Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teaching Notation

Teaching Notation
Contributed by Charlotte Wile, et al. - July 21, 2006

[Following is a reprint of discussions that took place on LabanTalk, CMAList, and in private e-mails, April - May 2006].

Discussion 1
Charlotte Wile and Linda Nutter
Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
April 14, 2006

We are investigating current uses of notation in our community. To help us, we would appreciate your response to the following questions.

1. Is Labanotation, Motif Notation, or other Laban based notation taught in your school or institution? If so, which script(s) is taught?
2. Why do you think that particular script (and not others) is taught there?
3. What do you think is the difference between Labanotation and Motif Notation?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Discussion 2
S. B.
April 14, 2006

Hello my dears, here are my answers . . .

1. No
2. -
3. Labanotation would take a lifetime of patience for me to use with any accuracy - I was not blessed with the blood pressure for details. Motif writing, I can get my body-mind around and actually put to use (ie. used it just yesterday in documenting my own movement - who knew it would actually stay with me?).

Discussion 3
Rhonda Ryman
Associate Professor
University of Waterloo
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] The University of Waterloo Dance Program was phased out as of 1996. From the time I came to UW in 1975 until its closing, Labanotation and Motif Writing were offered in our curriculum.

[Question #2] Laban and Benesh Notation were both available. On our BA degree, 2 term courses in a notation system were required. I found that certain students gravitated to one system over the other. Likewise, within the Laban system, certain students preferred Structured notation over Motif description. The students most interested in composition/choreography and improvisation tended to prefer the less structured more conceptual approach of Motif Writing, as a springboard to movement exploration. Students in teaching or history preferred the ability to read and write syllabus work or repertoire.

[Question #3] I see both [Labanotation and Motif Notation] as wonderful tools for developing a critical, analytical eye for movement. Motif tends to be more open-ended, fostering interpretation and imagination. Structured notation requires more spatial/temporal precision.

Discussion 4
Nina Nelson,
Professor and Chair
Western Michigan University
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] Motif notation is included in the course "Introduction to Laban Movement Analysis."

[Question #2] We are trying to provide our students a useful tool and language for them that can be applied in different contexts within our curriculum and their artistic lives.

[Question #3] Labanotation is a very detailed approach to recording movement. The learning curve is steep to master this form of recording movement. Motif notation is a type of "shorthand" and seems to be more immediately incorporated into the students' dance lives.

Discussion 5
Madeleine Scott,
Director, Professor, School of Dance
Ohio University
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] Ohio University offers motif notation. Our BFA is in choreography and performance. Motif is taught for use as a creative and pedagogical tool.

[Question #2 &3] Labanotation is descriptive. Motif is prescriptive. All too sketchy an answer - apologies, but its best to get some sort of answer to you.

Discussion 6
Jimmyle Listenbee
[San José City College]
April 14, 2006

While neither Labanotation nor motif notation is taught at San José City College (CA), we are currently applying and exposing students to motif in Arts Appreciation, Ballet, Modern, and Ballroom classes. I myself rely heavily on the body-as-a-whole staff for Ballroom, using the spaces immediately L & R of the center line as default support columns, with everything else coded in reference to this left/right convention.

I think Labanotation is an exhaustive, Laban-based grammar of the majority of possible spatial & temporal aspects of movement and its notation, with strict and precise grammatical rules aimed at consistent interpretation. I think motif notation is a simplified dialect of the same semiotic system, with relaxed rules, a more fluent boundary for incorporating new symbols, and more freedom of interpretation allowed in both its writing and reading.
Good questions! Thanks for asking.

Discussion 7 
Charlotte Wile
Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
April 14, 2006

[Responding Jimmyle's comments in Discussion 6]

In your comments you said you "rely heavily on the body-as-a-whole staff for Ballroom, using the spaces immediately L & R of the center line as default support columns, with everything else coded in reference to this left/right convention."

I am not familiar with this method of notating. Sounds like you've invented a whole new sub-script that combines Labanotation and Motif Notation. Very interesting. I'd love to hear more about it. Have you tried using it for other movement besides Ballroom dance?

