Sam Creely

DanceNotes leans into dance’s historically unsuccessful relationship with written documentation. If notation is an instrument for comprehension, preservation, and iteration, DanceNotes is an experiment in notation dedicated to refractory, malleable, and plural knowledges, and to re-contextualized genealogies of movement.
Throughout this research project, we’ll explore the political dimensions of expressive action. The team can expect a series of movement workshops, poetry workshops, notation experiments, bookbinding and zine making workshops, self-guided research prompts, and guest workshops. We’ll also research existing notational systems, parse distinctions between notational, computational, and literary knowledges, and engage relevant theories of gender, sexuality, race, ability, and class in our approach to analyzing movement and gesture.
Suspecting that Documentary Poetics might have something to offer Performance Studies, and vice versa, DanceNotes will operate at a junction of these fields that recognizes the origins of the documentary impulse in colonial and homophobic traditions. Documentary Poetics, while pursuing an interest in the registration and inscription of traces (why we leave them, what shapes the historical moment of their emergence, and the challenges of writing either from or toward the archive while registering its indexical sorrows and absurdities), has developed an ethical concern with the ways documents abstract the lives of the subjects they encounter. Contemporary performance theory expresses similar anxieties about the transcription of bodies in writing occurring at the expense of ephemeral knowledge. If a foundational tenet of notating dance has been the taxonomization and cataloguing of bodies in motion for the purpose of establishing a universal lexical system, DanceNotes will aim to shift these discourses toward a poetic-notational practice that starts with a broad understanding of embodiment as always multiply legible.
Researchers + Guests
Lead Researchers: Sam Creely, Pia Sazani
Researchers: Kate Ladenheim, Melody Ling, Alana Zhang
Guest Workshop Leaders: Gabrielle Civil, Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Elise Co
Visitors: Nanyi Jiang, An Pan, Ceci Lynn-Jacobs, Brendan Drake
Images 1: stills from “Animating Death,” by Kate Ladenheim

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