From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

Final Thesis PDF

File:Assignment Thesis Karina Dukalska.pdf

Word count track (February-May)
File:Thesis chapters word count Karina.pdf

20 MAR

Meeting with Delphine

The Private Is Political Legwear by Beau Rhee (Delphine's former student)

Médiathèque et collections

Centre National de la danse Médiathèque

Archives Liées À Rudolf Noureev

Sinology Institute

22 FEB

Meeting with Marloes
'History of Notation' can be longer - it's alright

  • if it's necessary, emphasise it
  • explain emphasis in intro

out of context is one thing, not passing the vibe is another
failure / success
not preserved as is due to migration / economic context

... (type up rest of notes)

12 FEB

organising my thoughts at Bagels and Beans
problem with archiving dance
... (type up notes)


Meeting with Irma
do you need to be part of the community to swing dance?
are you forced to a social lifestyle?

communication model
listening lead / follow

movies (dirty dancing) create magic - they are not real
they want the audience to be part of culture
find movies / videoclips that use swing
first fall in love, then learn the steps - the way to inspire

explain body connection - touching side by side

  • experiment skin to skin for 20 seconds
  • experiment eye contact for 4 minutes
  • experiment brainwaves / brain coupling (Jason Silva)


Meeting with Marloes
change 'fix' to 'open approach'

improv -> characteristic dance in first chapter
can we improv? how?

improv in Cage and Cunningham
they don't want it to be reproducible

merge chapters: history + what works / doesn't
cunningham: explain notation, not just history and personal life

culture -> fashion?
did flat shoes liberate steps?
or did the steps force a change in fashion?

'data' -> complex as experience, complex as dance

27 FEB

YouTube: Lucy Worsley's Dancing Cheek to Cheek Episode 1 The Devil's Work

30 JAN

Vox: Why danger symbols can’t last forever

"In 1984, the German Journal of Semiotics published a series of solutions from various scholars. Linguist Thomas Sebeok proposed creating an atomic priesthood, where an exclusive political group would use its own rituals and myths to preserve information about the radioactive areas.

And philosophers François Bastide and Paolo Fabbri proposed to genetically engineer bioluminescent cats that would glow in the presence of radioactivity. By creating songs and traditions about the danger of glowing cats, the warning could last as long as the oldest relics of civilization we have: culture.

There’s no definitive solution for warning people far into the future. But designing clear, inclusive symbols will continue to be a fundamental part of how we keep people safe. We will change, and so will the ways we communicate visually. Our warning symbols will have to change along with us."

29 JAN

structure to a Foxtrot workshop I'll be giving on 10th February - Party Like it's 1929
could / should I use this as an experiment?


  • Demo
  • History
  • Curtsy and bow, not high five rotate


  • Swaying together to get comfortable

Basic (zig zags)

  • Step step side close (outwards / inwards)
  • Direction of travel

Rock rock

  • Instead of step step
  • Always ends with side close


  • Open body / connection in arm
  • Try with hand
  • Try with no hand

Promenade with underarm turn

  • Show but not teach
  • Give it a go

Sway vs walk

  • To save time / distance

24 JAN

Transcribed interview with Earanee Niedzwiecki
'K' substitutes my explanations and questions
cut out intro chit chat

Yup no worries. Ok, a sentence or two.
My name is Earanee Niedzwiecki. I am a dancer from Adelaide, Australia. I have lived and danced Lindy Hop in a few different places around the world. Most recently, I’ve been based in Melbourne in Australia. Well actually, most recently I've been based in Luxembourg for the past 2 months or so, teaching a Swing dance residency here with another instructor, Adam Brozowski. I have been dancing Lindy Hop for maybe a little bit over 7 years, so relative to some teachers, not so long. But sorta fell madly passionately in love with it after the first lesson, and I've done a lot of travelling since then to try and explore kinda what the dance is like in a lot of different places. For me, a lot of the interests comes from seeing what happens in different communities and seeing what preferences different communities have. Visiting a city in the States and going to their local social dances for a week or something and meeting people there and seeing what their tastes and interests are. That has been my way of travelling around exploring as well as attending big events. For myself I'm very much invested in the connection that Lindy Hop can create between people. And not necessarily even thinking about it as a community, although that's kinda what ends up happening, but thinking more about sharing with others and building empathy and interest in other people.