Discussion 8 
Jimmyle Listenbee
[San José City College]
April 14, 2006

[Responding to Charlotte Wile's comments in Discussion 10]

It isn't anything new, except maybe for assuming Labanotation convention of midline-adjacent columns defaulting to support in a motif context. The little 'miniature staff'/'body-as-a-whole' sign is in Your Move (1983 ed.) p. 164. I widen it, like a regular staff. Lucy Venable pointed out to me back in 1997 how I could use this method to switch back and forth like this. I use it all the time in my own notes.

Discussion 9
Greg Halloran
Director, Center for Dance
University of Idaho
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] At the University of Idaho dance program we teach a semester long course in Labanotation, which starts with a half semester on Motif Description. The Motif is used both as an introduction to the structured form and as a tool for teaching and choreographing. We also teach a semester long course in Labanalysis which used the direction symbols for space studies.

[Question #1] First reason is that Labanotation and Motif is universally adaptable to all movement forms. Second is that the faculty member (myself) is certified in teaching Labanotation (with Mitic [Motif] in the training course) and directs works via Labanotation. Students can understand the process of directing through the class the participate in a reconstruction. Labanotation also teaches an understanding of movement principals, motivations, actions, etc. It helps the students in their technique studies here.

[Question #3] To me Motif is a simpler, less structured form of Labanotation which can be learned quicker, gives more possibilities for movement explorations, playing with the concerts of Labanotation in improvisation and choreography, and a nice way to teach basic movement principals. Labanotation is also good for style analysis, choreographic research, and movement principals but has less freedom for improvisation and choreography. I believe both are equal and valid and dancers should train in both.

Discussion 10 
Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb
[Dance Department and the Center for Spirituality and Healing]
University of MN in Mpls/St. Paul
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] Motif is briefly touched on in the introduction to LMA class. Various symbols (Effort, Space, Shape Change etc.) are introduced, but the focus of the class is on verbal observing and doing rather than notation.

[Question #2] The department's primary focus is the BFA degree and most of the comp and technique teachers have minimal Labanotation or LMA background, and therefore have little interest in making space for it as a class offering.

[Question # 3] On a general level I think of Motif to excel at being a quick, efficient mode to document what is being observed, that documents major aspects or themes of the movement. Labanotation is slower to write or read, but gets more details.

Discussion 11
Rachelle Palnick Tsachor
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Movement
School of Music, Division of the Performing Arts
April 14, 2006

[Question #1] I teach Intro to Laban movement studies in the School of Music at the University of Iowa. The course is cross-listed in Dance and Theatre.

I follow the required material from LIMS, which includes a brief introduction to Motif writing (mostly direction symbols, effort and shape symbols, so they can "read" the 1-d and diagonal scales.)

I will paste in the course information below.

Linda Crist, who died last year used to teach Labanotation in the Dance Department. I don't know what they plan to do instead of the course she offered.

[Question #2] The course fulfills the required movement course for the Music Therapy program. LMA/BF are useful skills for Music Therapists to learn so they can better understand their client's non-verbal issues. LMA/BF is also useful for actors in characterization, musicians in preventing performance related injuries and supporting expressive phrasing, and of course, great for dancers.

[Question #3] Labanotation is great for dancers, but not as useful for an opera singer who just wants to add a few quick symbols to her score. I do show students the floor plans from LN, as they are useful for actors & singers in noting blocking.

[Following is the course information Rachel referred to above]

025:167:SCA Movement for Performers
Department: Music
Director: Kristin Thelander
1006 Voxman Music Building, 335-1603
Web site:
E-mail address:

Same as: 049:105, 137:160
Repeatable: May be taken 16 times.

