Submitted by Charlotte Wile - August 31, 2007
[Following are minutes for the Open Theory Meeting held at the Dance Notation Bureau, March 5, 2007. The minutes were written by Charlotte Wile.]
Present: Ray Cook, Mei-Chen Lu, Jen Garda, Mira Kim, Charlotte Wile.
1. Discuss meeting procedures.
2. More questions from Fred Bolder (responding to DNB Notators posting).
3. Charlotte's revision of "altitude indications."
4. If there is time – The sign for "top of the head."
The meetings will usually be on the first Monday of each month, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Charlotte will be in charge of taking minutes. If possible, the meetings will be video-taped. A DVD of the meeting and a copy of the minutes will be given to Doris for the DNB archives.
The group decided that most future meetings should be open to all Motif Notation and Labanotation practitioners. However, if the agenda for a meeting includes a sensitive topic that should only be discussed “in house,” that meeting will be only for DNB notators and invited guests.
Charlotte will e-mail the CMAlist and LabanTalk about upcoming meetings. The first notice will be as follows:
Periodically, notators at the Dance Notation Bureau meet to discuss Laban Movement Notation (Labanotation and Motif Notation) theory, as well as other issues pertaining to the clarification and development of the system. These informal get-togethers provide a wonderful opportunity for us to share our work, ask questions, and learn from each other.
We would like to open these meetings up to include all interested notators, restagers, and notation teachers in the Laban community. They are held at the Dance Notation Bureau, 151 West 30th Street, Suite 202, New York, NY 10001. The next meeting will be Monday, April 2, 2007, 10:30 am -12:30 pm. After the meeting participants are welcome to have lunch with the Bureau's staff (everyone brings their own lunch).
If you would like to come to the April 2 meeting, please e-mail me at
. Also, please let me know if you cannot come but would like to be on the mailing list for future meetings.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope you will be able to attend.
Coordinator, Open Theory Meetings
Before each meeting Charlotte will also e-mail the list of previous or potential participants to ask which topics they would like included in the agenda. Topics for the meetings will reflect the needs and interests of the people who will be attending.
Fred Bolder Postings
The group discussed the following three postings which had previously been placed on the Theory Bulletin Board:
Posting # 1 (From Fred Bolder)
Questions About Turns and Paths
Submitted by Fred Bolder – February 5, 2007
I have started learning Labanotation and I have a few questions about turns and paths.
Does picture 1a means the same as picture 1b? If no, what is the difference?
Does the length of the vertical bows matter for the pictures 1a, 1c and1d?
In other words:
1a. Stepping forward with simultaneous turning to the left. The step and turn start at the same time and they end at the same time.
1c. Stepping forward. The left turn starts just before the end of the step. The step ends just after the start of the turn.
1d. Stepping forward. The left turn starts halfway the step. The step ends halfway the turn.
Are the pictures 1a and 1b the correct way to notate 1e?
Does picture 2a means the same as picture 2b? If no, what is the difference?
In circular path examples I have never seen both forward as well as side movements. Is picture 2b a correct notation?
Posting #2 (DNB Notators Respond to Fred's Posting #1 above)
Response to Fred Bolder's Questions
Submitted by DNB notators – February 23, 2007
Following are answers to Fred Bolder's questions in his Feb 5, 2006 posting.
- Question: Does Ex. 1a in Fred's posting mean the same as Ex. 1b?
Answer: Ex 1a is a pivot turn, stepping forward with swiveling. Ex. 1b indicates stepping onto the arc of a circle, as in 1e, with no swiveling.
- Question: Does the length of the vertical bows matter in Ex. 1a, 1c, and 1d?
Answer: Ex. 1a and 1c both indicate a full overlap of the turn and the step. However, while Ex. 1a is theoretically correct, the convention is to write as in 1c. Ex. 1c and 1d also have the same meaning, but 1c would be the preferred way to draw the indication.
- Question: Does Ex. 2a mean the same thing as Ex. 2b? Is 2b the correct way to indicate a circular path using forward as well as side movements?
Answer: What is written in 2a and 2b is not possible as written because one cannot travel on a path when stepping in place (count 3). In both examples there is insufficient information in the notation for what we think you are trying to convey.
One way to show a circular path produced with steps in different directions is shown below.
Posting #3 (Fred Responds to Posting #2 above)
Response to the DNB Notators' Posting
Submitted by Fred Bolder – March 1, 2007
Here is my response to the answers in the DNB notators' February 23, 2007 posting.
Thank you very much for the answers. Most things are clear to me now, but I am not sure if I fully understand the last example. I have no explanation of the big dot symbols, but I have seen those symbols before in a folk dance notation. Here is my description of the example.