So 2010, sometime in the earlier part of the year I guess. So probably, yea maybe, I can’t remember. It was around a friend’s birthday, so probably would have been April I guess.


When I was young, very very very very young, I did jazz ballet. Unfortunately, that was not something I was able to keep doing growing up for reasons, you know, just family wise, that didn’t really work out. Other than that I've done, I haven't studied anything else in length. I did a little bit of different kind of dance, but not so much probably other than swing kind of umbrella dances. I’ve done African dance the most, but even then, it’s probably in this last year, that I have really started getting into that. And that was taking classes in Melbourne.


Yeah it's really good yeah. You really start to see some of the influences in jazz dance, like where they come from when you learn African dance. And I mean African dance again is such an umbrella term. There's a whole continent there of dance, traditional kind of dance styles and some not so traditional too. The teacher that we had in Melbourne was I believe from Ghana and he taught us dance that was sort of from his region but also he tried to give us a taste of some dances from other places in Africa too. It's also all about rhythm. It's about moving the whole body, which I think is really good, especially for swing dancers. We tend to focus on connecting with our partner and feet a lot. But African is really great just getting everything to move.


I guess I touched on it in the intro. I guess connecting with other people is why I like it the most. And I like the improvisational nature of it too. I think there’s a certain.. when something is done in the moment there is a certain kind of expression and a certain freedom that you can’t really get from choreographed dance. Every social dance you ever have in your life, as a social dancer, is different. Particularly in something like Lindy Hop where, you know, we’ve really tried really hard not to standardise a dance, so there's quite a lot of freedom in how you choose to express yourself and what influences you can draw from. Because of course we have these fundamental steps and ideas that come from when the dance originated, but the individual is allowed to bring a lot to the dance themselves. For many of us we were influenced by the culture that we’ve grown up in. So whether that’s people who, you know, have been dancing now for a really long time, maybe they went out in the 70s and went clubbing and they are influenced by disco. Or people on this kind of area Influenced by hip hop or contemporary dance or these other things.

My battery running low. Hold on a second. Yea. I will have to pause.
So I guess it’s the freedom and that’s what I like about social dancing vs. performance. I think there’s a different.. You connect with the person you dance in a different way when it’s improvised. You also connect with the music in a different way when it improvised.


Yea, yea, yea it does


Yea particularly, like for a lot of people that come to this dance, maybe they know the music a little bit, but it’s often quite unfamiliar to people. So, you know, if you've grown up since you were kid with soul music for example, like kind of figuring out how to move to that, it’s a little bit more, maybe you don't have a whole bunch of moves but at least kinda the feeling is there of how it works. Whereas with jazz, modern Lindy Hoppers don’t have much exposure to Jazz, or really even thinking about moving to Jazz. So yea, it’s definitely, just working out how to get into the groove of it is a whole ‘nother thing.


Maybe, but I wouldn’t recognise it by it’s name


Oh my god! That is amazing!


Yea ok. There’s a dancer, I don’t know if you’ve spoken to her yet. Irene, she’s Greek. She's actually teaching in Luxembourg this weekend, at the same workshop Adam and I are teaching at. If I recall correctly, she does visual art, some kind of art, something. I don’t know her very well. Should did some kind of project that involved this, I don't know if it's this particular type, but it was some kind of dance language notation. So she might be a good person to talk to about this stuff because she, I don't know how much research is done, she might know some stuff about that too. Might have thought about all of this stuff.


