From Zack Brown, October 20, 2012
From Janos Fugedi, October 21, 2012
From Zack Brown, October 28, 2012
From Jeffrey-Scott Longstaff, October 28, 2012
From P. W. Pulto, October 29, 2012
From Ann Hutchinson Guest, November 4, 2012
From Zack Brown, November 4, 2012Hi Ann,
Thanks for your reply. The reason why I asked the original question is because I'm trying to understand all the different crosses, and those are the ones giving me the most difficulty. Maybe you could clear some of my questions up for me.
From Zack Brown, November 4, 2012
From Ann Hutchinson Guest, November 12, 2012
From Zack Brown, November 13, 2012
What exactly is the 'line of the spine'? There's always a curve to the spine, so I'm assuming it means the line between the center of the pelvis and the center of the neck. Is that right?
From Zack Brown, November 14, 2012
Zack, I've added my thoughts in blue.All the best, Ann---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Zack Brown
Date: Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 7:13 AM
Thanks for the reply, Ann, and the encouragement! I've included some responses/questions below.
On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 3:56 PM, Ann Hutchinson Guest wrote:
Here we go, Zack, I will try to reply by using red for my answers, embedded in your questions. So many of the Labanotation usages derive from situations where they were needed. It must be difficult to approach them just from a theoretical standpoint. I find your questions a challenge and enjoy trying to provide easy to follow answers. We do not get enough people asking questions and, indeed, challenging what has been established, so it is a good exercise, for which I thank you!Let me know what is not clear.Keep up your enquiring mind!Ann----- Original Message -----From: Zack BrownHi Ann,Thanks for your reply. The reason why I asked the original question is because I'm trying to understand all the different crosses, and those are the ones giving me the most difficulty. Maybe you could clear some of my questions up for me.Focal Point Cross ('Spatial Variations', p. 140-141): This key is a standard key, with a focal point symbol attached. As far as I can tell from the text, the 'up' direction is identical to the 'up' direction for the standard key; i.e. up is in the direction that opposes the force of gravity, and down is the direction that follows the force of gravity. You can take it as a rule that the line of gravity determines up and down unless the Body Key is used, for that the line of the spine determines up and down. Meanwhile, the 'forward' direction points always to the focal point. My questions are these:What exactly is the 'line of the spine'? There's always a curve to the spine, so I'm assuming it means the line between the center of the pelvis and the center of the neck. Is that right? Yes, when the torso is relatively straight. When curved, arched, the arms will take direction from the upper thorax, at 90 degrees to the lateral shoulder line. The legs will take direction from the center of the pelvis.
1) if the focal point rises up, relative to the stage, does the forward direction tilt in order to allow the performer to keep it as their focus? To my knowledge we have only dealt with situations where the focal point was a static point. A moving point, as for instance the light near the end of Balanchine's ballet Night Shadow, involved looking and pointing at the moving light. This was handled with an addressing indication, which in this case sufficed.2) And if so, what happens to the 90 degree relationship between 'forward' and 'up'?3) Or if the focal point is directly above the performer, then where is the forward direction?4) And if forward does not tilt to meet a rising focal point, then how does the focal point remain the focus of the performer's attention? These questions have not arisen.Very interesting!So, if I'm understanding you correctly, the focal point never moves while it is remains the focus. You are making a rule out of an application! In our experience the focal point may be a ritual fire, a royal presence (usually seated, hence static) etc. If a moving prop is needed as a focus, a horizontal 'addressing' bow is used. This is not a rule but a practical and appropriate solution.
Also, if I'm understanding you right, the focal point remains on or near the ground, This is not a rule, it could be higher. so that the 'forward' it defines in the focal point cross of axes is always 90 degrees from the vertical line of gravity. Yes, this is right, but remember that level for limb gestures is taken from the Standard Cross.
Are those two things safe to say? I understand your wish to pin things down, but you seem to be making rules that are not established in those terms. The notation system has choices and the notator must pick the one that best serves.