You are standing with the left side of your body in the direction of the path. Step with your left foot forward (bend knees) and simultaneously turn left until you are facing the direction of the path, so the turn will be 1/4+1/6 to the left. Step with your right foot (on your toes) to the side and simultaneously turn right until you are facing against the direction of the path, so the turn will be 1/2-1/6 to the right. Step with your left foot to the side and simultaneously turn left until the left side of your body is in the direction of the path, so the turn will be 1/4+1/6 to the left. The end position related to the path is the same as the start position, so the sum of all turns should be 1/2 to the left.
1/4 + 1/6 - 1/2 + 1/6 + 1/4 + 1/6 = 3/6 = 1/2
Is all that correct?
I was a little confused by the answer: What is written in 2a and 2b is not possible as written because one cannot travel on a path when stepping in place (count 3).
In my book "Dance Studies Vol. 9, 1985" there is on page 42 the following example.
I have also seen examples with sideward movements along a circular path with the steps Side - Close (In place) - Side - Close (In place).
Do you have to travel during every step on a circular path?
Perhaps my book has some wrong examples or I misunderstand them, but it is hard to get Labanotation books in The Netherlands.
[A couple of days after sending the previous posting, Fred sent the following addendum.]
I'm sorry, I have forgotten to write something in my previous response.
I now understand that my pictures 2a and 2b are very strange and it was not what I was trying to notate. The pictures 2a and 2b are different because on count 2 of picture 2a you step on a completely different path that is a sort of perpendicular to the previous path. I think that you don't turn on count 2 of picture 2b, because you have to follow the whole path and when there is no traveling in the direction of the path there is also no turn because of the path. I think that in picture 2b you are already at the end of the whole path after the first step, because you don't travel in the direction of the path on the counts 2 and 3 (you keep facing the line of the path). I think this is what you mean with your answer. I think that in picture 2b it has the same effect if you put the path symbol just over the first count. I was using the circular path symbol to indicate the total amount of turning during the three steps which is wrong, because you have to follow a path. I try to use Labanotation for ballroom dancing and for some turns it is sometimes easier and faster to read and write the only total amount of turning during the steps. Is there a way to notate this in Labanotation?
I suddenly realise that there is a mistake in my description of your example, because if I understand it well you don't travel in the direction of the path on count 2. That means that the path has no influence on the turn during that count and after the first step you are on half of the path. The turns should be:
Count 1: 1/4 L + 1/4 L(path)
Count 2: 1/2 R
Count 3: 1/4 L + 1/4 L(path)
(I assume that your example has three counts in one measure)
The sum of all turns is:
1/4 + 1/4 -1/2 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 1/2
Is all that correct?
Just for my learning process:
Is it correct to notate multiple sequences like picture 2b (keep facing the line of the path) in one big circular path (instead of the drawn path) over all the sequences?
Reactions to the Postings #1-3
At the meeting for which these minutes are being written (March 5), discussion of posting #1 led to questions about notation in Ex. a-d below.
The group agreed that Ex. b-d have the same meaning. Also, in Ex. a-d there is the same amount of swiveling, and the movement produces a straight path.
The group decided that in the example in posting #2, the notation would have been clearer if all the turns had been to the left.
The group decided to answer posting #3 as follows. (Charlotte wrote to Fred to see if he has the books referred to in the answer. He does not, so Charlotte will scan and e-mail the relevant pages to him.)
Response to Fred Bolder's March 1, 2007 Posting
Submitted by DNB notators – [date will be added]
The answer to your question about focal point indications can be found in Ann Hutchinson Guest, Labanotation, 4th edition, pp. 174-175; Muriel Topaz, Elementary Labanotation (1996), pp. 119-121, 130.
We would be curious to know which references you are using in your studies. A list of the books we usually recommend for people who are studying Labanotation can be found in "Studying Labanotation," located in the left side menu of the DNB web site.
You asked if there is a way to notate turns more easily in ballroom dance. Some people find using focal point indications easier, because they relate to places outside the body. But others prefer writing the total amount of turning during the steps.
Guest, Labanotation, contains further information about notating ballroom dance, e.g., page 382.
Re: Path signs and steps in place. Usually path signs should not be used with steps in place. However, as a convention, in certain situations the path sign can be used with steps in place, as in the example you give. Also, when notating a circular path, steps in place can be included if they are interspersed throughout the path, e.g., step, together, step, together, step. In your example 2b in your first posting, the step in place occurs at the end of the movement. Since that step in place does not contribute to the path, the path sign should end after the second step, as shown below. See pages 168-170 in Guest, Labanotation.
We are confused by your last question "Is it correct to notate multiple sequences like picture 2b........". Do you mean repeat the 3 steps multiple times?
There was not enough time to discuss the last two items on the agenda (Charlotte's revision of altitude indications, and the sign for "top of the head."). These items were deferred for a future meeting.
The next meeting will be April 2, 2007.