I don't really have a system. I would say that, for me, I think that one of the reasons I'm drawn to dance, I think, is that I'm a very visual learner. So I tend to learn by audio and by watching. I have a good sense of direction, I have a good memory for where I've been, places, that I can kind of remember what a movement looks like. And then my goal is to try to of emulate the feeling in the best way that I can. Terrible memory for anything in writing. Absolutely horrible. So for me, I think, rhythm is kind of where I try to start. I think that is often something that newer students maybe miss. Either it is something that they are not very practiced in kinda training in their mind to really kinda understand rhythm. If they are not, you know, musicians or something. A lot of people don't have that much of a sense for it, particularly Western cultures these days. I think really relying on understanding the rhythm that you are going for, informs a lot of the movement. The way that you articulate that sort of vocally, doesn't have to necessarily be about exactly when your foot hits the ground. You can also, like, skating for example. You can use that to articulate movements that are in the arms or in the legs when they are not making, when something isn't making a sound. For myself, I guess, I try to watch and learn and really internalise the rhythm that the person is kinda getting or going for, and then I use that as a kind of basis for everything else. As far as further systems, we do have video. So learning by video is the other way.


Yea, I don't know about that. Maybe there would be some way of taking an old clip that doesn't have audio. And I don't know how anyone would ever do this, but translating the footwork into some kind of rhythm, or particular shapes, or yea, movements, whatever, into sounds, that maybe would help people to learn. But then again, I think also The way that a particular movement sounds is going to be different for different people because, I think, I mean, even with scatting I find in classes, like if I'm teaching with somebody else and we want to scat a rhythm of something that were teaching, each of us will have a different way of articulating that. So yeah, I think there's a difficulty because so much of it is genuinely, I think, an intangible kind of feeling that is experienced. And how to put that in words, or sounds or visuals is quite challenging, I think.


The dance context, uuh, fuck, I don't know. I guess, there's kind of few things that play when it comes to a social dance. I think is hearing the music in a similar or at least a complementary way. There was someone that I danced with a lot back in Adelaide that I also taught with a lot, and he and I have a very similar ear for music. In fact some of what I hear, or what I focus on in the music may be developed by dancing with him a lot too. So we would kind of hit the same things, or feel like there is a certain connectivity in that, like “Oh cool we both, you know, hear the same thing and we both managed to do the same thing at the same time and that was cool”. One of my, ‘‘dancing partner’, is a very loose term because we lived in very different places for most of our time dancing together. But we taught workshops, he’s a dancer, kind of from Australia, New Zealand, every country, Sri Lanka, but he and I have always had a very very connected dance chemistry, even from when we were fairly new dancers. And a lot of that is not necessarily from hearing the same way but hearing music in a way that was complimentary. So maybe we would hit different things, but we would know the thing I would do, would be complementary to what he would do. Then would also learn how to draw from each other. I think also just the dynamics of that lead-follow connection that makes a bit of a difference to chemistry in a Lindy Hop context, because, as I said before, there is so much freedom in the way that we do these dances. That, you know, you have these different styles. You have the Harlem Savoy style which is Frankie Manning’s way of doing Lindy Hop. That kind of inspiration. Then you have, you know, more so in the old days The Hollywood kind of style of Lindy Hop and the way of connecting in those two dances. There is a lot of shared similarities and people who do both of those, at least now they can find ways to connect with each other and have a perfectly successful and fun social dance. But I think, like, people who are on the opposite ends of the spectrum are less likely to kinda have as of a connected chemistry, as maybe if they danced with someone who's got a more similar style of connecting physically and articulating the rhythm. So there's all of this kind of stuff at play, but I also think openness is just, it makes a big difference to the kind of chemistry that you can develop with someone as a dancer. People who really are attentive to their partner, and try to remain open to the possibilities, open to surprise and all this kind of stuff, like, those kind of dancers often are able to just connect better and build better chemistry with people around them. So if you have two people who are like that dancing together that’s something special, as opposed to someone who is open and someone who is closed off from their partner.


