Re: ICKL 20th Conference to be held in Asia

Sandi Kurtz (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 22:52:07 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 7 Jun 1997, David Rodger wrote:

> Scott wrote:
> > What are the cultural implications of 'laban' in relationship to asian dance
> > forms? Do 'essential' aspects of dance from non-western cultures suffer as a
> > result of being recorded/ represented by 'western' notation systems?
> I'm no expert in Labanotation, but I've often felt that Laban was aiming for
> a notation not (or not so) reliant on the idiosyncracies of any particular
> style. His is an extremely structuralist appraoch (the body as a structure).
> So I wonder whether it might be better to ask whether that view of the body
> (as opposed to any dance form) might be incompatible with the conception
> of a dance that the latter's proponents hold.

Your intuition of L's intention is corrent -- he was hoping to create a
form of notation that did not reflect any preconceptions about what the
body would or should do, just what it could do in relation to its
anatomy. Labanotation is pretty successful as a form of 'value-less'
description, Laban Movement Analysis can be as well, though I've
noticed that it is often taught with a certain set of aesthetic
considerations, that may not be universal culture to culture. Indeed one
of the first uses of the system cross-culturally (the Choreometric
studies done by Alan Lomax, Irmgard Bartenieff and Forrestine Paulay)
contain some judgments based on LMA observation that seem fairly dated today.

sandi kurtz