If you have the missing issue, please send us a hard copy or digital file in PDF or JPEG.

Issue 3, July 1976
Topics: Editorial; Mobile by Siguard Leeder; Quiz Book by Ray Cook; Labanotation for Ballet Dancers; Yugoslav Folkdance Publication Applies Kinetography Laban; Momentum; Activities at Chelsea College; Choreographic Research; Fundamentals of Movement; Labanotation at London College; Choreographic Reconstructions; Editor's Comment; Dance History, Notation, Music and Mine at LAMC; Notes from the Historical Dance Field; News of Balkan Notation Systems; Bournonville Project; Obituary - Christl Zimmer; Linda Cummings on Leave; Harriet Isaacs Joining Editorial Staff of Action! Recording!

Issue 4, October 1976
Topics: Pas de Six from "La Vivandiere" - Reconstruction; Dolin's Pas de Quatre Notated; Regent Street Group Completes First Year; Braille - Labanotation for the Blind; Recording of Cecchtti Method; Choreographers Agree to Classroom Study of Their Notated Works; Report from A "Working American"; Raymonda Project Progresses; LOD Reading Examinations; Student of Dance or Dance Student?; Veen-Hooper Memorial Library; Gail Grant Dictionary of Classical Ballet in Labanotation; New Acquisition; Fourth Year at Gold Smith College; The College of the RAD; England Captures Another Labanotator; Lisa Lawer in London for Work Study Term; General.

Issue 5, February 1977
Topics: Publication of Leeder Technique Planned; London ICKL Meetings; Massine's "Song of the Reed"; Notation in the Teaching of Dance by Ann Kipling Brown; Knust's 80th Birthday; Historical Dance News; Staff Labanotator at the R.A.D.; Norwegian Teachers' Conference; Needed Materials found in LODC Library; College News; Course at London College; Books – African Dances & Games by Odette Blum; Subjects for College Theses; Brief Facts on the Language of Dance Centre; Facts on Action! Recording!

Issue 6, June 1977
Topics: Cecchetti Seminar; Ray Cook in Australia; How did the Egyptians Dance? Paul Clarke Memorial Scholarship Fund; London Workshop with Warren Lamb and Pamela Ramadan; Notes from Paris – Report; Teaching Labanotation to the Deaf; Ohio State University Notation Library Card File; Massine on Choreography; Dance Studies, Vol. I; Kineliterate??? Kinelectrice???; Needed Materials Found in LODC Library; Mats Isaksson; Stephanie Jordan; How Many Notation Systems?Sigurd Leeder School of Dance; Brief Facts on the Language of Dance Centre.

Issue 7, September 1977
Topics: The Computer as a Tool for Labanotation; Captivating Computer; Bubble Men; Tenth Biennial ICKL Conference; Honorary Doctorate Given for Pioneer Work in Dance Notation; Egyptian Dance? Read Lexova; Vadstena Castle Performances; Bi-Linguist at RAD; OSU 1977 Dance & Notation Workshop; Laban Summer Course at Dartford; Laban Centre Summer School; Textbook Reprinted (Error Free?); Movement & Dance for Those Concerned with Handicapped Children.

Issue 8, January 1978
Topics: Choreographers and Notation; 10th Biennial ICKL Conference; Labanotation Computer Project; Report on Notation Research Project; Thefeur's Gavotte De Vestris; Icelandic Folk Dances; Analysis of Walking; Revision of the Constitution; Elections and Future Plans; American Dance Machine; Vivanndiere Pas de Six; Paul Taylor's "Aureole" Score; The Peripatetic Ray Cook; Rondi Sureno; "Bourree Fantasque" Acquired; Universal Dance Notation; Miszlitz Notation System; Cigarette Cards – On Dance; "A Handbook for the Dance Director"; Notation Featured at NATFHE Conference; Conversation with Liza; Yugoslav Folk Dances Studied and Performed; Descendant of the Bubble Man; Health in Retirement – Exercises; Abbreviations Used; Egypt Again.

Issue 9, April 1978
Topics: Albrecht Knust (1896-1978); Graphic Notations; Folk Cultures Filmed for Comparative Research; Dance for Senior Citizens; Reviews; The Chinese Connection – Tai Ai Lien [Dai Ai-Lien]; Bluebird Pas de Deux Prepared for Publication; PCPA School of Dance; Crewe & Alsager; Fred Locke; Jean Christophe Bocle; Lisa Lawer at RAD; Dance History Notation Projects; Bartenieff Fundamentals; Gems of the Classical Heritage; Comparative Study of Versions of the Fairy Variation; "Footsteps in the Snow"; Tap Dance Projects; News from Here and There.

