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.

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.