The quality of a performer's movement supports artistic expression, sound production and wellness. This course introduces Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Analysis as methods of organizing and integrating movement to support artistic goals and expanding expressive range. BF teaches body awareness, breath support, developmental patterns, ergonomically-efficient alignment, balancing of muscular strength and stretch, and coordination. LMA teaches the vocabulary of expressive movement and nonverbal communication, including Effort (use of energy/dynamics) for expression, stamina, stress relief; and Shape (how posture and gesture communicate). Grades are based on class participation, practice, journal observations, short assignments and a project applying movement skills to an area of performance or study. Students enrolling for 3 s.h. are assigned additional readings and participate in movement coaching sessions.

Subtitle: Introduction to Laban Movement Studies
Approved GE: None
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None

Movement for Performers
Subtitle: Introduction to Laban Movement Studies
Instructor: Rachelle P Tsachor
Time & Location: 3:30P - 5:15P MW 172 TB

Discussion 12
Ray Cook
April 15, 2006

Have not been reading the replies as they are usually similar and have not differed that much over the years.

Personally I think that it would be more useful to get people who do not teach or use notation to say why and then address their response.

Discussion 13
Greg Halloran
Director, Center for Dance
University of Idaho
April 15, 2006

I am also curious like Ray why people don't offer notation. I have two students who are studying abroad (in the US) next year in the northwest area, and none of the major schools they have chosen seem to offer notation. I found this interesting and my first question was why don't these schools offer notation? Is this a current trend? More information and research is needed.

Discussion 14
Judy Van Zile
University of Hawaii at Manoa
April 17, 2006

Both Labanotation (2 undergraduate levels and one graduate level) and LMA (one graduate course) are taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

We believe in the importance and value of these systems, have qualified faculty on board, and require them (in various combinations) for our undergraduate and graduate degrees.

I believe Labanotation can record considerably more detail, while Motif primarily includes the "outline"/"essence"/"basics" of the movement.

Discussion 15 
Jack Clark
April 18, 2006

[Question #1] I'm not teaching, but I have been at Canada's National Ballet School and York University in Toronto and can address this question from that perspective. Canada's National Ballet School offers Benesh training is associate with the University of Waterloo and the Royal Academy of Dance, London in the teacher's training program. York University's Dance Dept. had a Labanotation class in the undergraduate program that was phased out. I have given one-time, guest classes for undergrad composition at York using a Motif base. There is also the potential for Dance MA candidates to do a Directed Readings Course at the Elementary level in Labanotation at York.

[Question #2] There are several instructors at York University with LMA training. Mary Jane Warner is on faculty and is working in the Toronto community on Legacy projects to produce company friendly Labanotation scores for the Danny Grossman Co. and Labanotation projects surrounding the work of Canadian Prime movers in modern dance, such as Tricia Beatty.

[Question #3] I have trained dancers to a high, intermediate level of Labanotation literacy for over 15 years, and dabble in Motif training and usage. I have stepped away from both for two years and have these thoughts to offer.

Motif seems to be more user friendly, less labor intensive to learn, and is more co-operative to a variety of needs, which means it is more adaptable in use compared to the constraints and amount of detail-work
involved in learning and using Labanotation.

Motif literacy can be a quicker process and embraces a diversity of usages, while Labanotation literacy demands a long-term commitment to achieve a level of competency of use that focuses primarily on documentation practices. This suggests that Motif has the potential to have a wider, popular following, while Labanotation is more likely to appeal to those few who will commit to learning the level of details
necessary to make it a practical tool.

Discussion 16
Sally Radell
Associate Professor and Director of Dance
Emory University
April 18, 2006

Every 2 to 4 years we offer a course in Labanotation. The first half of the semester motif is taught and the second half structured notation is taught. This course is taught by a certified Labanotation teacher. We also offer a yearly course called "Dance Literacy" which uses Bartenieff Fundamentals and the Effort Shape work. This course is taught by a CMA, and is a requirement for all dance majors and also fulfills a college general education requirement. In addition motif work is sporadically woven into our Intro to Dance course, composition I course and very occasionally in a modern technique class. We basically teach the scripts that a given professor knows best. We also periodically do reconstructions. Motif tends to be taught more here because it is more easily accessible to students and seems to have broader based applications in lower level dance courses, which is what we primarily teach.