Issue 10, July 1978
Topics: Editorial: Stage Two is Yet to Come; Danse Macabre; Norwegian Notation "System"; How to Recall a Step with the Help of the Drawing; Notators for Broadway; Masque Dance Theatre; Merging of Sight, Sound & Movement; The Anonymous Toilers at LODC; Folk Dance Publications; Cinetographie Laban/Cinetografia Laban; Advanced Coaching at LODC; Folkdance Seminars; Summer '78.

Issue 11, September 1978
Topics: Dance & the Child Conference – Canada; Dance & The Child...Keynote Speeches; The Child as Creator; The Child as Spectator; Dance & The Child Films and Videotapes; D & C Film and Video Catalogue; Dance & The Child Presentations; Introduction to Dalcroze; Language of Dance; Motor Developments in Children; "I Am Me" Teaching Demonstration; Dance & The Child International; Concluding Comments on the Conference; Report on the ADG/CORD Conference; Forthcoming Events; DNB Board of Examiners; LOD Classes in Detroit; Els Grelnger at Laban Centre; Plans for 1979 ICKL Conference; Laban Centenary Symposium; Notator Training in New York; LOD 'Verbs' Now Printed.

Issue 12, January 1979
Topics: ADG/CORD Conference Hawaii; Notation Related Events; Panel Discussion on Notation; Philippine Notation System; Why is Notation not Used to Preserve Ancient Traditions?; Kinesiology & Biomechanics; Ch'i Kung Demonstration & Lecture; Hula Space; Nona Kapua Beamer; Dance Workshops; Bartenieff Workshop; Films, Slides, Video Catalogue; ADG/CORD Conference – Summary; College Score Committee Formed; Dance Scores at Greensboro; Modular Courses at Middlesex; News from RAD; Laban Centre Summer School '78; In the Swim.

Issue 13, April 1979
Topics: Leonide Massine (1896-1979); Laban Centenary Plans; Dance Literacy Symposium Meeting; At I.M. Marsh College, Liverpool, England; 1979 ICKL Conference; Scottish Guild of Modern Dance; Folk Dance Seminars; Action News from Warren Lamb Associates; The Bell – A Letter from Jacob's Pillow; The Centre National D'Ecriture; Hungarian Dance News; Laban Institute of Movement Studies; LIMS Newsletter; Institute for Nonverbal Communication Research; Child Development Research News; Post Meridian by Paul Taylor; Loopdans by Lucas Hoving; Pulicinella by Leonide Massine; Three Fictitious Games by Jeff Duncan; Sokolow Scores; Advice from a Dance Historian; Book Review; LODC News; Labanotation Textbook II; WorkScholarship Available – LODC; Comments to Remember; Labanotator Revived; Sheila Marion at LODC; Maria Szentpal; Ann Kipling Brown; Rose Lorenz; "Don't Let Gravity Win!"; Pop Music Plus Old Favorites; Aerobics Incorporated; On the LODC Production Line.

Issue 14, June 1979
Topics: Kurt Jooss (1901-1979); Folk Dance Scores in Progress; Terence Heard Scores Available; A Visit to Sigurd Leeder; Dictionary of Kinetography Laban; Holiday in Israel; "Dances from the Marais Nord Vendeen"; The Bournonville School; LODC Library; LN and College Teaching; 1978 CDEA Conference; Use of LN for Clumsy Children; Maggie Burke; Solution for a 'Cloudy' Section; A Genuine 'Old Master' or a Copy?; Mats Isaksson Writes; Ray Cook; Svea Becker Writes; Jo Anne Combs; News from Mexico; Jean-Philippe Van Aelbrouck.

Issue 15, October 1979
Topics: Systems of Notation – Behind the Scenes: A Foot-Fumbler's Way to the Happiness in Dance; Laban Centennial Celebration; New York – LIMS; Those Who Knew Him [Laban]; Special Conference Sessions; Tribute to Jooss; Dance Macabre Demonstration; Can Dance '79; Quotes from Keynote Speakers; Ideas for Elementary School Teachers; Shiatsu; New Directions in Health; Teacher/Accompanist Communication; In Physics and Ballet: A New Pas de Deux; Dance Notation: Systems and Usages; Notation Project: Chinese Dance; Discussion with Prof. Liu; Pirouettes with Bayonets; Dance Notation Bureau: Annual Members' Conference; [DNB] Professional Advisory Committee; "An Examination of Systems of Movement Notation; "Dance of the Paiwan Aboriginal People of Ping-tung County, Taiwan, with Implications of Dance for Tribal Classification"; "A Way to Dance"; Dance Variations; "A Critical Evaluation of Systems of Movement Notation"; "A Comparative Study of Video Tape and Labanotation as Learning Tools for Modern Dance"; News from Here and There.

