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

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