Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Period of Performance

9/1/2011 - 8/31/2013

Funding Totals

$25,000.00 (approved)
$25,000.00 (awarded)

Enhancing Dance Literacy: Dance Notation Through Touch Technology

FAIN: HD-51352-11

Reed College (Portland, OR 97202-8138)
Hannah J. Kosstrin (Project Director: March 2011 to April 2014)

Development of a software program for touch-technology tablets such as the iPad that would allow for scholarly dance notation.

This project’s principal activity is to create a dance notation editing program implementing touch technology. The project will result in the development and release of a freeware tablet application that innovates upon existing Labanotation software to develop a program that will significantly change the way dance and movement teachers, scholars, and professionals document, read, write, share, and utilize this notation in teaching, research, and public projects. This technology will enable users to engage with the notation on a high level of detail, while allowing them the portability of bringing it directly into the studio or into the research field. The beneficiaries of this project are researchers, scholars, teachers, choreographers, dancers, and students in fields such as dance, theater, and performance studies who use movement as an integral part of their scholarly inquiry. The expected results are the creation of an iPad application that can be used in educational settings.

Media Coverage

Dance Notation Goes Mobile at Reed College (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Kevin Myers
Publication: Reed College News Center
Date: 8/2/2011
Abstract: Grant announcement on college website.

Dance Notation for the iPad? There's an App for That (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Jie Jenny Zou
Publication: Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: 8/5/2011
Abstract: Feature story about the Enhancing Dance Literacy project.

Alumna Profile: Hannah Kosstrin (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Hillary Blunt
Publication: Goucher College Dance Newsletter
Date: 12/7/2011
Abstract: Highlights Hannah Kosstrin's work since graduating from Goucher College and includes brief discussion of the dance notation iPad app. Article is on page 7.

Our one percent: Oregon’s National Endowment for the Humanities grants (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Barry Johnson
Publication: Oregon ArtsWatch
Date: 8/3/2011
Abstract: Grant announcement for institutions that received NEH grants in Oregon.

Dance of the Pixel: Reed prof leaps into terpsichorean technology, iPad in hand (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Romel Hernandez
Publication: Reed Magazine
Date: 12/1/2013

Associated Products

Plasticity through Digital Inscription: Labanotation and Digital Media (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Plasticity through Digital Inscription: Labanotation and Digital Media
Author: Hannah Kosstrin
Abstract: The May 1982 AAAS magazine Science boasted Joseph Menosky’s cover story “Capturing the Evanescent Art: Choreography by Computer” highlighting efforts of computer scientists, dance researchers, and notators who developed programs to digitally record movement. The 1980s then saw the advent of LabanWriter, Labanotation-writing desktop software that streamlined the process of producing and reproducing Labanotation scores and replaced hand-written notation calligraphies. These developments in computer technology opened possibilities for how Labanotation and motion capture systems could potentially generate movement documents. This paper poses questions about what digital technology and Labanotation continue to do for each other as documentary record and generative function by thinking through the implications of KineScribe, a Labanotation iPad app (2013) that expands the usability of digitized Labanotation scores at the point of a touchscreen interface: literally, at the tip of a finger. As we think broadly about inscribing in an age of ephemeral documentation media, the formats for which slide into obsolescence as technologies change, I suggest that we tend to this digital mode of transmission by asking the following: What does digital humanities teach us about dance notation and embodiment with digital technology as the way through which? How can this technology retain a presence of the dancing bodies that once generated the movement, to prevent their absence in the historical record? I argue that shifts in Labanotation technologies necessitate broader changes with how we enact dances of this written record, and that the plasticity of digital technology supports Labanotation’s endurance in dance studies.
Date: 11/15/2014
Conference Name: Congress on Research in Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars