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 Labanotation

Labanotation as a system for recording and analyzing human movement was first published by Rudolf Laban in 1928. His analysis of movement is based on spatial, anatomical, and dynamic priciples. Using this system of recording movement based on the universal laws of kinectics allows for reconstruction of the simplest to the most complex movements, great works of the theater and other more diverse activites such as time/motion studies for industry, medical, even psychiatric purposes. It is a universally applicable system of nonverbal symbology, posing no language barriers for research.
 

 "Labanotation serves the art of dance much as music notation serves the art of music,"                                                                                              
 Ann Hutchinson.
 

The possibilities for the use of Labanotation as a tool for education are easily recognized when a parallel is drawn with music notation and its relationship to music theory and history. The music student has available for study and performance works of musicians from different periods of history and different parts of the world. The endeavour of Rudolf Laban to describe dance in a language of symbols was initiated by his desire to create a literature of movement and dance.

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 The goal for the Bowie Dance Company Xochipili is to reconstruct one work each year from Labanotation in the annual Spring Festival of Dance at the Chamizal National Memorial. Look for Theme and Variations by Ray Cook or Chair Pillow by Yvonne Rainer.

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 What the students say

 

"I think Labanotation is very interesting because I never knew or even thought of a dance being written on paper. It's exciting to be able understand it and perform it after you read it. It's cool when you can understand the symbols and even make up a dance in Labanotation. And it's kind of an honor or I'm proud to be the only high school in El Paso (so far) to be taught this."    Maria Cabral

"I have enjoyed Labanotation because it is very different from other kinds of reading. I like it because I know not everyone knows how to read it. I think it is great because you can learn dances from across the world because of Labanotation. I mean, you don't have to go to Russia to learn a folk dance from that place. You can read it and learn it! . . . It's a part of dance education and a part of our own selves. It is our own movements we create and are written down for other people to learn."     Alex Hernandez

"You get to use your mind and you exercise by practicing."    Verenice Puente

"Para mi Labanotation es muy importante por que yo pienso que devemos tratar de aprender muchas cosas nuevas. Para mi fue muy dificil saber los signos pero con un poco de mi esfuerso lo pude entender bien. En las escuelas publicas como Bowie H. S. yo pienso que deberian de poner Labanotation para que a un las personas que no saben ablar ingles o puede entender Labanotation, pueden entender las dos cosas a la misma vez como yo lo estoy haciendo poco a poco."      Blanca Rivera
 

"It is a new way to learn the dances that helps us to not forget the steps because it is written down."      Mayra Zamora
 

"At first like all things it was kind of hard, then you just know it . . . I hope you teach all your students this stuff because it's real cool when you get a dance and can read it yourself."     Gabriela Reyna

"I never knew that you could actually read and write dances. . . . the first time I that I actually knew the steps written, I got so excited! You get to open your mind and concentrate on the movements."      Wendy Talamontes
 

 

 

LINKS

for further research on Labanotation

 Introduction to Labanotation

Ohio State University

LED & LINTER: AN X-WINDOWS MINI-EDITOR AND INTERPRETER FOR LABANOTATION

CLIP, Computerized Labanotation Instructional Program

LIFEFORMS

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The Parts Girl

illustrates some of the symbols used to represent body parts in Labanotation.

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Please contact Deitra Lied with suggestions, questions or comments at llied@whc.net

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This page is evolving. Check back often! Look for repertoire, student projects, technology in dance education and more!     Last updated Feb.6, 1999.

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