[25:00] hands on mouth- very interested


Hmm, that’s a very interesting question. Well, I’m probably, not the best person to ask because I started dancing after Frankie passed away, so I never had the fortunate learning from him. I guess I have learned from Norma Miller and from Dawn Hampton who both are, Norma still is, both very pivotal in kinda sharing the dance and the feeling of the dance with everybody. I don’t know that it wouldn’t done. And this maybe comes down to something you are trying to look into, is that, is I think without those, without Frankie, or without those connection to the way the dance was done, I don’t know that people would have really been able to capture exactly the feeling, especially of social dancing because you can watch, I mean, most of the videos that are available are choreography, even from the Savoy ballroom. From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly contests. A lot of the social dancing videos that are out there, is stuff that, you know, is basic things, tuck turns and so on, and stuff from choreographies, so it’s not, not as open in what’s being shared between people. A lot of the times music is faster too, it captures a specific bracket of what a dance is. I think, from what I’ve heard from others too, I’m sure that Adam or someone can speak more about this, but, I think someone like Frankie and someone like Dawn too, Frankie really, you can see it when you see him dance, social dance as an older person, you can really see how open he is. A lot of people say that he was really really loving and really caring and wanted to share things with people, was really happy, and not protective, or defensive, he was just very open, sharing kind of person. I think him coming to the scene teaching people, not just the steps, but how to be open with each other and how to treat each other, I think that really helped him form people's understanding of what the dance is meant to be. Perhaps without those kinds of connections, it might not have had a true resurgence. It might have been more, like, something like a lot of rock and roll to me ends up looking like - a lot of moves, but not necessarily a lot of heart.


For me probably, would have been questions about the music. About his experience with the music, and maybe a little bit less about the dance, because I feel like you can read a lot of that from watching him dance. I guess I wanna know a little more about the music that was played at the Savoy, because I’m aware from his book and other places that there was a range of tempos. Chick Webb’s Band played, but there were also other bands. I’m particularly interested in the scope of the music that was social danced to and the dynamics of the ballroom, outside of the Cat’s Corner and the contests. Something along those lines.


[30:20] I don’t know. I don’t think I know either one of them well enough to know what their answer would be. I think both of them would have different answers on how we can archive the dance. I think, like a lot of these kinds of, particularly a lot of the stuff comes out of African culture, African American culture, and the lot of indigenous cultures as well, is very much things being passed on verbally, or by song or by dance - word of mouth. I think, as much as we can strive to record the dance so that it can continue to be done in exactly the same way, I don’t really know there’s a way to do that, because much of it is feeling. And I think actually the dance today is very, in so many ways, very different to what it was. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as long as there’s a strong tradition of really trying to understand and connect to the music. The music is always going to keep the dance true to its origins. Whereas west coast swing for example is something that diverged wholly. It’s not a swing dance anymore. The dance is a swing dance, but the music is not swing. So is it a swing dance? As long as the music and that rhythm is at the root of what we are doing, I think that actually for it to evolve over time, for it to change and adapt to people who are doing, is a good thing. It captures what the people who are doing it need.



  1. Oh my god, oh my god. Shiny Stockings, but not if I have to hear it all the time.
  2. I had a dance with my friend, that I mentioned earlier, his name is Charith. We had a dance in Australia a year and a half ago, or so. It was like floating on a cloud. And I've heard so many good social dances. It was the most connected and joyful, rhythmic and simple, beautiful dance. That's my best memory.
  3. I haven't done it yet so, but I’m hopefully going to at the end of the year, so it could be absolutely horrible. But I think something at the event Lindy Focus because of the kind of approach that Michael Gamble and his wife … (Jay) have to the dance and the stuff that they try to showcase in the community and build in the community. Their values are close to my values, and being a part of that would be really great.
  4. Sorry everyone. Charith, Charith.
  5. Oh 40?! Ha, either. That’s so slow.
  6. All the best dance shoes I ever had were street shoes that I bought. But dance shoes, I had a really good pair of Balboa Zins.
  7. The boots that I bought from the street. The brand was called to Briar Vista (?). It's really good.
  8. That I've seen? But it’s kinda a social dance, but Dawn Hampton dancing at Herrang.
  9. Well kinda the US. I could say Sweden probably pretty happily. Lithuanians are amazing. I love Australia obviously. But the US has all of these people who we don't see in videos, who have been dancing for forever, who really get it. So the US.
  10. I don't think I can answer that. I really don't know. Swing out!

18 JAN

Meeting with Marloes

'why do we archive?' - either intro or chapter 1

  • if intro, only 1 paragraph
  • wikipedia-esque: archiving is...
  • "people attempted archiving dance..."

Annet's book might not be so relevant - read it though

Swing may be a 'rich' culture - teachers travelling from NY get paid more to teach in Europe. Might not be the same for African teachers giving Kizomba classes

180118 thesis outline chapters.jpg

flow / order of experiments and explanations doesn't have to be chronological, can be Tarantino style

  1. experiment #4
  2. to understand more, take you back to the beginning
  3. experiment #1-3
  4. then bring back to present (?)

find main question per branch

intro: "this is a follow up from previous practise.."
similar text to project proposal - what / why / how

chap#: how people made notations before?
chap#: how could I tackle this?


Extension to 'Experiment: dancing where it all started'?

Go again to the Frim Fram Jam to see whether experience changed / is the same

  • many people weren't there on the 28th December due to weather, Christmas break and Lindy Focus (a large Swing festival in Asheville that same week)
  • the more advanced dancers go to these festivals, will it be overwhelming being around them if they join the Frim Fram Jam?
  • how much will the skill level go up? will the general expectations be higher? will I feel like a complete beginner?
  • will I recognise people from last time?
  • will I manage to talk / dance with the elderly man in the 3 piece suit? - he will definitely be able to tell me about how the dance and atmosphere evolved over time


BBC: Is this the ‘sexiest dance ever’?

The Angolan dance, Kizomba, is known by many as “the sexiest dance ever”. But, teachers say the sensual moves from Angola have been misinterpreted as sexual.

Transcribed text from video:

Women all over the world are learning to dance like this. From here in Sweden and Holland to the US. They call it kizomba. Kizomba is usually danced in couples. It has been called the sexiest dance ever.

People say it's changed a lot from its origins here in Angola. One of the critics in singer C4 Pedro, who is known as the king of kizomba. "Some Angolans decided to become teachers and they didn't teach exactly the same kizomba as we do in Angola. It's easier." In Angola, kizomba is also less 'sexy' and more for family parties.

This is one of the dancers who took kizomba to Europe. Many people like him left when war broke out in 1992. Ney Corte: "Kizomba is my life, you know. In Kizomba the dancers can be closer. It's closer here [taps on chest]. The lady, sometimes, she can sleep here. That is kizomba. I went to do a show in Portugal in 1992. After we saw on TV that Angola was in a big war, we saw it was not good to go back. That's why we stayed (in Europe)."

In 2012, ten years after the war ended, Ney returned home. But people in Europe still want to learn the dance, like at this packed club in London. Lots of students discovered kizomba through internet videos. Nicky (kizomba student): "I have a really good girlfriend who lives in Mexico, and she sent me a YouTube of a very famous urban kiz dance couple, Felician and Isabella. I watched their video and I was really inspired by it. So I jumped on a plane to France and I did some dance classes with them."

Freezy Bruce (kizomba teacher): "If you go on the internet you'll see many videos about kizomba, but mostly people don't know exactly what is kizomba. There are a lot of people dancing something else that is not kizomba. Kizomba is mostly social dancing. You can dance with your son, a father can dance with his daughter. People need to understand the difference. It's really sensual, not sexual." Nicky: "It's not a dance for how you look, it's a dance for how you feel."

