Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, August 6, 2007

Minutes for the Open Theory Meeting, August 6, 2007
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - December 10, 2007

[Following are minutes for the Open Theory Meeting held at the Dance Notation Bureau, August 6, 2007. The minutes were written by Charlotte Wile.]

Present: Sandra Aberkalns, Zack Brown, Ray Cook, Jen Garda, Mira Kim, Mei-Chen Lu, Charlotte Wile.

1. Inclusion bows.
2. Facing for thumb side of hand.
3. Generic cartwheel sign.
4. Touching leg gestures.


Zack asked about Ex. 1a, which appears in Guest and Kolff, Advanced Labanotation: Hands, Fingers, p. 51. In the example, the inclusion bow contains action symbols instead of a body part symbol. According to Zack, this usage does not appear elsewhere in the Labanotation texts. He wondered how the notation should be interpreted and what rules should be inferred from this usage.

The group explained that inclusion bows can contain action or other indications, as in the example.

Everyone felt the example was confusing because it was not clear which body part included turning. 

Another question from Zack: In Labanotation (p. 223) it says the inclusion bow is drawn into the column of the part of the body to be included. Using a simple staff, would this mean that in Ex. 2a the arm is included in the chest movement?

Answer from group: No. Unless indicated otherwise, the inclusion bow says to include the next attached body part, which in this case would be the pelvis.

A simple staff would not be used for the type of inclusion indicated in 2a. In order to use the inclusion bow, the staff would need to be extended to create subsidiary coulmns for torso parts, as in 2b.

Ex. 2a is confusing because there is no arm indication to clarify where the arm column is located. However, this would never happen in a score. Once the arm indication is added, it becomes obvious that there is an extended staff, and that the inclusion bow refers to the pelvis (Ex. 2b).

If necessary, a body part sign can be written in an includsion bow to clarify which portion of the body is to be included, as in 2c.


Ray demonstrated a position in a dance by Margaret Morris that Odette Blum is notating (Ex. 3a). The position is notated in Ex. 3b.

Ray: If thumb facings are added to the notation, what directions should be indicated for them?

Most of the group felt the thumb facing should be forward for the right hand and backward for the left hand, with the Standard Cross system of reference understood. (Since the Standard system is understood for the arms, it is also understood for the thumb facing.) Ray felt using a Body Cross might keep the notation from being misread.


The group read the following paper which Charlotte wrote for the discussion.
Proposal for the Sign for Cartwheel Circle Right or Left
The established indications for circular paths are shown in 4a-4i below. (See Guest and Curran, "Your Move," uncorrected preliminary draft, Language of Dance, 2004, [vol. 2], p. 65.)
Ex. 4a is the only indication that contains an ad lib. sign. I [Charlotte] feel it should be revised so it fits in with the other path signs.
For example, one idea is shown in 5a. It contains signs shown in 6a-b, which are indications for “cartwheel” that are given in “Index of Technical Matters and Technical and Non-Technical Papers from the Biennial Conferencences of the International Council of Kinetography Laban”, compiled by Sharon Rowe, Lucy Venable, and Judy Van Zile, electronic version,, p. 51.
The group agreed that it would be useful to change the generic cartwheel sign so it fits in with the rest of the path symbols.

Path signs are derived from turn signs, so the sign for a “cartwheel path right or left” should relate to the sign for “cartwheel turn right or left” (Ex. 7a). The group felt Charlotte’s path sign (Ex. 7b) might work, but that other possibilities should also be explored, such as Ex. 7c-f.

Cartwheel path signs can be used for gestural movements. Are they ever used to depict locomotor paths (paths made by supports)? Ray gave one example: In the musical “Mary Poppins” a dancer actually walks up the sides of the stage.

The difference between turns and paths was discussed. When a body portion turns, it revolves around its central axis. In contrast, an indication for a path says the extremity of a given body portion traces a design.


Mira wanted to clarify the interpretation of Ex. 8a-8f.

Ex. 8a - The foot slides on count one and stays touching during the turns.
Ex. 8b - The foot releases and touches on beats one, two, and three.
Ex. 8c - The foot stays touching throughout the turns. In count three there is rolling through the foot.
Ex. 8d - The foot releases before touching on count three.
Ex. 8e - The foot releases before touching on count three. During count three there is rolling through the foot.
Ex. 8f - Same as Ex. 8c, except the movement in count three is faster.

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