Re: motion tracking

David Rodger (
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 18:44:31 +0100

>notation is valuable in recording/transcribing dance in a written
>form. i know of two dance notation idioms. one was used to
>record/transcribe historical dance: symbols describing/delineating
>gender, direction, type of step, etc. At the top of the page was
>the bars of music that accompanied a drawing of the symbols.
>Choreography was separated into figures of manageable length. The
>notation was indeed used to teach the newest dances to those who
>wished to be in vogue in the courts of the Italian, French, and
>English reigning monarchies.

This reminds me of a beautiful book I picked up in Seattle two years ago:

Louppe, Laurence, ed. (1994) Traces of Dance: Drawings and Notations of
Choreographers. Brian Holmes and Peter Carrier, trans. Paris: Editions
dis Voirs.

It includes writings of or interviews with Valerie Preston-Dunlop,
Jean-Noel Laurenti, Paul Virilio, and others.

>The other system is Laban Notation, which i know alot less about,
>although i do understand the basic factors of space, time, weight,
>and flow, and that symbos of these elements are combined to form
>effort graphs.

But remember the difficulty that Leslie Bishko was having with some of
these in trying to translate effort factors into spatial representation of

>I think that Laban, and people who are developing
>his work are coming closer to movement notation, but again my point
>is that written language/notation/idiom will never be able to
>capture the living human spirit.

In particular, flow and weight seem to be about feel. It's difficult to
know how any notation which records the external (extra-bodily)
manifestation of a phenomenon (in this case, movement) can capture what the
dancer might be feeling. Two dancers might follow the same description,
make virtually the same paths in space (Laban's trace forms?), yet appear
to have a different qulaity of movement. I suppose the use of a motion
capture system _nmight_ reveal small differences, but it may be that the
difference in quality is not attributable to the motion quanta themselves.

>This is also true for music notation as well.

Music notation misses a lot. I'm not very familiar with Labanotation, but
I think that it's a better description of movement than common practice
music notation is of music. But then, music notation developed at a time
when storage was at a premium (before paper and printing as we know it), so
I suppose that notators were forced to record the most obvious salient
features necessary to reproduce the music. Obviously, a conventions had be
developed and encouraged for this to work. The same seems to apply to
earlier dance notations, too.

Regards, David

David Rodger, "I'd bet for techno music you
Audio Engineer: could get pretty good lossless
Recording, Editing, Mastering compression, as the compression
Lifeguard and Lifeguard Trainer is based on repeated data."
Phone: +61-3-9459-1898 -- Michael Conlen
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