Issue 16, January 1980
Topics: Bournonville Centenary; International Laban Centenary Symposium; Alaprippu: A Choreographic Analysis; Jaques-Dalcroze; The Parameters of Choreutics; Computer Applications; A Sense of Movement; Natural Movement for the Young Child; Eshkol-Wachmann Movement Notation System; Laban's Influence on the Dance in China; Laban Symposium at Goldsmiths'; Computer Use with L/N; 1979 ICKL Conference; Labanotation in Anthropological Analysis; Dance Technique and Repertory; Scottish Guild Summer School; Project of Interest.

Issue 17, April 1980
Topics: Margaret Morris (1891-1980) – An Appreciation; Course Held in Norway; Charts of Aspects of Time; Spatial Definition Study; Speed Writing – Shorthand; Movement Exploration Book; Dance Time; "Fanny Elssler's Cachucha"; Adelaide to London; Mary Sweeney; Zorn Book Translated into LN; Churchill Scholarship Awarded; Apologies Due...; Dance History Conference; Labanotation Classes Launched in China; TV Program Features Dai Ai Lian; Dancing and Dance Theory; Studies Based on Crystalloid Dance Forms; Modern Dance Studies; 116 Modern Dance Classroom Combinations; Perspectives on Notation; Swedish Dances; Labanotation Textbook into Spanish; Examples for Reading Material; Tid-bits; Summer Courses – 1980.

Issue 18, July 1980
Topics: In Praise of Irmgard Bartenieff; Notation Research Project Report Nearing Completion; Lecture on Systems of Dance Notation; Systems of Notation – Behind the Scenes; Bella Lewitsky; News from Hawaii; Library Browsings; Fanny Elssler's Cachucha; "Pas de Six from La Vivandiere"; "Pas de Deux from The Flower Festival in Genzano"; Classical Ballet Variations; News from the Laban Centre, Sutton Movement Shorthand; Movement Notation; Facts on Action! Recording!

Issue 19, October 1980
Topics: The DNB – Forty Years Ago; A Brief Excerpt from the Babbage System; Thoughts on Composition; Dance as Art Sport; Further Library Acquisitions; First U.K. joint Examination for Dance Teachers; Notation at the London College of Dance and Drama; Notation and Analysis at Crewe and Alsager College; The LODC Library; Systems of Dance Notation Thesis; A Tribute to Irmgard Bartenieff; Valse en Cinque Temps; Dance Education & Training in Britain; Work in Progress; Course in Dance and Repertory.

Issue 20, January 1981
Topics: Anatomy and Dance; Help! The End is Not in Sight; The Language of Dance Trust; General Certification of Education Ordinary Level – Dance; European Theatre Dance Association; Notation Researcher on the Move; The London Labanotator Group; Educational Dance Score Registry; DN Systems -Thesis; Turocy Lecture at Laban Centre; Pas de Quatre Notated; ISTD National Dances; RIGA Notation Conference; Fanny Elssler's Cachucha.

Issue 21, April 1981
Topics: Dance – Reconstruction, Revived, or Revitalized?; A Discussion with Jennifer Scanlon; Labanotation Course in RIGA; Three Hungarian Books; Anatomy and Dance; Editor's Reply; Studies Based on Crystalloid Dance Forms; Arbeau 1956 Edition Located; Dance and Repertory Course; LOD Course: Norwegian Teachers, Danses Basques; Visitors to the LODC Library; New Description of Movement Devised; "Arthur's Variations"; Dark Elegies Rehearsed from Labanotation Score; Snippets; Reconstruction at the RAD College; Leeder Publications Available.

Issue 23, October 1981
Topics: Zelia Raye; Dance Films: John Mueller; Dance Conference at UCLA; Films; Encyclopedia in Preparation; A National Resource Centre for Dance; News from Overseas; London Labanotation Course for Teachers; 1981 ICKL Conference Report; Dear Reader – Some Questions?

Issue 24, January 1982
Topics: The Reviving of the Cachucha; Chinese Dances in Labanotation; Conference of British Dance Scholars; Bouquets!, Carol Teten; "Hasidic Dances in Ritual and Celebration", Eshkol-Wachmann Publications, Leeds Dance Conference, How to Write OGAM, Special Students at the LODC, Reconstructions at Trent Park, Fabulous Floor-Planners, LN Book in Preparation, Forthcoming Conferences.

