Michelle Olson told me she was Dancer in Residence at The Dance Centre (Vancouver) I pictured her sitting at a desk writing down a dance. Of course this is not how dances are made up, but this image prompted me to ask Michelle how one might go about writing down a dance, at which point she pulled a notebook from her bag and showed me a diagram she had drawn for a course in Laban Movement Analysis, which uses a form of notation in which each human body part is represented by a different symbol. This kind of analysis is also useful to animators, athletes, physiotherapists and even political pundits (yawn).
Michelle’s drawing was of a yoga pose called “the tree,” a simple pose that looked quite complicated when it was turned into symbols but, when you think about it, requires quite a few movements to get to the point where you’re standing on one leg with the other leg bent out at the knee so that the foot rests somewhere along the inside of the opposite leg, and your hands are clasped in front of you as if you’re praying.
Hmmm. Now I see how something like Laban notation would work better than words.