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more about notation . . .

On line resources:

Texts and Software:

Further Study:

Background information:


For more scores online, to practice your reading, see:

andreas maag, tango, http://www.maagical.ch/andreasmaagprivat_laban.html

ballroom dances, notated by Don Herbison-Evans:

(there are more, see Australian New Vogue Dancing on the Web, http://linus.socs.uts.edu.au/~don/pubs/vogue.html )

The Notation Library, http://www.bham.ac.uk/calaban/Labanotation_library.htm

The Alliance of Dance Notation Educators  http://www.smu.edu/dancenotation/

The Ohio-Minneapolis Dancer Exchange Preparation , http://www.dancepartners.org/interactive/dancerexch.htm

for a fun introduction to Labanotation, see NotationMan's Page,http://www.mindspring.com/~note8r/labanotation.html


For more information about Labanotation online, try:

http://notation.free.fr/ a website for learning the basics of Labanotation, in French, illustrated with LifeForms animations

Notation Basics, on the Dance Notation Bureau’s website, http://www.dancenotation.org/lnbasics/index.html

An introduction to Labanotation, http://www.particles.de/paradocs/bbb/laban/www/griesbec/labane.html or http://www.rz.uni-frankfurt.de/~griesbec/LABANE.HTML  (in English), or (in German) http://www.rz.uni-frankfurt.de/~griesbec/LABAN.HTML

Theory discussions, on the Dance Notation Bureau webpage,  http://dancenotation.org/DNB/theorybb/index.html

"The recording of the time element in the Laban system of notation," by Placida Staro, http://www.particles.de/paradocs/bbb/laban/www/item/articles/staro.htm, or http://www.muspe.unibo.it/period/ictm/articles/staro.htm



Websites for various centers for notation include:

The Dance Notation Bureau, http://www.dancenotation.org/

The Dance Notation Bureau Extension at The Ohio State University, http://www.dance.ohio-state.edu/dnbext/

The Language of Dance Centre, London, http://www.lodc.org/

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, http://www.hkapa.edu/

The Laban Centre London, http://www.laban.co.uk/index.php

Labanotation Institute at the University of Surrey, http://www.surrey.ac.uk/Dance/General/Laban.html

Labanotation study group in Japan, http://www.mars.dti.ne.jp/~monako/laban/

Centre National “D’Ecriture du Movement, http://cnem.free.fr/index2.html

Conservatoire de Paris, http://www.cnsmdp.fr/enseign/danse/f_set.htm


To download catalogues of dances in Labanotation (requires AcrobatReader):

Volumes 3 and 4 of the bibliographies published by the International Council of Kinetography Laban, http://www.ickl.org/Pages/biblio.html

Notated Theatrical Dances from the Dance Notation Bureau, http://dancenotation.org/DNB/library/index.html

Princeton Book Company carries a number of books on Labanotation and dance scores in Labanotation, http://www.dancehorizons.com/nota.html


To download Labanotation Software:

You can download LabanWriter, free software for creating your own Labanotation scores on the Macintosh computer, at http://www.dance.ohio-state.edu/labanwriter/   If you have a pc, go to http://www.bham.ac.uk/calaban/frame.htm


Principal textbooks for the system are:

Labanotation: The system of Analyzing and Recording Movement, by Ann Hutchinson (3rd ed., revised, Routledge/Theatre Arts Books, 1987  http://www.routledge-ny.com/books.cfm?isbn=0878305270&CFID=579139&CFTOKEN=96789601 ), and

the two volume Dictionary of Kinetography Laban (Labanotation), by Albrecht Knust (1979; recently reissued).  Vol. I (text) is available in German, French and English.  Volume II (examples) is the notation.

The two texts listed above are encyclopedic, and will tell you everything you want to know. 

For an easier start, try:

in English: 

Elementary Labanotation, A Study Guide, by Muriel Topaz (1996, Princeton Books, http://www.dancehorizons.com/nota.html )

Study Guide for Intermediate Labanotation, by Jane Marriett and Muriel Topaz (1986, Princeton Books, http://www.dancehorizons.com/nota.html )

An Introduction to Kinetography Laban, by Christine Eckerle (1997, Semperstrasse 24 D-45138 Essen, Germany).  Probably also available in German. 

in French: 

Cinetographie Laban, premier volume (1981) and deuxième volume (1986), par Jacqueline Challet-Haas, Centre National d’Écriture du Mouvement, Place St. Arnoult, 60800 Crepy-en-Valois, France.

In Hungarian:   

Lábán-kinetográfia balett-táncosoknak - Alapfok by János Fügedi. Planétás:  Magyar Táncmüvészeti Föiskola, 1998. Beginner level explanation of Laban System of movement notation for ballet students.

Néptáncolvasókönyv (Folk Dance Reading Book) by Ágoston Lányi. Labanotation textbook based on Hungarian folk dances. Budapest, Zenemükiadó, 1980.

Advanced Labanotation textbooks are being published as a series. 

Ann Hutchinson Guest and Rob Van Haarst have published three volumes on the following topics:

Canon Forms; Shape, Design, Trace Patterns; Kneeling, Sitting, Lying, available from Routledge, online at http://www.routledge-ny.com/ (search by title of each volume).