Issue 25, April 1982
Topics: A Reconstruction of Methodology for Baroque Dance: Gigue Pour Femme (1704) by Janis Pforsich, Chinese Dances in Labanotation: Concluding the Report by Louis Chan from A! R! Issue 24, Working at the LODC, Score Reading – New Related Arts Degree, Studying "Passacaglia", Recording Napoli, Notation at City Literary Institute, Notation – New Forms, Anatomical Notations, "La Vivandiere" for SWRB, "Horseshoe Nails" Have Got Us Off to a Good Start!

Issue 26, July 1982
Topics: SWRB La Vivandiere a Success, Gulbenkian Award to LODT, Michelle Groves – Assistant LODC Director, Book Review, Developments at Surrey University, India Dance Notation, Labanotation Typewriting British Keyboard, DNB/LODC in Discussions, Cachucha Film Available in the U.K., Working with "Cats", Newcastle Notation, Notation News from the RAD, Your Move – Work in Progress, Promotion Continues, Labanotation Wall Charts.

Issue 27, October 1982
Topics: Reconstruction and Revival DCA Conference, DNB AGM and Workshops, British Library Grant, New LODC Staff Member, New LODC publications, Aureole for Diploma Day Performance, The Japanese Bon Dance in Hawaii, Mind, Body, Spirit Festival 1982, Labanotation Prize Award, New Labanotation Publication.

Issue 28, January 1983
Topics: Dance and the Child International Conference Report, Notation Course in Leeds, Surrey University to Offer Dance Studies Degrees, Language of Dance Course, East Berlin in Summer Notation Course, Morris System Publication, Book Review.

Issue 29, April 1983
Topics: Balanchine - Personal Remembrance of Times Past, Dance Research and the Use of Computers, Study of Dance Conference: Dance Analysis and Criticism, Notation for African Drumming, Zelia Wolosky – Dance Markers, Liverpool Notation Course.

Issue 30, July 1983
Topics: Leeder Archives, Choreography Copyright, DNB Annual General Meeting, Intensive Notation Discussions at DNB, Intensive Course at Froebel, Shorthand for -- ? George will do it ..., Dai Ai-Lian Reports on Ancient Notations, Book Reports, "Your Move" about Burst Forth, Maria Bessa – Visitor from Portugal, Material for Theses.

Topics: Italy – Traditional Dance Conference, Dance Critics Conference, Mohiniyattam, DNB PAC Meeting, Notators' Organization, Anthropologist or Archeologist, Michelle Groves – New RAD Appointment, Jude Siddall – Active Notator at LODC, LODC Outpost at Surrey University, British Library Aids Move to Surrey, Promotion and Public Relations Advisor, Sacred Dance Publication in Preparation.

Topics: Balanchine Style and Approach to Ballet Technique, ICKL Conference – 1983, First International Notation Congress in Israel, Language of Dance Extension at Surrey, Sponsorship for Notation, Research in Traditional Dance Forms, Corso Di Danza Populare, Budapest Course for GDR Students, A Description (After the Manner of Gertrude Stein) of Carl Hageman Dancing Sestetto, Book Reviews, "Your Move" – It Wasn't Our Fault!, Focus on the Cachucha, Intensive LN Course for Russians.

Topics: A Personal Tribute to Mary Skipping, M.B.E., Stop Press, Application of Labanotation to Animal Movements, Courses, Arizona State University Visit, Copyright Law – Dance, U.K. Centre for Movement Notation, LODC Activities, Notation Report from the RAD, Book Report, Obituary.

Topics: National Inquiry – Notation Centre for the U.K., Systems of Notation, Shadowily, O-Level Dance Syllabus, LODC News, Guest Lecturer, Israel – International Movement Notation Congress, Hungary – Second Soviet Course in Budapest, International Movement Notation Alliance, DNB Activities, Obituary, Stop Press.

Topics: International Notation Conference, Anthropological Considerations, Focus on the Three Systems, People and Places, Staff and Visitors at the LODC, Dance Connection Summer School, New B.A. Course at Surrey, Repertory Course, Book Reviews, "A Vision of Dynamic Space" by Rudolf Laban, Labanotation Scores: An International Bibliography.

Topics: Dance Notation – Copyright Questions, Exhibit of Educational Use of Labanotation in the U.K., "The Ballerinas" Film Includes Cachucha, British Choreographic Excerpts Completed, Early Graham Technique, Revival of Lester Pas de Quatre, A Change in the Air for LODC.