Discussion 17
Karen Bradley
[University of Maryland, College Park]
April 18, 2006

[Question #1] We used to have a required course in Labanotation, but now it is Laban Movement Analysis and some motif is taught.

[Question #2] I think it happened because the motif writing is simpler and based on capturing essence--therefore it is eye-training and decision-making for young dancers.

[Question #3] L/N captures details of body parts, meter and space, for purposes of replicability. LMA motif writing captures essence and patterns of expressive style changes, for the purposes of analyzing intention and impression.

Discussion 18
Janos Fugedi
Institute for Musicology
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
April 19, 2006

I am going to reply to [the] questions but I need about two weeks to find time for it. I will have several presentations which prevent concentration on other tasks.

But let me put a question. Why did you ask your question 3? The difference between LN and MN is a basic and essential one. It is very clear for all those who know and use these systems, besides it is well documented in the textbooks. Did you experience that people misunderstood the points and mixed the two? Or you feel they hope to have a "royal way" (from which we know that doesn't exist) and happily reach for an easier solution?

Discussion 19
Peggy Hackney
Berkeley IMS Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Program
April 19, 2006

In our Integrated Movement Studies Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Programs in Utah, Berkeley, and soon in Los Angeles, we teach Motif Writing and require that a section of the Final Application Project needed for Certification include Motif.

I feel that Motif is a way of confirming intention in movement. It is a way of clarifying what is being invited in movement when doing prescriptive writing, and it is a way of choosing the most salient
aspect of the movement that is "speaking" when doing descriptive writing. It invites creativity and hones the beginning of interpretation skills (because what is chosen to be represented is already making a "meaningful" choice.) To this end, I believe that it is important to keep Motif really simple and uncluttered with too much detail.

I always recommend that people study Motif before Labanotation. I feel it engages students in MOVING FULLY immediately, and captures the aspect of notation that leads to FUN (i.e., Wow, I can read and write my own movement!") There is an instantaneous ability to be successful, and that leads to JOY! When I wrote the Elementary Correspondence Course in Labanotation in 1968, I had the first chapter as Motif writing. At that time, it was decided by the DNB that it should be the last chapter instead. I was sorry about that decision, and am happy that there is an expanded version currently.

Full score Labanotation is invaluable in recording masterworks of the Dance field that will be recorded for history. It also provides students with the thrill of being able to dance in a fantastic piece of choreography! It is also valuable in research, especially when paired with aspects of movement covered by LMA. As always, I feel that LN and LMA are both needed for a full description of the movement. Complete Effort Phrase Writing is invaluable in capturing style!

I could go on and on but....That's all for now!

Peggy Hackney, Director
Berkeley IMS Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Program

Discussion 20
Charlotte Wile
Laban/Bartenieff Institute, Ballet Hispanico School, and The Nigtingale-Bamford School
April 21, 2006

Many thanks for your responses to Linda's and my posting. Here are my answers to the questions:

[Question #1] I am on the faculty of the LIMS Weekend Certificate Program in New York City. The primary script that is taught in our program is Motif Notation. To a much lesser extent, the students work with Horizontal Phrase Writing, and Laban based coding sheets.

I also teach creative dance classes to young children at The Ballet Hispanico School (a dance school associated with the Ballet Hispanico dance company) and The Nightingale-Bamford School (a private school for girls). Motif Notation is an integral part of all of my classes at these schools. The other dance teachers at Nightingale do not know or teach notation, but they are familiar with Laban concepts, which form the basis of our overall curriculum. Likewise, as far as I know, the other teachers at Ballet Hispanico do not use notation in their classes. However, I believe a few of the teachers may use a Laban perspective in their teaching.