29 DEC

Experiment: dancing where it all started

Joined the Frim Fram Jam in Manhattan

As Swing originated in Harlem, and so many of the finest Swing dancers come from America, I wanted to find out what it’ll be like to join a social in New York City. What differs from back home? What stays the same? Is the culture any different? Are they all way better dancers? Will it be clear I’m an outsider in the community? After a quick search, I found a website of the NY Swing community with a list of all upcoming events. Some locations, like Jazz 41(?), sounded fun in the description on Facebook, but after googling it, it seemed as if not many people go there, and the crowd is quite a bit older. The name ‘YSBD’ popped up a few times on people’s comments on Facebook, so I decided to look that up. It’s a dance school ‘You Should Be Dancing’. Thanks to the magic of Facebook I found out that Adam Brozowski liked that page and checked in that location. That was a good enough sign for me - ready to party.

The event was at the dance school itself. At first it did’t excite me too much, until I remembered that the Swing community rents out a room and has socials at Cuartito Azul, a tango dance school, once a month. Those socials are always so cozy, that if it would be similar, I shouldn't worry that it would feel like dancing in a practice studio - full lights on, mirrors everywhere, no cosy vibe, just gym.

Upon arrival I was very excited. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to dance with some locals. The vibe in the room seemed a little calm - there weren’t many people there - but I had a feeling it would get busy and warm up. I paid my $7 entrance fee, changed out of my layer-upon-layer winter survival kit and said hello to the first person sitting next to me. My aim there wasn’t only to dance, but also to get to know the community, their their individual stories, to get a grasp of how this community may differ from (my own) the one in Rotterdam. Dennis is a sweet, elderly, black American man that seemed like dancing was his second nature. In Holland, when getting to know new people, the first two things that are exchanged are names and dancing experience. I was too afraid to ask Dennis about his dancing background, as I was afraid his answer could possibly be the obvious one - he got brought up with it. He did seem more in his 60s or early 70s though, so from hindsight he definitely live during the birth of Swing. He introduced me a little to the local culture and how men are the ones who usually ask for the dance. In Holland it really is a 50/50. I asked him whether he knew many people in the room, as I really felt like an outsider at that moment, and he said that he recognises many, but doesn't interact with them outside the socials. That sounds about the same in Holland, although we did recently create a small group of about five to ten people I spend time with outside of classes and socials. Before sharing a dance or two with Dennis I was a little afraid of my (lack of) skill compared to his, but we had a good time. There was a good connection, we smiled and sometimes laughed throughout. Simple, but sweet. I thanked him and straight away got asked by someone else for a dance.

This man’s name shall be ‘Young Michael Jackson’ as I forgot his actual name, and later that night we had a small inside joke how many people think he really resembles Michael. His posture and body connection caught my eye straight away the moment we got into ‘formation’ to start dancing. I thought maybe it’s a local thing, maybe he will surpass me with something crazy, have we been doing it wrong all along in Holland? Not really, turns out he’s a beginner. Just before the social he had a one hour workshop in Lindy Hop and that’s all. I was impressed with how much he already picked up within an hour. He knew two or three simple steps, but he did them fairly well. Sometimes he would mess up his rhythm and we would take a short break of a few counts, and get back into it. I don’t mind dancing with beginners - it makes me focus on the basics and not take the easy steps for granted. He asked about my experience and whether I could teach him some other move. I thought deeply about which one wouldn't be too difficult to learn, nor to teach, and a move that would come in handy for him. Tuck-turn it is! It took us a few trials to get it right, but by the end of the song he was ready. We practised it for another song, mixing it with other steps he already knew.

I took a short break and sat down on the benches on the side for a moment. Immediately I introduced myself to the lady next to me. Jodi and I clicked right away. She told me about her twenty year dance experience and how she tried it all. She recommended I look into ‘Samba de Gafiera’. It’s meant to be a fun mix between Swing and Latin - the two dance styles I love the most! After going to get a Cola from the small bar that was in the room I asked Jodi whether people drink alcohol at these, or any other Swing events. She told me how venues would cancel Swing socials just because it wasn’t profitable for them, as many just drink water. I burst with excitement (?) explaining how it is just the same in Holland. At that moment, when glancing around the room, it hit me - the atmosphere / the vibe, the culture, it’s just the same back home. Isn’t it incredible that across the world a community can feel just the same? “It’s because we’re all speaking the same language” Jodi said, “the language of dance”.

