Submitted by Ann Hutchinson Guest - August 28, 2001
Existing Labanotation Rule:
When the chest/upper body turns (twists), directions for head inclinations are taken from the front of the shoulder line. In 1a) the head inclines toward the left-forward-diagonal direction.
When written with white pins, degree of head rotation is determined from the shoulder line, i.e., the front of the chest. In 1b) the chest twists 1/8 to the left. The 1/8 turn of the head results in the face looking stage left.
Similarly in 1c) the 1/8 twist of the chest to the left followed by a 1/8 turn of the head to the right results in the face looking to the audience.
Need in Classical Ballet
In classical ballet where orientation of head and épaulement to the audience is important, and where minor degrees of rotation are common, the need is to use the original facing direction for the performer (usually the audience) as the zero point from which the white pin rotations are judged.
In 2a), according to the standard rule, the head will end up facing 1/16th to the right of stage front.
What is needed is a Stance Key for head rotations. With such a key, 2b) will end with the head facing 1/8 to the right in relation to the audience. In the case of 2c) it will also be facing 1/8 to the right; this is also true and easier to read when both movements happen at the same time. In 2d) the head will end facing 1/16th to the right. This end result is much easier to read and to determine.
Stance Key for Head Rotations
Ex. 3a) is the proposed Stance Key for head rotations. The logic for this key is as follows: Ex. 3b) is the Stance Key Directions, based on the Standard Key. The composite rotation sign, 3c), shows the unrotated state for the head (the natural forward-looking stance). An alternative statement can be that of 3d), which may be the result of either of 3e). For head rotation, the stance zero point (the forward facing white pin) within the diamond (spatial retention) can be the key needed. When placed next to a head rotation it can be simplified to 3f).