Written by Curtis Stedge, Richard Haisma, et al.
Following is a compilation of discussions originally posted on the CMAlist in September, 2014.
Note: Some e-mails from the original CMAlist discussion are not included in this reprint, as requested by their author. In addition, throughout this posting references to the left out e-mails have been replaced with [………].
We were quite the ambitious group this summer, in Belgium, it would seem. I also present the following on behalf of the Agape Center, Belgium LMA Program, Module III Class of August 2014.
After much discussion and scribbling round the group, we arrived at the set of symbols below. I have only presented High, Middle, Low as an example. However, the capital Z can be layered overtop of any spatial direction. We humbly offer this symbol up to the Laban/Bartenieff Community at large for your consideration and use.
Re: Breath Motif Symbol
Re: Breath Motif Symbol
I love new symbols!
These ones speak to me. I imagine they could be integrated with other symbols, although the dotted lines would be hard to draw. Since the basis for these symbols is already distinctly different from others in our system, I wonder if drawing dots instead of dashes could be a useful simplification.
Hi Curtis and Everyone,
Perhaps the standard signs for "inhale" and "exhale" may be of use. They can be found in Moving
About: Capturing Movement Highlights Using Motif Notation, by Charlotte Wile with Ray Cook.
You can find the book on line at:
Go to page 311 in Chapter XVIII, "Away, Toward, Arrive" (see the glossary at the bottom of the page).
For an example of how the signs can be used in a score, see Ex. 71a on the same page.
All the best,
Re: Breath Motif Symbol
One of the main points I wish to make, hopefully in answer to [……….] difficulty with the idea of "approval from whom," which difficulty I share, might be able to be stated with the rhetorical question of "Just who do they think they are, all of these people who took or bended or changed the "original" Laban material into their own purposes? Such a question implies an impregnable fortress of "original" material. Yet, as we can see, from a-h above, such never existed. So the question needs to leave the realm of the rhetorical and become quite practical: "in the name of what do we develop the Laban-Bartenieff "system"? My first answers have always been to:
The same movement can be written in several ways. The intent of the move can be captured within the rules. Because the notation has inbuilt descriptive choices, just as any good language does. Every symbol system has a threshold beyond which it cannot go. This is for instance true for mathematics, the spoken word or music.
(Written from my mind-map a year later—July 14, 2002. Words in all CAPS are circled on my mind-map.)
In our Integrated Movement Studies Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Programs we teach Motif Writing as part of our Observation curriculum, because Motif is "AN OPEN INVITATION TO MOVE!" It galvanizes people into movement—it puts them in an exploratory mode as they play with moving the symbols. It's easy and it's FUN—and we believe it should stay that way (i.e., not get too complex in the scores). And, even more importantly, Motif leads to MEANING-MAKING. Our IMS approach is based on moving toward claiming our personal meaning making in both our movement and our observations.
Motif enables people to move or observe movement while paying attention to INTENT, using ELEMENTAL BUILDING BLOCKS of movement. When moving or observing in this way, people are coalescing bodily sensations, which are coming from the movement and bringing them into consciousness. This consciousness results in the perception of clusters of elements that are happening together and helps us to distinguish how they are similar/different one from the other. This differentiation can, of course, be DESCRIBED/RECORDED in symbols. This then leads to PATTERN RECOGNITION, which ultimately moves to personal MEANING-MAKING and INTEGRATION.
Of course how much differentiation is necessary to record differs with the context, and is certainly a necessary topic of discussion for us in Motif Writing. (I find that notation gives me the chance to use my inner "Goddess of Clarity," but there is also the possibility for my inner "Demon of Hypermentality" to be the bully. She takes out the fun and limits my ability to perceive pattern by obscuring the essence of the Intent with too much detail.)
Recognizing characteristic aspects of continuity and change and seeing how things repeat and are layered into pattern is one thing we are stressing in our IMS programs, because we believe that PATTERN RECOGNITION is important for our personal, artistic, and cultural growth. It leads to perception and appreciation of Style, whether that is personal, artistic or cultural. We like that Motif asks us to see and write about "What stands out in the movement," and "What comes together?" And/or "What's coloring the movement?" We do not write every little detail. This means that when we are working with Motif, we are already working in what Martha Davis called many years ago, "creeping interpretation." We are making choices according to the perceived Intent. When we commit to which symbol to use, we are making choices about what intention we are using or we see being revealed.
In our IMS Programs we teach the following little "mantra":
"In Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis
We Perceive (access the sensations)
Often students wonder why the use of symbols is important. Are they important? I continue to think that they are even though most of our students don't continue to use Motif Writing as a formal symbol-system in their application field after they graduate.
- Symbols train students to perceive Intent, and the chance to choose which symbols to use amplifies that perception. Students continue to use this ability in their application area, even if they are not using the symbols.
- Symbols give people the opportunity to attach a large number of movement experiences to one symbol. Symbols are containers, a way to hold on to the evanescent movement experience. The symbol then, like art, is a way to hold my many experiences of one type of movement (such as "Shape Flow"). When I have experienced that symbol in many different combinations with other elements, and I see a Motif that uses the symbol, I can then create the movement experience as a gestalted experience, because I can perceive the entire group of symbols together. When we use words, we are in a linear realm rather than in a clustered realm of the "multiple known" that symbols can provide.
Symbols encourage what Carol-Lynne Moore calls "movement thinking."
- Symbols are also international in a way that words are not. (This is particularly important in our current world scene.)
- And Symbols are, of course, also a visual inroad. Some students are drawn to learning visually.
In summary, our Integrated Movement Studies Laban/Bartenieff curriculum is not "about" Notation. Recording the movement is only one aspect of what we are teaching. Our emphasis is on Intent and Embodied Knowing. Symbols, and Motif Writing in particular, are tools.
We are training students to
- use movement to further their own personal and professional INTEGRATION,
- move into the world with Intent and the full richness of who they are as human beings.
Re: Breath Motif Symbol
Sun 9/7/2014 1:56 PM
From: Peggy Hackney
I like those symbols for Inner-Outer, but I like the Exertion-Recuperation ones from the set that has Ex-Recup with the explosive slanted lines for Exertion and the Horizontal one for Recuperation. I believe it was the one that.........Antja had synthesized.
[...........] and I discussed and came to the following conclusions: