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Posts Tagged ‘notation

“Each lovely Grace by certain Marks he taught /And ev’ry Step in lasting Volumes wrote”*

Musical score and dance notation of a portion of the saraband, in Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explained (1735), book 1, plate 6. Note the mirrored notation for leading with the left foot or the right foot.

The late seventeenth century gave rise to a powerful innovation in Western European social and theatrical dance, the art of dance notation. The new representational technology ofdance notation provided a means to broadcast fashionable dances emerging from the French court as well as new compositions from dancing masters operating in London and elsewhere. In the first three decades of the eighteenth century, dance notation quickly reached faddish heights, with published dance manuals in high demand among upper levels of English society. One publication from the era, Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explained by Reading and Figures, provides a window onto the descriptive tool of dance notation, its function in society, and its eventual decline. While providing a previously unimagined communicational technology, the completeness and specificity of the dominant form of dance notationultimately spelled its demise…

The fascinating story (with more nifty illustrations and diagrams) of a 1735 attempt to capture the ineffable: “From the Page to the Floor:Baroque Dance Notation and Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explained.” [TotH to Ben Evans]

* Soame Jenyns in his 1729 poem “The Art of Dancing” (in part an ode to Kellom Tomlinson’s work)

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As we capture choreography, we might recall that it was on this date in 2005 that Halle Berry accepted the Razzie as Worst Actress for her role in Catwoman. Holding the Razzie in one hand and her Oscar (for Monster’s Ball) in the other, she gave a parody of her emotional Oscar acceptance speech, beginning “First of all I want to thank Warner Bros. Thank you for putting me in a piece of s***, god-awful movie!”

Watch her acceptance speech here.

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Written by LW

February 26, 2021 at 1:01 am

Freezing the fugacious…

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Performance artists have long felt the urge to record their creations so that they could be shared and performed again as created.  Musical notation dates back (at least) to 2000 BCE (a  cuneiform tablet that was created at Nippur, Sumer); dance notation, to the early 18th century.  But it wasn’t until the early 1980s that jugglers had a way to record and share their moves.

Invented by Paul Klimek in Santa Cruz, California in 1981, Siteswap (as the system is known) was further developed by Bruce “Boppo” Tiemann and Bengt Magnusson at the California Institute of Technology in 1985, and by Mike Day, Colin Wright, and Adam Chalcraft in Cambridge, England in 1985.  (In the U.K., the system is known as “Cambridge Notation.”)

Its simplest form, often called “vanilla siteswap,” charts throws as though one were to watch someone from above as they were juggling while walking forward– an approach sometimes called a “space-time diagram” or “ladder diagram.”

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But over the years, the system has gotten more sophisticated, embracing more elaborate representations, like the “state diagrams” (that capture the positions of juggled objects in the air at any point, and allow the deduction of available options for next tosses).

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As Slashdot reports,

‘Siteswap has allowed jugglers to share tricks with each other without having to meet in person or film themselves,’ says James Grime, juggling enthusiast and math instructor for Cambridge University. Still unclear on the concept? Spend some time playing around with Paul Klimek’s most-excellent Quantum Juggling simulator, and you too can be a Flying Karamazov Brother!

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As we struggle to keep all of our balls in the air, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 that Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers premiered at the Old Vic in London.  A satire of academic philosophy– likening it to a less-than skilful competitive display of gymnastics and, yes, juggling– the play is set in an alternative future in which British astronauts have landed on the moon… leading to fears that the landing  would ruin the moon as a poetic trope and result in a collapse of moral values.

Egad!

Michael Hordern as philosopher George Moore (from the playtext cover). Moore is about to loose the arrow and disprove Zeno’s arrow paradox.

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Happy Groundhog Day!

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Written by LW

February 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

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