I danced with a few more people that night, don’t remember all the names though. (Broad shoulder man in red shirt) was a great dancer, he was a good lead who listened and let me improvise, we shared a laugh here and there, overall good dance. (Older white man) who only came to socials, doesn’t take classes, was a good dancer, but we didn’t have a connection. (Asian man) and I had no connection, possibly because he had a repetoir of three to four moves, only spins, I got dizzy. I danced with a very good dancer from London who came to New York for business. He came to the social to have some fun between working. He, just like me, searched and found a Swing social online. He really put in his heart and soul in his steps. Just like Christina … said, “you need to be committed to every step”. He did, and that’s why he looked, and is a great dancer. Best connection was with Art (short with glasses) and Thomas (very tall) - we just had a good time. Good connection, easy to listen and respond to one another.

Olivia caught my eye earlier that night. She looked like she was floating on a cloud, always with a big smile on her face. Whoever she danced with, she was present and enjoying every moment. I managed to talk to her by the end of the night. She told me that she comes down to NY to visit her family a few times a year. She said that the vibe of the communities is the same anywhere she goes. There were two things I realised were clearly different between the two communities: fashion and music. In Holland people put a tiny bit of effort to dress up for socials, whether a shirt and nice pants, a dress or 40s styled skirt. That night in Manhattan people mostly wore casual wear. Maybe it was due to the weather, or it wasn’t part of their culture. With regards to music, in Holland there is a lot more classics, such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, whereas during this social in Manhattan the music was slightly more rock n’ roll or slightly more country. I hardly recognised any of the songs. The only music we shared a dancing passion for was some sweet Ella Fitzgerald.

I was already slowly preparing to leave, and there was an announcement about upcoming workshops and I heard someone shout “birthday circle”. I was happily shocked to find out that not only the concept, but even the term is the same as back home. A birthday circle is when the birthday boy / girl dances in the middle and people around them try to steel a dance from them. Suddenly one of the leads I danced with earlier asked me to come to the middle of the circle too. I didn't understand what was going on. Turns out that they also get anyone visiting to join in the circle too. There was a woman from Spain and another from Israel that joined in too. It was a sweet addition to the tradition that I know. I will share it with the Dutch community.


28 DEC
Going tonight!

Thursday, December 28 / Thursday, January 4, 9 pm - 1 am

27 DEC

for thesis text - probably intro

  • Why do we archive?
    • Examples of notation systems throughout history
      • Medieval family tree manuscripts in church documents? To keep track of goods?
      • Paintings of royalty, battles of still life (showing wealth, power and trade)
      • Beginning of photography - archive family members and the dead (cheaper, faster and more accessible than paintings)
      • Development of photography during WW1 - documenting politics, not artistic medium
      • Nowadays Instagram - for us to hoard / share memories
    • Aims of archiving
      • The need to pass down knowledge
      • To document something important (culture / history / politics)
      • Why / how did some information (language / culture) succeed / fail being documented?
      • Human-to-human (mouth-to-mouth?)
        • Successful: for the masses, even for the illiterate, it’s quick, no materials needed, can be altered throughout history (political perspectives change)
        • Not so successful: smaller access, needs time to record, needs a medium / material, can change accidentally (Chinese whispers) or on purpose (to gain political power? to change history), information alters depending who passes it down (bias)

Archive systems throughout history / around the world

Chinese Ancestor: Zupu 族谱 - genealogy book

Chinese Family History: Chinese Clan & Family Histories

"Although many family genealogy books dating from the 9th to 13th centuries to modern times were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, families may have handwritten or printed copies either in the ancestral village or brought with them to the United States. The village birthplace and burial site for each male relative may be listed. The books trace the male lineage from the first progenitor to the present. Wives and sometimes daughters were listed, but matriarchal lines were not usually traced."

