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Deborah Friedes interviews Michal Shoshani about Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation

We take it for granted that symphonies are scored in musical notation and plays are written in scripts.  But did you know that there are ways to write down dance?

There are many forms of dance notation, from the Beauchamp-Feuillet notation of the Baroque era to Labanotation, which has recorded many ballets and modern dances of the twentieth century.  And one form of notation – Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation (EWMN) – was developed here in Israel by Noa Eshkol and Avraham Wachman.  EWMN is used to notate a variety of movement systems besides dance, including Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, and sign language.  It also can be used to generate movement for new dances, and many dance teachers in Israel use the system when they work with children.  Intrigued?  Listen as Michal Shoshani, an expert in EWMN who worked with Noa Eshkol, offers an inside view of the notation system’s origins, principles, and usages.

Noa Eshkol courtesy of  Michal ShoshaniNoa Eshkol courtesy of Michal ShoshaniEshkol-Wachman Movement Notation of an Israeli Hora dance. Published by Noa Eshkol and Shmuel Seidel in In The Steps of the Hora. (Tel Aviv: The Movement Notation Society, 1986. Courtesy of Michal Shoshani).“IV. SCALES” Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation of Noa Eshkol’s “Scales,” a dance for 3 performers (labeled with the Hebrew letters aleph, bet, and gimel).  Published by Noa Eshkol in Angles and Angels (Tel Aviv: The Movement Notation Society, 1990.  Courtesy of Michal Shoshani). A visual representation of the arm movements in Noa Eshkol’s Angles and Angels in stick figures and space chords. If the arms left visual traces in the air, they would look like the geometric space chords. Published by Noa Eshkol in Angles and Angels (Tel Aviv: The Movement Notation Society, 1990. Courtesy of Michal Shoshani).

John Harries, Ilana Inbar, Dalia Yaski, Ilana Banai, and Racheli Nul of the Chamber Dance Group in Noa Eshkol’s Twenty-four Preludes (an unpublished score).  Photograph taken in 1965.  Published in EWMN: Part I by Noa Eshkol with John Harries (Tel Aviv: The Movement Notation Society: 2001.  Courtesy of Michal Shoshani).

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