Topics: Lisa Ullmann – A Little Known Notation Exploration, Your Move Course in Norway, Dance Archaeology – The Nuns Revived, Schillinger System of Dance Notation, S.D.R. Bournonville Day, Patrons of the LODC, Nigerian Dance Notation, You Should Know..., Labanotation Institute, RAD Grade Dances Published.

Topics: John Martin (1893-1985), The Labanotation Institute at the University of Surrey, A Mixed Menu at the Vienna Opera, Cunningham Style, Lorenz Senior Citizen Dances, Curriculum Development Project, American Dance Guild Conference in Tucson, DNB Advanced LN Discussions.

Topics: Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest – A Woman of Our Time, No. 17 Holland Park, Trans-Atlantic Whiz-Kid or Now It Can be Told, Labanotation Song (excerpt), The Guests and Ballet for All, A Change for Action! Recording!, Labanotation Institute, Labanotation Institute at Surrey University.

Topics: Editorial, DNB Teachers Certification Course, NRCD Weekend Courses for Teachers,
U.K. News, International News, Transcribing Traditional Dances of Britain, Study of Dance Conference 4: Choreography – Principles and Practice, Jooss, Leeder, Ullmann Articles, Notation Systems Compared, Graph Method of Dance Notation, Labanotation Textbook Translations, For Ann Hutchinson, National Resource Centre for Dance Summer School!

Topics: Editorial, Courses 1985/86, The Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Council of Kinetography Laban was Held at Brighton Polytechnic, England from 2nd - 13th August, 1985, U.K. News, International News, Computerized Movement Notation – A Disc Programme for the BBC Model B Microcomputer and Dot Matrix Printer Using Kientography Laban, Advanced Labanotation Textbook, New Dance Notation Book in Preparation, Intermediate/Advanced Course in Labanotation 1986/87.

Topics: The International Council of Kinetography Laban, Reflections on Notation and the GCE 'A' Level Syllabus, A Student's View, My Impressions of Labanotation, Correspondence Course, One Step Ahead, Editor's Notes, Labanotation Score Paper, 8sq/inch, International News, Course Report 4-6 July 1986, Stop Press!, Notation in Brighton Polytechnic, Chelsea School of Human Movement, Review, 16 Dances in 16 Rhythms by Ted Shawn, Intermediate/Advanced Courses in Labanotation, 1986/87

Topics: Editorial, Steering Committee of the Labanotation Institute, October 1986, Obituary, UK News, Resources for Teaching Dance, The Calaban Project, International News, News Release – France, Recent Publication, Labanotation in Spanish, Correction, Labanotation Teacher Certification Course in London, Summer 1987.

Topics: Editorial, Stop Press!, US News, Open Learning Project at North Herts College, Soiree Musicale for Central Ballet, Labanotation Teachers' Certification Course, Press Release, Labanotation at Trent Park, Middlesex Polytechnic, International News, The Colorful Olden Days, Graph Method of Dance Notation, 16 Dances in 16 Rhythms by Ted Shawn, Obituary – Bryce Cobain.

Topics: Editorial, UK News, International Council of Kinetography Laban 1987 Conference, International News Ann Hutchinson Guest writes of her recent visit to the USA, Ann Hutchinson Guest A Visiting Faculty Member at City College, New York, Award by Dance Australia Magazine, The Second International Congress on Movement Notation, Workshop Day.

Topics: Editorial, Courses 1987/88, UK News, The Calaban Project, 'Kinotate': A Dance Notation Package for BBC Microcomputers, International News, Building a Collection, Book Report, The Labanotation Institute Is Planning a Workshop Day, Beyond Performance: Dance Scholarship Today, 10-15 June 1988, Essen, Federal Republic of Germany.

Topics: Labanotation Teachers' Certification Course Froebel Institute College, Roehampton, 16-31 July, 1987, Motif Description and Creative Dance Designing A Teaching Programme for Children (Part I), Courses, Spring 1988, US News, International News, Newcomers at the ICKL Conference, Wanted! Labanotation Institute Logo.

Topics: Labanotation Workshop, UK News, International News, Motif Description and Creative Dance: Designing A Teaching Programme for Children (Part II), ICKL Conference, 1987, Additions to the Library, The Nijinsky Project – The Score of "Faune", Ann Hutchinson Guest, Claudia Jeschke, Nijinsky's Score, Trial of the Movement Sequences, A Recording of the Music, A Separate Book.

Topics: Joffrey – A Retrospective, Editorial Notes, UK News, The Labanotation Institute, Notation Projects 87/88, Courses in Labanotation 1988/89, Cost of Services of LI (from 1/09/88), Obituary, Oversea News, ANTAM – LN Book in Italian, Chinese Notation System Makes International Debut, Additions to the Library, Notice! Notice! Notice!