[Question #2] I have experience teaching Labanotation as well as Motif Notation. As I see it, they are equally valuable, and I wish they could both be a part of the curriculum in all the schools where I teach. In my opinion, to be completely movement literate, one should know them both. For instance, the students at LIMS could then use Labanotation to record movement in detail, when that is needed. And just like music students do with music scores, the students would have access to the vast literature of dance and other movement that has been recorded in Labanotation. They would also be able to record highlights of the movement using Motif Notation, if that fit the purpose of their observation or movement discovery. Unfortunately, the LIMS Certificate Program is way too short to teach both scripts properly. Labanotation is more difficult and time consuming to learn than Motif Notation, so I think it is appropriate that we just concentrate on Motif Notation.

[Question #3] As I see it, Motif Notation and Labanotation are so closely related that they can be considered subgroups of the same system. The main difference between the two scripts is the type of information they communicate. Labanotation gives a literal, all-inclusive, detailed description of movement so it can be reproduced exactly as it was performed or conceived. In contrast, Motif Notation depicts just core elements and leitmotifs; it highlights what stands out, is most important, or is most impressive.

In Karen Bradley's April 18 comments she said: “L/N captures details of body parts, meter and space, for purposes of replicability. LMA motif writing captures essence and patterns of expressive style changes, for the purposes of analyzing intention and impression.”

I do not think Karen's statement is completely accurate. From my perspective, Labanotation as well as Motif Notation conveys impressions of movement, its intent, and “patterns of expressive style changes.”

In Janos’s April 19 posting he asked why Linda and I asked question 3. Janos wrote “the difference between LN and MN is a basic and essential one. It is very clear for all those who know and use these systems, besides it is well documented in the textbooks.”

I’m not sure if Janos is correct. I think people in the Laban community may not always agree on the definitions of Labanotation and Motif Notation, and how they differ. See for example, Ilene Fox et al., Names for What We Do” thread, March 1, 2002. Linda and I asked question 3 because we are curious about how these different perceptions of the scripts might influence which one(s) is taught.

Discussion 21 
Loren E. Bucek
[Arts IMPACT Middle School, Columbus Ohio; and University of Rio Grande, Columbus campus]
April 22, 2006

After reading many responses to the Subject Header: Teaching Notation, I too, wish to respond.

[Question #1] I currently teach dance at the Arts IMPACT Middle School (AIMS) in the Columbus Public School system in Columbus, Ohio. I also serve as program director and graduate faculty for the University of Rio Grande, Columbus campus. In both venues I integrate Motif Notation into dance classes and courses for students as young as ten years old and as mature as those in their mid-fifties. My previous dance teaching work was with elementary school age children, ages 5-10, graduate level dance education students and professional dance artists. In these venues, Motif Notation served as a tool for heightening both my own and my students' perception, analysis, improvisation, choreographic, and performance skills.

In the Columbus Public School system, Motif Notation is taught in eight K-12 schools as one dimension of the K-12 Dance benchmarks and grade level indicators. The K-12 CPS dance educators teach motif notation as an integrated form of dance literacy, at all grade levels. This year's school district professional development (PD) sessions focused on dance as inquiry and dance integration -- Motif Notation was one mode of inquiry studied in an integrated dance instructional paradigm. At these day-long district wide sessions, CPS K-12 teachers, representing all subjects, reported their interest in learning more about Motif Notation, especially as it connects to other subject representation and understanding. As a result of the feedback received from the CPS K-12 teachers, there are efforts to develop Motif Notation PD sessions for this school district for the 2006-07 school year.

On a broader level, K-12 student living in Ohio are expected to learn various forms of dance literacy. Teachers turn to Ohio's Comprehensive K-12 Arts (Dance) Standards, Benchmarks and Grade Level Indicators for guidance. In fact, motif notation is used in some dance lessons listed on the Ohio Department of Education website-- Once on the homepage, scroll down and look for quick links on the right. Double clink onto IMS (Instructional Model System). As that page opens, Double click onto Lessons (not Assessments), then choose Dance to find the dance lessons in bands, K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

[Question #2] As previously stated, I believe that Motif Notation is more accessible than Labanotation to a broader range of people and its emphasis on idea development in movement helps to make connections with other symbolic forms of understanding.