Four volumes of the Advanced Labanotation textbook, by Ann Hutchinson Guest and Joukje Kolff, are available from Dance Books, http://www.dancebooks.co.uk/ (search by title Advanced Labanotation): Hands, Fingers; Floorwork, Basic Acrobatics; Handling of Objects, Props; Spatial Variations.

Three additional volumes are forthcoming: Sequential Movements; Center of Weight; Body Variations.



Would you like to continue your study in the United States? 

The Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) in New York City can tell you if there is a certified teacher in your area, or a college or university where Labanotation is taught.  The DNB also offers a correspondence course, http://www.dancenotation.org/studying/index.html  Visit their website, http://www.dancenotation.org/ or email dnbinfo@mindspring.com

LabanLab was created at the Dance Notation Bureau Extension for Education and Research, at The Ohio State University (OSU) Department of Dance.  We offer courses in beginning, intermediate and advanced Labanotation and Directing from Score at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Visit the Department of Dance home page at http://www.dance.ohio-state.edu/ or email the director of the DNB Extension, marion.8@osu.edu

Take Note , a half-hour television documentary on notation courses and projects at The OSU Dance Department, was produced for WOSU (Public Broadcast System),  http://www.wosu.org/ns/inside_wosu/note.html

Labanotation is listed in Dance Spirit's "College 101, The Ultimate Curriculum: An inside look at the top 20 courses you should take," http://dancespirit.com/backissues/sep00/college101.shtml

for student comments on Labanotation, see


other colleges and universities in the U. S. that offer Labanotation include:

Florida State University, http://www.fsu.edu/~svad/dance_pages/laban.html

Southern Methodist University, http://www.smu.edu/catalogs/graduate/meadows/dance.asp

Goucher College, http://www.goucher.edu/

Texas Woman’s University, http://www.twu.edu/o-grad/gradcat/dance.html


Here are some European addresses linked to Labanotation:

Laban Centre, Laurie Grove, New Cross, London SE 14 6NH , U.K.

Tel: 44 (181) 6924070

Fax:  44 (181) 694 87 49

The dance department offers Labanotation and Laban theory in their curriculum. The library contains many Laban related documents.

Labanotation Institute, Dept of Dance Studies, University of Surrey,

GU2 5XH Guilford, Surrey , U.K.

Tel: 44 (1483) 259351

Fax: 44 (1483) 300803

The Labanotation Institute offers several courses in Labanotation. Also located in Surrey University is the Laban Archives collection.

Folkwang-Hochschule Essen, Kinetographiestudio

Klemensborn 39, D-45239 Essen, Germany

Tel: 49 (201) 49030

Fax: 49 (201) 4903288

The Folkwang-Hochschule offers Kinetography Laban/Labanotation studies in the dance curriculum.

Conservatoire de Paris, Dept des Etudes Choregraphiques, 209 avenue


75019 Paris, France

Tel: 33 (1) 40 40 46 19

Fax: 33 (1) 40 40 46 02

The Conservatoire offers professional training in Kinetography Laban/Labanotation studies.


The International Council of Kinetography Laban (ICKL)

The International Council of Kinetography Laban (ICKL), http://www.ickl.org/ holds conferences every two years, alternating between venues in Europe, the United States and Asia.  ICKL has more than 100 members from the following countries: Canada, China, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Phillipines, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Taiwan.



What is Labanotation?

Labanotation (or Kinetography Laban, as the system is known in Europe) is a symbol system for representing movement of the human body in space and time.  Our LabanLab webpages emphasize reading dance, but Labanotation can be applied to any type of movement. 

Need a comparison to help you understand how it works?  Think about Western music notation, which you are probably familiar with.  Then think about Labanotation as writing a melody for your arms, another for your legs, etc.   When you put the melodies together, you have the symphony that makes up the dance (or any other movement).

Movement notation allows you to analyze the structure, components and details of an action.  You can study various elements that make up a movement phrase outside of the real time representation of video or film (notation works well along with visual media which gives you the overall sense of how movement details are integrated into the whole).



Want to know more about Rudolf Laban, who started the notation system?  Here are a few websites with good biographies, information and photos.

http://notation.free.fr/laban/contexte/bio1_1.html (in French)


For more general information, here are some websites with articles about dance notation history and dance documentation, and sites for other systems of notation.

“Flash Report, Saving the Dance:  Celebrating 60 Years of Preserving the Art, by Paul Ben-Itzak, for  The Dance Insider, 5/23/2000, http://www.danceinsider.com/f523_1.html

“History of Notation,” by Victoria Watts, from Ballet Magazine, March,1998, http://www.ballet.co.uk/mar98/notation_history.htm

“Documentation,” by Allegra Fuller Snyder, for the Dance Heritage Coalition, http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub84/documentation.html

for Benesh Movement Notation, http://www.benesh.org/008.html

for Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation, http://ww2.mcgill.ca/Biology/perspage/ew_page.htm

for Dance Writing (Sutton Movement Writing and Sutton Sign Writing), http://www.dancewriting.org/

also see the Dance Notation Bureau’s list of weblinks at http://www.dancenotation.org/links/index.html


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