Ask the Experts: An App for Notating Choreography

Is there an app you recommend for students to notate choreography?

I have a Level 1 certification in Language of Dance—a dance notation system—and it’s a big part of my curriculum for the lower grades. I’m working on an app version with the LOD Center right now, but until we release it, I’ve found a workaround: note-taking apps. I recommend MyScript Memo, SmartNote, TopNotes, Noteshelf and Notability.

These apps share many basic features, like an easy interface with a menu running along the top of the screen that allows the user to choose a writing utensil, the width of the mark and the color. You can even choose the “paper” you’re writing on, which means students can notate their dances on grid paper to keep it orderly.

Most note-taking apps also allow you to select something you’ve created and manipulate it. This means your students can write a motif symbol and then resize, move, copy or paste it. If you want to keep the symbols uniform, load pictures of various motif symbols into the photo library. This allows students to easily import them into their dance scores. All of these apps let your students save their dances.

The handful of features that separate the paid apps (Noteshelf and Notability) from the free ones include allowing you to have the heel of your hand on the screen while you write (especially useful if you’re using a stylus) and adding video or audio to a document.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.