Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Minutes for the Theory Meeting, June 2003 (Posting #1)

Submitted by Charlotte Wile (scribe) - December 18, 2003

Following is a summary of one of the topics discussed at an informal in-house theory meeting held at the Dance Notation Bureau in June 2003. The meeting was attended by Sandra Aberkalns, Ray Cook, Ilene Fox, Ann Hutchinson Guest, Mira Kim, Sheila Marion, Valarie Mockabee, and Leslie Rotman.

  • Middle Level Shifts 
  • "An Action", "Any Action
Presently, in Labanotation the sign in Ex. 1a indicates a shift in middle level. In Motif Notation Ex. 1a indicates a shift in any level.

How should a shift in any level be indicated in Labanotation? One idea is to have Ex. 1a indicate any level. A dot could be added, as in Ex. 1b, to specify a middle level shift.

Another idea is to have Ex. 1a indicate a middle level shift (i.e. to continue the presently accepted usage). A shift in any level would be indicated by adding an ad. lib sign, as in Ex. 1c. Discussion participants liked this solution better.

The discussion continued with a clarification of the meaning of the ad. lib sign in connection with direction signs. An ad lib. sign inside the direction sign, as in Ex. 1d and 1e, refers to level. An ad lib. sign next to the direction sign says “more or less.” For example, Ex. f indicates “more or less forward middle.” Discussion participants were not sure what Ex. 1g) means.

In correspondence concerning the preparation of this posting, Ann Guest added the following postscript:

“Can we get Motif and LN to line up on this matter [the indication of middle level shifts]? Does it matter? Should this be a difference between Motif and LN which people have to learn?

An Action, Any Action. We already have the problem that the plain vertical line (action stroke) means ‘an appropriate action’ in LN, but for most people it means ‘any action’ in Motif. It was my effort to line these meanings up that led to adding the ad lib sign at the bottom of the action stroke to indicate ‘any’ [Ex. 2a]. This left the plain vertical line [Ex. 2b] to mean ‘an appropriate action, appropriate to the context’. There has been much worry about this. Will Asian dancers interpret ‘appropriate’ differently from a ballet dancer, a Hungarian folk dancer, etc. etc? It is not something that I easily pinned down.

More and more we are facing instances where the cross-over into LN from Motif needs to be smooth, clear, etc. I’ll be interested in other people’s thoughts!”

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