[Question #3] In three words, Generality and specificity.

I have practical experience with both Motif Notation and Labanotation. My early composition, performance and teaching preparation included studies in Laban Movement Analysis and Labanotation. As Motif Notation developed, I focused on this form as it is more accessible and relevant to a broader dance constituency. There is great value in knowing both systems. For me, each system offers something different and as I add both to my dance making, performing, teaching and learning backpack I realize that they complement one another.

First, as a person who choreographs and performs dances or performs free or structured improvisations, Motif Notation offers multiple ways to express ideas (movement and non-movement ideas) without getting bogged down in the detailed analysis. Contrary to this view, Labanotation offers a particular habit of mind and set of analytic skills and a specific symbol system that work together as a set of conceptual tools to assist a person's ability to learn and perform movements/dance phrases/dances in more genres, forms and styles.

Second, as a teacher, Motif Notation-- used as a tool for heightening movement perception, inquiry, analysis and imagination-- leaves the door wide open for the creation, performance and recording of multiple interpretations deliberately linked to informal and formal dance studies and choreographies. On the other hand, as a person focused on teaching dance pedagogy, Labanotation offers a way to think about movement/dance movement and a language to articulate succinctly and accurately movement ideas, patterns, motifs and phrases of choreographies. Coupled with studies in biomechanics and kinesiology, I have found that my ability to offer movement experiences in several genres, forms and styles has been deeply enriched.

For the person teaching advanced/professional level students in a professional school, company or university repertory context, Labanotation script (as it is applied to both the teachers' ability to learn choreography and the teachers' ability to restage choreography) is essential-- not only for the detailed accuracy of the choreographers' movement intent, expression and performance standard, but for the ability to access the histories and cultures of any number of dances from the past. It does not replace the live experience of having a contemporary choreographer set his/her choreography on an ensemble, however, it often times provides a more accurate reading of the original work itself.

One important educational project that I strongly urge dance education professionals to look into and to take part in is the American Dance Legacy (ADL) project. It develops dance etudes based on the choreographic repertoire of significant people in dance history. It is currently rooted in American Modern Dance but my hope is that this will be expanded to include other dance genres and forms. Some studies include Motif Notation and Labanotation scores. In K-12 dance teaching settings in Columbus, Ohio these ADL etudes have been extremely valuable as some integrate Motif Notation and Labanotation, to access dance history and culture.

Thanks for listening.

Discussion 22
Janos Fugedi, Ph.D.
Institute for Musicology
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
May 5, 2006

Question #1. Is Labanotation, Motif Notation, or other Laban based notation taught in your school or institution? If so, which script(s) is taught?

Labanotation is widely taught in Hungary. I start with the highest level since notation has long been a subject in the higher education. LN education was started already right after WW II., and by today Labanotation is an important subject in the traditional dance teacher training curriculum. It may seem strange, but Labanotation is used only in the field of traditional dance in Hungary. It must be stressed though that there is a very strong, populous social movement (amateur and professional ensembles, "dance houses" that are dance clubs, "tradition preserving" rural groups, interested individuals, etc.) behind traditional dance. The Central European form of "folk dances" is not so simple as it is in the Western culture; it has very intricate forms and movement patterns and strong and attractive music. But not just the folk dance "movement," but its academic research is supported, which uses Labanotation as a basic tool for structural analysis. Returning to Labanotation education, it is also a subject in the secondary schools where dancers are trained (a kind of "conservatoire" for folk dancers), and some of my students experiment with teaching Labanotation (structured notation) in the primary schools.

Question #2. Why do you think that particular script (and not others) is taught there?

For two historical reasons.

One is that Labanotation reached Hungary quite early, in the late 30's and early 40's of the 20th century. One thread came from the Jooss school in England, the other from Knust in Germany, but both threads united mainly in the hands of Maria Szentpal, who became an acknowledged personality of LN both in Hungary and in the community of ICKL. She adopted the system for folk dances, but also used it for many other genres, such as ball room, jazz and historical dances. Surely she knew about other systems, but was very rigid in refusing any one of them.

