Wednesday, January 23, 2019

LOD and Tea - an YouTube Channel for Motif Notation

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu -- January 31, 2019

Beth Megill, a certified Language of Dance® specialist, hosts LOD and Tea, an YouTube Channel discussing Motif Notation and Language of Dance® (LOD) concepts for dancers, choreographers, and other movement artists. Beth continues to add new clips to her channel periodically. In each video she emphasizes one topic only. It is fairly short, four to six minutes per clip. You can subscribe to her channel here:

Each video features different topic (listed by uploading date):

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Chinese Edition - Elementary Labanotation: A Study Guide 初级拉班舞谱学习指引

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu -- January 22nd, 2019

Wendy Chu (朱孟青), a dance lecturer of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, undertook the challenge of translating the Elementary Labanotation Study Guide into Chinese.  The book was written by Muriel Topaz and published by the Dance Notation Bureau in 1996.  This textbook is used for the Elementary Labanotation Course in addition to Ann Hutchinson Guest's Labanotation.

The translation project began in 2000 when Tom Brown, then chairman of the Hong Kong Dance Alliance, applied for funding to translate the Study Guide into Chinese. Wendy Chu stepped up since she was already teaching Labanotation in Chinese, and began translating the content on her own time.  Chu used her students for feedback, giving them one chapter at a time and making necessary changes based on their comments. Rayuan Tseng (曾瑞媛), Chu's classmate from The Ohio State University graduate school, also used Chu's translation in the early stage and provided her with additional feedback and changes.

The Chinese Edition is available to download for free (or with a donation) at:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mobiles Inspired by Labanotation Symbols

Submitted by Jordan Isadore and Mei-Chen Lu -- October 11, 2018.

Jordan Isadore is a dancer/choreographer originally from Northern California. He received his B.F.A. in Dance from California State University Long Beach in 2009. Upon relocating to New York, Isadore has worked with choreographers Alexandra Pirici, Christopher Williams, Andrea Miller, Sydney Skybetter, and Jennifer Edwards.  Most recently he’s worked with Shen Wei Dance Arts, and has performed at the David H. Koch Theater, Mariinsky Theater, throughout China, South America and Europe. His own work has been presented at The Museum of Arts & Design, 92nd Street Y, Joe’s Pub, Madame Tussauds, and The American Dance Festival. 

Reimagining movement through mobiles. Taking dance movement that has been recorded using Labanotation, he returns these movements to their kinetic roots through mobiles made of stained glass and mixed metals. As a trained dancer he was introduced to Labanotation in college and instantly had an infatuation with it, however placed it aside as he focused on a career as performer. Now that he is planing his retirement from performing he started to investigate his other interests, most of which are design, home decor, and crafting. When he was looking at current trends in home decor and design he noticed that everything was leaning towards minimalist geometric shapes, all he could see was Labanotation. He loved the idea of notating three-dimensional movement, and the two-dimensional notations that are produced. He interpret these two-dimensional symbols into three-dimensional objects and suspend them into space. The movement of the mobile generates glimmers of the original notation, while creating new dances with each rotation.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Legal Problems regarding DNB publications

Submitted by Ann Hutchinson Guest - June 15, 2018

Legal Problems

Following John Martin’s announcement on the forming of the Dance Notation Bureau we had a letter from Universal Publishers stating that we must in no way infringe on their copyright.  The background to this was the experience that Irma Bartenieff and Irma Betz had in 1937 in publishing their book of Studies in Laban’s Dance Script.  They were not allowed to give any explanation on the meaning of the symbols, that information was given as a leaflet insertion with Universal Publishers’ copyright.

In 1940 we replied that our activities did not infringe on their copyright.  This limitation did pose problems for publishing a textbook in the future.   We sought information from Laban but he was unable to help.  All that our investigations produced was the strange information that the copyright had been requisitioned by the American Army when in Vienna after the war and then resided in Washington D.C.  I fear that all correspondence concerning this no longer exists in the DNB files.  As with the letter from Ninette de Valois expressing interest in having Labanotation at the Royal Ballet School (a very valuable document) these documents may have been turfed out when Herb Kummel took over as director of the DNB, his attitude being that nothing of the past was of value.

Because at that time a copyright extended for 27 years and then had to be renewed, in 1954 we were hoping that Laban would not be aware of this and the copyright would expire.  He did become aware of it and hastily put out a publication Principles of Dance and Movement Notation by Rudolf Laban.  It was so full of mistakes that it was rapidly withdrawn.  I happen to have two copies of this publication.  In it he stated:
This book is copyrighted in the United 
States of America and in all countries
signatory to the Berne Convention.  No
part of it may be reproduce in English
or in translation unless my written
permission and that of my publisher has
been obtained

                                 RUDOLF LABAN                
N.B. The signs for the notation of chore-
Graphic or other movements may, with due
Acknowledgement, be freely used. – R.L.

In 1956 Laban published a more impressive hard cover book with the same title published by Macdonald & Evans.  It contained the same notice as above.   In it we found signs and usages that were unfamiliar to us.  Laban considered it his system, he did not need to confer with anyone else.  However, in the early 1930s,  he had given the system to the world, he was no longer interested in developing it, nor did he establish a body to oversee its development.  Were it not for Albrecht Knust, who made it his life work, Sigurd Leeder and Ann Hutchinson with her colleagues at the Dance Notation Bureau, the system could well have died away.  More than once Laban was keen to take it all back.

My first Labanotation textbook was published in 1954 by New Directions.  How did we cope with the copyright situation?  The copyright statement was as follows:

Copyright 1954 by The Dance Notation Bureau, Inc.  “Alphabet of Basic  Symbols,” Copyright 1954 by Rudolf Laban. 

At the back of the book these appendices were given: 

Alphabet of Basic Symbols
Copyright 1954 by Rudolf Laban

Variations in the drawing of certain symbols as used by some European colleagues have been included in this alphabet in order to facilitate reading scores.  These have been marked “alternate version.”

Following this came:

Glossary of Supplementary Symbols which also gave alternate versions.

In his 1958 Kinetography Laban publications Albrecht Knust  made similar statements.

The 1970 edition of Labanotation, published by Theatre Arts Books gave the following:

Copyright © 1954, 1970 by The Dance Notation Bureau, Inc.  “Alphabet of Basic Symbols” Copyright 1954 by Rudolf Laban.

However, in the pages of Glossary of Symbols (page 499 on) there is no separation.
For the enlarged 2005 edition it states: Copyright ©  2005 by Ann Hutchinson Guest.  The appendices include: A – Alternate Versions.  B – Old Versions.  C – Orthography and Autography.  D – Upper Body Movement.  E – Terminology.

Compiled by Ann Hutchinson Guest on December 8th, 2016.

Friday, November 17, 2017

News About "A Selection from the Sigurd Leeder Heritage," by Ann Hutchinson Guest

Submitted by Ann Hutchinson Guest - November 21, 2017

My book A Selection from the SIGURD LEEDER HERITAGE was published in time for the May 6th opening of the important Leeder Exhibition in Zurich. The book, available from Dance Books*, has a CD providing music for each of the Dance Studies. The next step is the production of a DVD illustrating the Leeder style for each of the Studies. This task is being undertaken by a Committee of former Swiss Leeder students, headed by Evelyn Rigotti.

The need to find younger dancers capable of mastering the difficult, less usual steps as well as embodying the wide range of movement qualities, was a challenge. The committee has been working on several of the Studies with three experienced dancers and sought my approval of the results. My October visit to Evelyn’s studio in Wattwil proved very rewarding. I was able to coach the dancers in certain aspects that they had missed, they were rewardingly responsive. They understood that arriving at a position, creating a picture, was not the aim; the movement just happened spatially to end there. Often it was a question of eliminating tension and allowing flow to be dominant.

For the remaining studies that had not yet been taught I worked with Jacqueline Keller, a slim 60 year old still moving beautifully. I would show her – as best I could – the movements and then, with her ability to read the notation, we checked through the score for clarification of specific details. With her wonderful positive attitude she was a joy to work with.

The Sigurd Leeder Exhiubition moves from Zurich to Appenzell near to Herisau where Leeder lived and taught during his last decades. The opening vernissage is to be on December 9th; on the 10th I will be giving a talk about the book, how it developed from my 1936-8 classroom notations which I had revived in recent years to the delight of present day students. They loved the range of space encompassed and the variety of dynamic qualities – very different from present-day classroom techniques. Aware that Leeder’s work is now so little known, I undertook to contribute to future generations by publishing a selection of contrasting Studies with a historical introduction, information on the dance curriculum at the Leeder Dance School, and with study and performance word notes to accompany each Study..


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Jean Kirsten - A New Exhibit

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - September 23, 2017

Following are photos of Jean Kirsten's new exhibit in Hamburg, Germany (September 2017).

To see larger im
ages,  go here.

For other postings about Jean's work, see:

    Movement in a space.

    Installation with models from Platonic solids, Laban's constructions and a wall drawing.

    Some examples from Jean Kersten's series "Inkrustations-Serie" (each from 2017, cotton or other fabric, 80 x 80 cm).

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Labanotation Ballet Readings

Submitted by Mei-Chen Lu and Charlotte Wile - June 10, 2017
Facsimiles prepared by by Darcy Rile

We thought you might enjoy the following ballet materials from our archives. We will be adding further readings in the future.


Coppelia, choreographed by Arthur Michel Saint-Leon
  - "Bolero,[notator?]
  - "Dawn," notated by Carl Wolz (1962)
  - "Scottish Dance," notated by Christine Smith [1967?]
  - "Follies: Galop Final," notated by Allan Mile (1970)

Giselle, choreographed by Jules Perrot/Jean Coralli
 - "Three Themes," notated by Odette Blum (1966)

Raymonda, choreographed by Marius Petipa

- "Variation I," notated by Ann Hutchinson (1961)

Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Marius Petipa

- "Bluebird Girl's Solo," notated by Ann Hutchinson (1963)

Swan Lake, choreographed by Lev Ivanov

- "Les Cygnets," notated by Ann Hutchinson (1964)

Le Carnaval, choreographed by Michel Fokine

  - "Chopin," notated by Carl Wolz [1962?]
  - "Papillons," notated by Ann Hutchinson [1961)

Carmina Burana, choreographed by John Butler
- "Love Flies" from "Court of Love," [notator?] [1959, 1970]

Valse Brillante, choreographed by Rose Lorenz

 - [notator?] [1959, 1970]