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Enhancing Dance Literacy: Dance Notation Through Touch Technology
Hannah Kosstrin, Reed College

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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