The Art of Choreology

During the past month, Jane Bourne has been in the studios staging John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. Jane teaches in a different way than our dancers are accustomed to…she teaches the ballet through choreology. Choreology (developed by Joan and Rudolf Benesh and also known as Benesh Movement Notation) is a system of dance notations. Choreologists like Jane use notations that have a five line stave that reads from left to right with bar lines to mark the passage of time (like in music). The five lines coincide with the head, shoulders, waist, knees and floor (from top to bottom) of the dancer. Other signs are used to notate the dimension and quality of the movement.

Jane studied dance notation at the Benesh Institute of Choreology. She has worked with ballet companies all over the world including The National Ballet of Canada, National Ballet of China, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet, among many others.

These are some examples of dance notations. It really does look like sheet music!