Topics: On the Move, DNB Teacher Certification Course, UK News, Professor Sadamu Ohteru, New Resources from the National Resource Centre for Dance, Special Chinese Dance Program, Dance and the Child International Conference, Calaban – A Report on the Activities of 1988, Bedford College of Higher Education Interactive-Video Research Project.

Topics: Editor's Notes, Stop Press, UK News, Overseas News, Report by Reg and Maureen Howlett on 'Kinotate' – The BBC Microcomputer Program for Labanotation, Report on 'Kinotate' (1), Report on 'Kinotate' (2), UK Institutions and Notation, Notation at Chelsea School of Human Movement (Brighton Polytechnic), Notation in West Sussex Institute of Higher Education (Dance Courses), Notation at the University of Surrey, Notation at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, Documented Historical and Analytical Study of Chinese Ritual and Ceremonial Dance from the Second Millennium BC to the Thirteenth Century, Notation at Birmingham Polytechnic Faculty of Education.

Topics: Editor's Notes, UK News, National Resource Centre for Dance, University of Surrey (NRCD), Jude Siddall – Visiting Lecturer at the University of Washington, Madame Dai Ai-Lian, Advanced Labanotation, The Labanotator, Nijinsky's "Afternoon of a Faun", Notation at Middelsex Polytechnic, Notation at Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, ICKL Conference Proceedings, 1987, Wanted!! Pre 1985 ICKL Conference Proceedings, Manual Basico de Cinetografia Laban, Limon-Based Modern Dance Technique, RAD – Labanotation of the New Major Syllabus, Ballet Center Work, The Labanotation Teachers' Certification Course in London, Summer 1990.

Topics: Official Opening of National Resource Centre for Dance, UK News, Natural Movement Archives, Natural Movement Archives, Black Dance Development Trust, Calaban, Publications, The Labanotation Teachers' Certification Course in London, Summer 1990.

Topics: A Tribute to Daphne Tribe, Bournonville Unknown Choreography Project, Europe's First Professor of Dance, Notation at Crewe and Alsager College of High Education, Language of Dance Introduced in Dance School, Language of Dance Courses, December Language of Dance Cours in London, 1953 Discussions on Dynamics, LabanWriter, Promotion for Janos Fugedi, 6th International Movement Notation Alliance Conference, 'Coming Home' Education Pack, Dance Studies, Volume 12, Njijnsky - Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un Faune, Recently Published, Addition to the Library, Stop-Press.

Topics:  L'Apres-midi d'un Faune, Nijinsky – As Revealed Through His Notation System and Score of "Faune", Nijinsky's Faune – Progress Report, Nijinsky's Faune – Successful Revivals, Nijinsky Centenary Commemorations, Visit to Russia in March 1990, Rudolf Laban – An Introduction to His Work and Influence, Advance Notice – Dance Research Conference Dance and European Modernism 1900-1939.

Topics: The Board of Directors, staff and friends of the Dance Notation Bureau Salute Ann Hutchinson Guest, Founder, on the Occasion of Our 50th Anniversary, Dance Notation Bureau's 50th Anniversary, Labanotation in China, The 1990 Hong Kong International Dance Conference, I.M.N.A. 6th International Conference June 1990 Reconstructing from a Score: Who Are we? What Do we Do?, The Lims Conference, DNB Teacher Certification Course, Australia Colleges Work Together on Labanotation Projects, The Language of Dance Summer School, 5th Hong Kong International Dance Conference 15-28 July 1990, Report by Stephanie Jordan, UK Register of Labanotation, Soda Lake Resource Materials, Volunteers at the LI, News Items.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Motif Notation - How Did It Start

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu and Charlotte Wile – January 14, 2016


Mei and Charlotte are very intrigued by Ann Hutchinson Guest's article "Early Development and Publications in Kinetography Laban/Labanotation," which was published in the DNB Library News Volume 10 Number 1.  We approached Ann again and also Valerie Preston-Dunlop, two pioneers in Motif Notation, regarding how Motif Notation started.  Each provided insightful information. 


MOTIF NOTATION – A HISTORY

By Ann Hutchinson Guest

Motif Notation, originally called Motif Writing, is a system for graphically recording movement concepts using symbols derived from Labanotation.  The need to allow freedom in the performance of a movement concept, for instance the choice of any direction, any part of the body, any kind of transference of weight, etc. led to establishing additional symbols not found in Labanotation.

