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Labanotation : From Researching on Dance Vocabularies to the Studies of the Essence of Thai Classical Dance A lecture for the 26th International Biennial Conference of ICKL Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University 4th August 2009 Assoc.Prof.CHOMMANAD KIJKHUN,Ph.D.
The development of Thai classical dance scholarship in connection with the new innovation SPAFA (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts) “A Dictionary/Database of Classical Ballet Terminology” , written by Prof. Rhonda Ryman Waterloo University, Canada
1st research project : The development of Thai Dance Vocabulary Notation with Labanotation 2nd research project : The Essence of Thai Male Classical Dance The methodologies and the outputs of applying Labanotation to Thai dance research
1st research project : The development of Thai Dance Vocabulary Notation with Labanotation One general problem in Thai dance circle is that the used dance vocabularies are understood only within peer groups Those from other groups are not accepted although many of these various groups got basic trainings on the similar songs or dance repertoires, and possibly from same masters.
AS a result, there is neither standard nor common practice in naming similar patterns of posturing or movement. Some sharing dance vocabularies feature different postures, while some similar postures are differently named. Ironically, graduates from the same schools use dissimilar vocabularies, resulting extreme confusion No one can be authorized enough to finalize any agreeable vocabularies to be widely used.
Objective • To develop Thai classical dance vocabularies based on Labanotation. • To survey the efficiency on the application of Labanotation in noting Thai classical dance vocabularies. • To survey opinion of students and relating people in Thai classical dance circle towards such application of Labanotation.
Labanotation is a new innovation in Thailand which can be applied in noting Thai classical dance vocabulariesin an universal and standard way.
Methodology • Surveying dance vocabularies appeared and explained in documents, including interviewing dance artists, senior masters and experts • Creating a checklist by arranging the given dance vocabularies into alphabetical order.
Methodology 3. Inviting30 experts in teaching and/or performing Thai classical dance to sort only the vocabularies danced by male characters. Bringing the relevant vocabularies from the second stage to be arranged in the order of their frequent.
Methodology 4. Bringing the given list from the third stage to a group of five experts and ask them to select the final list These choices in the final list were brought for the following stage of studying
Methodology 5. Inviting four masters who are honored as National Artist and one Distinguished Person on culture to dance the screened vocabularies. Recording those dances in VTR, and noting them with Labanotation system.
Methodology 6. Forwarding those noted vacabularies to : - Prof. Rhonda Ryman - Prof. Jang Ling Ling to check the accuracy of notations, especially whether they correctly follow the Labanotation system.
Methodology 7. Organizing a workshop seminar on the topic “Dance Vocabularies : Labanotation” The given results are analyzed by statistical methods by means of - frequency-based - percentile-based calculation.
The research results are not presented here because I would like to discuss only the topic of applying Labanotation into the studies of Thai classical dance, but they are available in the distributed papers.
2nd research project : The Essence of Thai Male Classical Dance Thai classical dance…. • has been conventionally taught by means of copying what one sees. • has been transcended by this approach for generations. Amidst the current streams of cultural and artistic copying, exchanges, diversifying and hybridization, unless sufficient and proper archiving, the essence of Thai classical dance would become unrecognized and eventually extinct.
Objective • To explore the components • To analyze the structure • To study the grammar of the essence of male character (tua-phra) of court dance drama.
The research framework • Engages synthesizing concepts and theories which relate to the significance of the essence of Thai male character dance. • Eastern and Western theoretical approaches to analyze body movements. • Three standard sets of standard etudes among Thai classical dance trainings (pleng-char, pleng-raew, pleng-mae bot)
The research framework • Linguistics theory. • Visual arts theory and the law of naturalistic commonalities. • Interviewing the experts. • The analysis is based on the subjects of pleng-char, pleng-raew and pleng-mae bot, transcended by court style dancers.
Methodology In reaching my objective, I explored several stages of experimentations as following : Step 1 : studied the basic concept of Anatomy Step 2 : Explored 108 ‘garana’ movements of the god Siva as a guideline in analyzing the components and structure of Thai dance essence.
The failure of this project was from ambiguously interpreting the written dance patterns to be physical movement without any record of bridging movement from one pattern to the following.
Methodology Step 3 : adapted some symbols to stand for human body parts and movements Verbal explanation is not enough to correctly illustrate the true postures and movements
Methodology Step 4 : tried creating a model in analyzing body movement chart-based approach cannot feature details of body movement.
Methodology Step 5 : working out applied Labanotation by noting pleng char and pleng raew movements according to the tempo of ‘ta-pone’, a major percussion instrument ta-pone
The outputs from both researches I have mentioned have been written and extensively discussed in these two books here. my summarized versions available in the document which I gave to you. Please have a look.
THANK YOU CHOMMANAD KIJKHUN THANK YOU CHOMMANAD KIJKHUN