Dance, Why Don't You?
Before videotape, before television or movies, an accurate and consistent method of recording movement and choreography was sought. Several graphic systems were devised over the years, the most thorough and sophisticated of which was and is Labanotation, originated by Rudolf Laban in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
Unlike other systems which used the musical staff as either a basis or point of departure, Labanotationutilizes a pictorial method which was in turn based on an earlier, eighteenth-century notation.
The series Dance, Why Don’t You? began several years ago as a way of simultaneously exploring several ideas that have long intrigued me: movement and time; the concepts of language and symbol; the transliteration and transcription of forms, from the two- to the three-dimensional; the visibility of content – the (literally) readable vs. the unreadable. Lastly, it was a way of working through and using my own past training as a dancer a lifetime ago.
The Dance, Why Don’t You? pieces each represent a section – anywhere from two to eight to sixteen musical bars – of a popular dance form as written in Labanotation, e.g., fox trot, lindy, shuffle step, etc.
In each case, by presenting the work monochromatically, the movements have been made unreadable, hence the series’ title.