Path Movement Cross I did not recognize these names! Movement Directions in Relation to the Path. But perhaps you are right and we need a short term. and Path Step Cross Step Direction in Relation to the Path. Or: Steps in Relation to the Direction of the Path. ('Spatial Variations', p. 144-145): These two keys, from examples 43b and 43k, are relative to a path being taken through the stage. I would not refer to a stage here, rather to a dancing area, such as a village square.'Dancing area' seems like a better term. Is it always the case with the two 'path' crosses, that the paths they relate to will be shown in a floor plan on the right of the staff? In actual practice the path is usually improvised. A floor plan would pin down a selected choice and this may not be desirable. Is the floor plan always required when these crosses (and for that matter, the line of dance cross as well) are used? No.
The path step cross is used for stepping only, while the path movement cross is identical, but is used for gesture as well. My questions regarding these crosses are these:1) Do they make the Line Of Dance cross obsolete, since they appear to be a more general form of the same idea? No, very different, I'll answer this in a moment.2) If the Path Step cross is only used for stepping, then how are gestures handled when that cross is in effect? Do gestures revert to the most recent cross, or to the Standard Cross? Gestures will use the Standard Cross, unless it is indicated that they follow the line of travel. It could be that leg gestures should follow the path (in preparation for steps) while the rest of the body does not. This would be indicated by the symbol for both legs and the key of 43k mentioned above.So, if I wanted to indicate that leg gestures should follow the path while the rest of the body did not, I'd use the legs body part symbol with the key from 43k - but where would that indication go? In the glossary? Or somewhere in or near the staff?The so-called Ballroom Key, the Line of Dance (LoD), functions in a special way, which is the outcome of the needs in traditional ballroom dancing, such as the English, Alex Moore technique and style. Step direction is taken from the Standard Cross. The LoD (also called the General Direction of Progression (GDP) is needed to keep track of orientation in relation to the room.The governing direction of travel is always counterclockwise. The path may be rectangular as it travels along the walls of the room. It may also become more circular, especially with experienced performers. The performers relate their front to the center of the room and also to the walls. As the Line of Dance turns the corner (at the end of one wall) this 1/4 turn left is indicated on the right of the notation staff. This re-orientation affects the performer's Front. Body gestures take direction and level from the Standard Cross.Thanks for that explanation of LoD. Oh good! I succeeded in being clear!
Split Body Cross, and the 'Body' Split Body Cross ('Floorwork, Basic Acrobatics', p. 24-25, 58-59):1) For the regular split body cross, is the 'up' direction the same as the standard cross? Yes, the usual Standard Cross is used.2) For both split body crosses (standard and body), does the split body apply to gestures also, or does it only apply to stepping? Yes, it applies to gestures as well. For the Body-Split-Body Key all gestures would follow the Body Key rules. The steps would follow the Standard usage.3) For both crosses, how are the two 'place' locations identified? See p. 58, section 9.3.I see. That section defines the two place locations used with the Split Body key as specifically related to the shoulders for the arms and pelvis for the legs. So there's no configuration of supports that would warrant a different set of place locations for the split body crosses.