My personal need for such freedom arose after I had published two children’s books using the structured, three-line Labanotation staff.  Having spent two winters in Europe observing the teaching of dance to children in different countries, I produced Primer for Dance, Book One which was followed by Book Two.  In 1959 I tried out Book One while teaching a group of five year-old children at the 92nd Street YMHA.  Each child had a book to take home which delighted the parents, especially the fathers who reportedly commented “Now I can see that dance is not all airy-fairy; it has form, structure!”  During the first two sessions I did not refer to the book, but put basic signs on the board, the children trying out the movements indicated.  Thus they were familiar with the signs when they came to using the book.

It was when I started drafting ideas for Book Three in this series that I suddenly realized - this was all wrong!  Children want to move, to try out their own movement ideas.  At age five they do not have the physical coordination or experience to “step forward on the right foot on count one, step to the side on the left foot on count two” and so on.  While children pick up the elements of Labanotation easily enough, before long the structured movement patterns become too much.  Laban had been strongly against children being taught notation because he saw it as inhibiting their creativity.  In contrast, I believed that they should encounter notation early on, it was a matter of how it is presented to them.  Had Laban developed Motif Notation and seen the results, I am sure he would have had a very different attitude.

At the International Council ofKinetography Laban (ICKL) conference in 1961, I spoke to my colleagues about my need to use the symbols ‘out of context’, as I called it.  They could not imagine what I was talking about, and, meeting that attitude, I found it difficult to explain.  However, within the next few years Valerie Preston-Dunlop began using the individual symbols during her courses on Laban’s Modern Educational Dance for physical education teachers.  It was one of these teachers who suggested the name Motif Writing.  In 1967 Valerie published Readers in Kinetography, Series B, Motif Writing for Dance.   In 1971 I was invited by Keith Lester to provide a course on movement exploration and analysis for the Teacher Training College at the Royal Academy of Dancing.  For this course I used the Motif symbols and found an increasing need to develop them further.  I had previously been in touch occasionally with Valerie in discussing symbols, but by then she had become much involved with other things and was no longer interested.  As there was no appropriate textbook available, each week I produced sheets for the RAD students.  By the end of the second year I had the makings of a book.  Thinking to give it the catchy title Your Move, to interest the students, it was published in 1983 as Your Move – A New Approach to the Study of Movement and Dance.  Use of this book as a textbook for our Language of Dance® (LOD) training courses made us aware of where it needed revision.  The revised edition, for which Tina Curran was co-author, came out in 2008.  It is currently being translated into Spanish and Japanese.

Everyone welcomed the advent of Motif Notation because use of the symbols seemed so simple and self-evident.  It was commonly thought that no rules were required -  you performed the movement stated and then went on to the next.  With different people using Motif symbols in different contexts, this openness soon became a problem.  In addition to the organization established in the Your Move book, a very comprehensive book on the subject by Charlotte Wile, working closely with Ray Cook and with me, is nearing completion*.

Motif Notation is used as a prescriptive tool, the movement indications being open to being realized physically according to the reader’s choice.  Motif is also used as a descriptive tool in observing and identifying the main features in movement sequences.


Because it stems from root actions, that is, the basic building blocks of which all movement is made, Motif Notation is applicable to all styles of dance, indeed, to all forms of movement from swimming to acrobatics to ice skating, etc.  It is used productively by participants of all age levels and skills.  Used in conjunction with a first exploration of movement, the visual symbols provide a valuable introduction to dance/movement literacy.  In LOD Motif usage also incorporates terminology that is clear, logical and as universally-based as possible.

*Note from Mei: Charlotte Wile's Motif Notation book Moving About was already published in 2010.  




MOTIF WRITING

By Valerie Preston-Dunlop

The idea came to me for a new version of Laban’s notation the year that he died 1958, a version that allowed for structured improvisation since that was one method of choreography that was increasingly prevalent. I consulted him and he replied, as he often did, “You do it”.  

I had experience of using the notation in new ways from 1947/8 when Warren Lamb and I were sent into Pilkington’s tile factory to assist Laban in his analysis of the workers’ movement patterns on the power press machines. My task was to write the women’s movement in notation and that was not at all straightforward.  The prime question was “where was centre”? from which all directions might be judged. Centre was not in any of  the places centre normally is for a dancer. For the worker it was the centre of her work area about a foot or so in front of her waist with her press, her handle, her pedal, her conveyor belt, her pile of sand and her stick situated in relation to that centre. From there she judged all directions. Was I writing exactly what her body parts did or how she conceived of what she was doing?  So for me the distinction between intention and action raised an issue for a movement notation as early as 1948.

