Dance notation


New member
Has anyone used a dance notation system for choreographies?
I need to start a notebook for choreographies with a
notation which will be useful for recalling the dance at a future time.

Is anyone familiar with Dancewriting?

Any other suggestions welcomed!

Thanks !


New member
I haven't used a "system" per se. The problem I've run into with some of the dance notation for other dance forms (what I've seen them anyway) is that, as is the western way, they tend to concentrate on limb movement and levels and don't do much for core body movement, which, of course, is the basis of our dance. But if someone has found something that really works, I'd love to hear about it!

Sadly, to this point my dance notation for my troupe has been a hodgepodge of words (brief descriptions or my own personal names of movements), stick figure drawings (with "noses" to indicate facing direction and little arrows around various body parts), and colored dots with directional arrows (to indicate blocking.) I suspect my dancers hate me by now....;)

I've also found that video taping the choreography at some point helps preserve it for posterity too. That way, when a year later we look back at my crazy notes and drawings we can compare them with the video to remind ourselves what the heck I was talking about. After that, the goofy notation makes more sense again.

Amanda (was Aziyade)

Well-known member
Ditto on the above - I've scrawled descriptions with arrows and stick figures and such, but our dance doesn't lend itself well to notation.

We also videotape choreographies we want to keep, and I usually keep a video copy of any choreography I'm likely to want to do again. That works much better for me.


New member
I have my own system of writing down movements and choreo's
So BHCE is Big Hip Egyptian Circle for example.
L is for left foot, R for right etc
videotaping is usefull also

Maria Aya:)


I call movements by descriptive terms, so when writing it down I do the same i.e. vertical hip figure eight or horizontal rib circle etc. I write releve, plie or grand plie for level changes. I indicate placement as if on stage: back stage, center stage, front stage, stage right, stage left... and body direction as facing audience, right diagonal, left diagonal, facing backstage etc. L for left, R for right. That seems to work well for me, especially needing to come back to it after some time has passed. I can *usually* figure out what I was talking about.


When forced to choreograph, I use my own system and shorthand references. When I studies ballet and modern, teachers generally had a more standardized way of writing out choreographies, but I've never seen one used for BD.


New member

Labanotation is the most widely accepted dance notation system, and the most widely taught in universities. There is actually a Laban school in London, but they do much more than just teach notation there, I believe. It is a fully accredited university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance, with, I believe, an emphasis on contemporary or modern dance.

That being said, I think that written dance notation is laborious, time consuming, and probably obsolete practice, with the advent of video. Filming a dance from multiple angles is probably much more effective at preserving and, whenever desired, reconstructing choreography.


New member
The dancewriting looks cool, but I wonder how easy it would be to adapt to BD?

I found >> THIS <<, a dancers shorthand which looks to be adaptable, but I don't know how good it is, and if you'd spend more time trying to remember what the squiggles mean as opposed to writing the moves out in full.

I don't use a shorthand to write down movements - it's hard enough trying to read my own writing longhand! :D