Deviation From Path Cross (Spatial Variations, p. 30-31):1) This key appears to only be used with pins, to indicate a slight deviation. Is that correct? For gestures, pins show minor deviations from the standard path. (See LN Textbook 2005, p.396, 397.) Size of deviation can be shown when needed. When the line of the path is in an intermediate direction, statement of the direction of the appropriate deviation can be difficult, thus a key to change the reference to the path so that the path can be seen as though it is horizontal, thus establishing up and down in relation to it; this then allows all the other possible directions for deviations to fall into place. Whew! Is that clear?Not yet. I don't see how the other directions fall into place. What determines the direction of up/down? Or left/right? Up and down are taken from the line of gravity.Zack, you need to look at Deviations from the Path of a Gesture, LN text 2005, p. 295-6. The example given shows that a deviation up is away from gravity and that forward is not the direction of the movement (the direction of progression).If the path of my arm is from right middle to forward high, that defines an arc through space, between those two directions. The path is also at 45 degrees relative to a flat floor. So, if I want to indicate a directional deviation from that path, I would use the Deviation From Path cross with a pin, to indicate the direction of deviation. You have chosen a rather simple path that can be handled in the standard way, no need for a key. When the path is between intermediate points the direction of a deviation can be difficult to determine, it is for these cases that the Cross was developed. In your mind you pick up the desired path, place it in front of you, as in example 674a, and indicate the appropriate pin for the deviation. Note that the wording next to 674a should be: "The path in space notated at the left..."The question is, how do I interpret the pin, in order to find out what direction to deviate towards? Clearly the pin indicates whether it represents an upward, downward, left, right, or other direction. But that direction will be relative to the system of directions defined by the Deviation from Path cross of axes. So the real problem is to understand how that cross defines up/down, front/back, and left/right.Now, you've said that this cross changes the reference to the path so that the path can be seen as though it is horizontal. So, if I understand you correctly, that means that the starting point of the path defines 'backwards', and the ending point of the path defines 'forwards'.But that doesn't mean that 'up' is easy to determine. Once I have forwards and backwards, there are an infinite number of right-angled spokes that can come off of that line, all pointing in different directions. Imagine the spokes of a bicycle wheel.For the same reason that I need *both* up and front to define left and right in other crosses, I need *both* front/back and left/right to define 'up'. So far all I'm aware of is the forward/backward axis. Thus, 'up' is still undefined, as are left and right. I hope that my explanation above has solved your questions in the above four paragraphs. Whew!
2) It doesn't seem to ever be used outside the staff - it is always attached either by a horizontal or vertical bow, or presumably as a pre-sign. Is that correct? It relates only to the individual statement, not to the notation as a whole.3) It appears to only be used when following a path from a location represented by one direction symbol, to a location represented by another direction symbol; as opposed to a trace pattern. Is that correct? I don't understand this question. The gestural path needs to be indicated as starting at one point and ending at another.The question is: can this cross be used to modify the path of a trace pattern being drawn in the air by a body part? Or is it restricted to only modifying the path defined by two direction symbols? If the idea applies, then it could be used in other instances, as in adding a third dimension into otherwise flat design drawing.
4) It seems that the 'forward' direction is the direction toward the location represented by the target direction symbol, wherever that might be. It could even be at an angle relative to the floor. In that case, how is the 'up' direction determined? If all I know is forward and back, there are an infinite number of perpendicular lines emanating from that axis. How do I know which of those is the 'up' direction? I'm sorry, I can't follow your para. 4).I restated the question in response to your answer to my para 1 above. The problem is how to identify what 'up' means when this cross is in effect.Many thanks, I really appreciate the assistance!Be well,ZackI hope you are able to clear up these questions for me. I don't see the answers anywhere in the books.Be well,ZackOn Sun, Nov 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM, Ann Hutchinson Guest wrote:
Thank you, Zack, thank you Janos, I am finally having time to pick up on Zack's questions about keys.
Reading Zack's message it sounds as though someone got slap happy (drunk?) and started playing around inventing keys out of the blue. What is so interesting is to find out how the need for each key arose.
In some cases our standard descriptions just did not work. In others, the way the choreographer or teacher was explaining the movement had a different reference, one that did not exist in our notation system. For the movement in hand, that analysis made sense. Why could we not provide that possibility? I have wonderful memories of going into such examples with Maria Szentpal, one of these was the Split Body. That was the way people wanted to describe what was happening, why could we not provide that description? Did we have to force them into our standard analysis? Alas that Maria with her gifts is no longer with us, hers was an exceptional talent.
In Farandoles, or dances with lines of people dancing on improvised floor patterns around the available space (a field, perhaps?) what reference was there other than the direction of travel?
The Deviation from the Path (Spatial Variations, page 30, 31) is specifically related to gestures, to simplify the description - again derived from how people explain what they want. In many instances there is no need for such a description, and, indeed, unless one is writing sequences that beg for a special key, it is totally satisfactory to stick with the standard, well known descriptions.
The point of the Spatial Variations book was to cover the lesser known usages so that they are available to whoever might need them. I am still hoping to produce the last Advanced Labanotation book, No. 10, on similarly less known, subtle body variations.
I hope the above is helpful, please ask if you have further questions. And thank you, Janos, for your kind words.