During my recent drive to Grand Rapids, I was talking to Tim and a strange question arose:
How does one transcribe ballet?
In music, you use staff paper and notations for chords, melodies, and dynamics… but how do you write down the choreography for a ballet? These days there are videos and the like, but back in the days of yore… how’d they do it? Is it just a dictation of the action?
Dancer 1: pirouette, jump left, pirouette, stand on toes for 3 counts while moving arms in windmill like air guitar motion.
Or perhaps there is a shorthand?
Dancer 1: P, Jleft, P, toes3 + Airguitar
Or maybe it’s just a story with the moves left up to the dancer’s interpretation? (I would find this weak)
Plot: Janice expertly avoids the laser blasts and then suddenly finds a guitar upon which she proceeds to shred with angst and passion.
Well, I’m happy to report that my research has led me to a fascinating answer. Apparently there exists something called Dance Notation (wikipedia article here.) Wikipedia reports that the primary languages used are Labanotation, a notation method based off of Rudolf Laban’s “Laban movement analysis” and Benesh Movement Notation curiously designed by another Rudolf: Rudolf Benesh.
I’d love to interview someone who can read these notations. Anyone have any contacts that they would be willing to pass over to me?