Another reason is that in 1957 at an international congress of ethnochoreologits in Dresden (that time in the German Democratic Republic under soviet influence), after comparing a number of notations systems, the researchers decided to use Labanotation. (I suspect it was not an accident. Knust and Maria Szentpal were present as well.) Even though the Hungarian ethnochoreology during that time already used Labanotation for publishing the results of their structural and comparative analysis, it definitively established LN's position in both education and research.

Question #3. What do you think is the difference between Labanotation and Motif Notation?

At first I thought the answer is evident, but you [Charlotte Wile] and all the other replies convinced me that it is not. For me the basic difference is that I regard Labanotation as a descriptive tool, even if when it is interpreted we cannot find two identical interpretations, while Motif Notation (MN) is primarily for interpretation.

To illuminate the point with other words, I think (just think; here I have to confess with shame that I am not an expert of MN) MN is an exceptional tool for enhancing movement inspiration, developing movement "thinking", raising general movement notions, developing the ability for the real, "movement exploring" improvisation. Even if MN can be more and more detailed getting near to structured notation, there is always one or another leeway for freedom, a possibility to understand description "differently". Another important aspect of MN is that it is definitely "style free". The dancer is not expected to be versatile in any genres for a good result.

Mainly because of ignorance we can frequently meet rather "free interpretations" in LN reconstructions. An LN score's primary goal is always preserving movement as exactly as possible. It is a definite strength and almost just the same way a definite "drawback" of LN. A strength because LN can ensure a chance to keep "values". The values of choreographic works, a primary reason why Laban introduced his system. But also values of certain dance personalities, their way of improvisations and special use of the body or body parts. Since my research area is the Central European traditional dances, my "fixed idea" is that this movement culture carries such structural values which cannot be preserved only if analyzed and reconstructed the "right" way. LN is an exceptionally useful tool for analysis and perhaps for nothing more, simply because structured notation demands the immanent "movement idea" to be accurately identified in the mind than formulated on the "paper" (or rather in the "symbolic space of signs", just to be very up-to-date). Beside the artistic values, also the invaluable role of LN must be mentioned in education. I would not repeat the same noted above (the values of understanding the structure of movement and the whole dance), but point out that today only LN makes it possible to create such dance curriculums where the "dance material" can be exactly identified for presenting and also for calling teachers to account for what was taught in the classes. While it is only the future here in Hungary, we already use LN to publish dance methodology (not only WHAT to teach, but HOW to teach certain material). MN is suitable for this purpose only to degree it can be really exact (e.g. teaching certain MN symbols).

Whatever the strength of LN, its consequences can be drawbacks as well compared to the definitely simpler MN. To fulfill the role introduced above, LN was developed to be a highly intricate and to the same extent complicated instrument. Leaning LN needs a long time (years?), but to be able to use it "fluently" certainly needs many years, except if someone is a born talent in notation such as is AHG, [Ann Hutchinson Guest] or was Maria Szentpal or Albrecht Knust. Another difficulty with LN is that because of its symbolic nature a special ability has to be developed, which might be called a bit circumstantial way "cognitive movement converting ability" through which we can transform the signs to movement. My experience is that while MN can be easily acquired by almost anybody, learning LN needs - at least but very definitely at the beginning - a certain type of brain receptive for the abstract sciences like mathematics.

Also the right reconstruction of dance from LN needs a rather deep knowledge of style. If one has seen a ballet dancer reconstructing authentic folk dances, or students trained only in traditional styles reconstructing modern sequences, s/he can immediately get what I'd like to point out. I also think that because of this style-bound feature of LN, a way of making or rather using the highly developed system simpler can be to rely on existing stylistic knowledge.

I am afraid I went already too far and deep in discussing your [Charlotte's and Linda's] points. It happened only because I think your questions were good and inspiring. Thank you for asking and thank you for providing a way to get them public.

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