Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dance Notation Journal (1983-1989)

Submitted by Charlotte Wile - April 18, 2013; last updated on November 25, 2014

Dance Notation Journal, published semiannually from 1983 - 1989, included a variety of informative articles related to Labanotation.

Following are facsimiles of: 

Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1983) 

Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 1983)
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 1984)
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 1984) 
Vol. 3, No. 1, Part 1 (Spring 1985)
Vol. 3, No. 1, Part 2 (Spring 1985)
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 1986)
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 1986)
Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 1987)
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter/Spring 1988-89)

Volume 1, Number 1 (January 1983)

Posted April 18, 2013

Addendum from Doris Green - Submitted April 21, 2013 

I was elated to see a copy of the Old Dance Journal that Jill Beck encouraged me to write. Those were the good old days, and I enjoyed writing for the Journal. I even encouraged a Nigerian to write about IBO dances so the world would become familiar with dances from the continent of Africa from the Africans themselves.

That was 30 years ago, long before the invention of the Laban typewriter and definitely long before LabanWriter. I recall having to use Press Type for all the symbols.

The notations of Gahu or Agahu and Ashanti Adowa that appeared in the article Percussion Notation were originally written in the seventies.  

Since that time additional research was done and the notations were done with the LabanWriter program.  In the Adowa, I also added movements for the arms and hands. They now read as follows. I believe this is a clearer representation of the movements of both selections.

Volume 2, Number 1 (Spring 1984)
Posted May 24, 2013

Volume 2, Number 2 (Fall 1984)
Posted June 8, 2013

Volume 3, Number 1, Part 1 (Spring 1985)
Posted July 15, 2013 - February 15, 2014

This issue is long, so it was posted in installments. 

Note: In the facsimile posted here of “Anna Sokolow’s Scenes from the Music of Charles Ives,” the page numbers are 1-59. In the original journal they are pages 9-67.  Likewise, facsimile pages 1-51 of "Rachel Lampert's What's Remembered?" are pages 68-119 in the original journal, and facsimile pages 1-53 of "Clay Taliaferro’s Falling Off The Back Porch: A Critical Analysis" are pages 120-172 in the original journal.

Volume 3, Number 1, Part 2 (Spring 1985)
Posted March 17, 2014

[This issue contains Labanotation for the dances discussed in Dance Notation Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, Part 1 (Spring 1985). The notation documents selections from the dances. Videos and Labanotation scores for the entire dances are available for purchase at the Dance Notation Bureau. For further information go here. (Click "Educational Performance Collection" at the top of the page].

Posted March 17, 2014

Volume 4, Number 2, (Fall 1986)

Volume 5, Number 1, (Spring 1987)

  1. AnonymousApril 22, 2013 at 4:15 PM
    Charlotte, this is great! Thank you for doing this
  2. AnonymousMay 26, 2013 at 5:21 AM
    Charlotte, many thanks for your continuous posting of the various issues of the Dance Notation Journal.

    I was looking at issue Volume 2, Number 1, and found that the "Cover and first pages" were those of Volume 1, Number 1, and the second contribution "DanceAs A Mirror of Human Condition, by Dr. Emeka Nwabuoku", was not available (when clicking on the link I am put in the welcome page of Google Docs, inviting me to log in).

    I would be extremely nice if this small problem were corrected.

    Best, Michel Goossens
  3. May 27, 2013 at 6:37 AM
    Michel, I am glad you are enjoying the reprints.

    I redid the two links you could not open. I hope this fixes the problem.

    Thank you,

    Charlotte Wile
  4. AnonymousJune 1, 2013 at 9:09 AM
    Dear Charlotte:

    This is the issue wherein I was editorial consultant and introduced the writing of Dr. Emeka Nwabuoku. His article addresses the fact that movement of work

    and play eventually become the movement of the dance.

    This writing supports the theory that before an African dance is created an 'happening' or event that the people choose to remember is the act of causation wherein a dance is created. In this case it the work posture found in fishing that becomes the movement of the dance.

    In a dance about the Blacksmith, crescent shaped pieces of Iron are used as instruments and the movements of the dance contains a number of stylized jumps as if they were walking on hot coals.

    Dr. Nwabuoko describes the Fishermen's dance in terms of fishing and rowing. This dance is performed by women who are descendants of fishermen. He defines how they cast the net that is represented by a piece of cloth.

    This was an interesting study. I wish I could have covered the works of some of Africa's leading choreographers with the readers, but the technology was unknown at the time.


    Doris Green

    Anonymous June 13, 2013 at 4:50 AM
Volume 2 #2 of The Dance Notation Journal features a number of African instruments. They are basically struck, and shaken Idiophones. These instruments. In the absence of a conductor, the bell establishes the time of the ensemble. The rattle joins in with the bell and embellishes the rhythmic pattern. The lead drum of the ensemble dictates the various rhythms that tell the dancer what steps to perform, while secondary drums respond to the lead drummer. Today I am updating and putting the finishing touches on the textbook that includes more than 45 years of research in African Music and dance. 


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