Using this distinction became a norm for my writing since much of my dance work was creative of the structured improvisation type.  I recall using intention in writing the Transversal 7-rings card for Laban’s 70th birthday celebrations, 1949, he having just ‘found’ these 7 ring families and wanted the Laban diaspora  to know what they were.  I recall a letter of utter confusion coming over the pond from Ann Hutchinson since clearly what I had written could not be danced. No, but it could be intended and the dancer’s technique and understanding of how to embody directional instructions ‘for the body as a whole’ would enable him to find the phrase. That is what Laban wanted and that is what I wrote. I understood Ann’s frustration completely.

Glancing through old letters I found one from Laban dated 1953 that related to my helping him with his book Principles of Dance and Movement Notation. His mind was on quite other topics at the time particularly movement observation of behaviour and personality so he leant fairly heavily on my assistance. The action stroke appears in that book indicating that a flow of movement is occurring. Ann’s first edition of Labanotation came out at mich the same time and I have her gift to me of a signed copy in my study.

In 1958 the question I put to Laban was not out of the blue but simply one step further in developing a method of writing that accommodated basic creative activity. The idea for Motif Writing was already born but not yet formulated or named.

1962 is the next evidence (in the Laban Guild magazine) I have of how my thinking was developing where I taught a class that uses the basic ideas of Motif Writing without having yet come up with a name ie a simple vertical staff for the whole body into which or onto which symbols for movement intentions or motivations can be written. In 1963 my Handbook for Modern Educational Dance was published although I recall writing the first draft in 1959. As is common knowledge it sold widely not only in the UK. The text is packed with descriptions of structured improvisation. The connection between the 1962 class and this book is obvious. I was introducing people to the idea that notation could serve their purpose as teachers of creative Modern Educational Dance.

By 1963 Paddy Macmaster started to work for me as I opened Beechmont Movement Study Centre. Together we worked on what was to become Motif Writing, a name suggested by Paddy.  I published a booklet An Introduction to Kinetography Laban in 1963 introducing the ideas of Motif Writing and the 2nd edition, tidied up and better produced by Macdonald and Evans, came out in 1966. Classwork documents exist of the courses we both led, and a correspondence course we started for overseas students, dated 1966/7.  Readers In Kinetography Series A, writing short dances using the full notation, came out in 1966 and Series B, writing dances in Motif Writing, came out in 1967.   One of our criteria was that we should only introduce new signs if absolutely essential. For example it was essential to formulate the new sign to jump, and to distinguish twisting a body part and rotating the whole body.

Dance was at that time in the Physical Education departments of schools and colleges with Laban’s ideas being integrated into not only dance but other PE activities.  I was asked to produce a Reader on the popular Educational Gymnastics, creativity on apparatus, that had started at I.M.Marsh College in the UK and spread to colleges in the USA, Canada and Australia.  Paddy and I started to write it and it soon became apparent that new signs and symbols would have to be created. I decided against it and the preparatory materials sit in my archive uncompleted.  By now ICKL had started and I was in the unenviable position of arbitrating between two warring Titans, Ann Hutchinson and Albrecht Knust both of whom I knew well.  As the systems developed the ideas that had come up in Motif, such as whether a sign indicates motion or destination, found their way into developments of the full notation.

About the same time I was approached by Cambridge University, who had somehow heard of Motif Writing, to help with a test on ambidextrousness for pilots, it being judged that decidedly right or left handed pilots were safer in a crisis than those who had a second or two to chose which hand to use. Although not really my scene I collaborated and wrote all manner of daily activities, threading a needle, a golf swing, cutting paper with scissors… It taught me a great deal about movement and what our notation systems can and can’t, do and don’t write. Shortly after I was asked by London County Council to use notation to plan the work schedule for school cleaners, emptying waste paper baskets, cleaning black boards, sweeping corridors et al.   The idea of Motif Writing was getting out of hand and I declined. The next request was from a drama school where emotional and narrative intentions were to be included. I declined again for new signs would have to be invented and I was not going in that direction. 

So for me Motif Writing serves its purpose as the creative sister system to Laban’s notation essentially structural in nature and open to interpretation. Of course Ann Hutchinson has taken it in a further direction in her Language of Dance literature where I decided not to go, but that is her choice. At Trinity Laban our postgraduate Choreological Studies dancers use Motif Writing’s principles primarily to help them clarify what is structurally significant in their created materials. They do not learn it as a system. We call that part of their writing simply ‘symbology’.  It is taught by Melanie Clarke, a first rate notator and director from the score, so any student who wants to can learn more from her.