26 DEC

Quotes that could be used within thesis
Anyone from the Whitney Lindy Hoppers would be great
horribly old websites about Whitney Lindy Hoppers here and here
most popular dancers

  • Leon James
  • Dorothy "Dot" Johnson
  • Frankie Manning
  • Norma Miller
  • Al Minns
  • Short George Snowden

Related to connection and non-verbal communication

"When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes, you are in love with each other. You're corresponding with each other by the moves that you make. It's a love affair, between you and your partner and the music. You feel the music, you feel your partner, she feels you and she feels the music. So there the three of you are together. You've got a triangle, you know. Which one do you love best?" - Frankie Manning from AZ quotes

Related to culture passed down in Swing

"Music played a large role in the survival of the black people in America — that and a sense of humor that just couldn't be enslaved." - The Redd Foxx Encyclopedia of Black Humor (1977) (co-written with Norma Miller)

Short George Snowden coins the name Lindy Hop

Great Frankie Manning quotes / timeline from Toronto Lindy Hop Blog

Explaining the reason why people danced / the culture / background of the Savoy ballroom

“If you loved music and you loved dancing, the Savoy was the place to go. At the Renaissance, going to the Savoy was our one ambition because they had the best bands and the best dancers. It had been on our minds for a year or two, but we were afraid to venture there because we put the Savoy on a pedestal. Nobody but the greatest dancers went, or at least those who thought they were.
The entrance of the Savoy was at street level. You went down one flight to check your coat, then you walked back up two flights to the ballroom, which was on the second floor. As I was climbing the steps that led to the ballroom, I could hear this swinging music coming down the stairwell, and it started seeping right into my body….
The Savoy was the ballroom because it had the best orchestras, and from that they got the best dancers. Even though a lot of people went to ballrooms just to listen to the music, back then bands played for dancers. After all, they were called dance bands.
These were the depression years (which didn’t make that much difference to my family since we were poor anyway) and dancing was an outlet for people because there wasn’t much else they could do. We all stayed in Harlem, but you could find someplace to step out every night of the week. Going to a ballroom became our social life.
Even though we were poor, we always dressed up. People in Harlem felt that they’d get more respect if they dressed well. Guys felt that the better they looked, the more likely a young lady would be to dance with them. I only owned two suits, but I always wore them with a shirt and tie and nice shoes, not two-tones, just black or brown ones. This was the fashion, and everybody dressed that way.” - Frankie Manning

Musicality / body being the instrument / music being blueprint for dancing

"I said, “Okay, Frieda, I’m ready,” and we swung out. I flung that girl so far across the floor that we almost took up the whole ballroom! This was one time when we really danced to the music, and it seemed like the band was catching everything that we were doing…Yeah, keep up with me, guys! I was feeling everything that they were doing, and the band was hitting every step that we did… Everything was going so right that even the crowd was rocking with us.
It was coming down to the end of our turn, so I said, “You ready to do the step?” “Yeah, let’s do it.” That’s exactly what she said. I remember it as if I was there right now. I swung her out and did a jump turn over her head while Chick said, “SHUUMMP!” Then I jumped so we were back to back and flipped her. While she was going over, he played “CHI- CHI- CHI- CHI- CHI- CHI-CHOO.” And when she hit the floor right on the beat… “BOOMP!”
The crowd had been clapping in time with the music and yelling, “Go Musclehead!” (my nickname), but when Frieda landed, for one second, it seemed like everyone in the audience caught their beat. Their mouths opened, but no sound came out. It was as if people weren’t sure they had really seen what they’d seen, like they were trying to figure out what we had just done. They were awestruck. Then all of a sudden, the house erupted! Everyone jumped up and started stomping, clapping, hollering, and grabbing each other saying, “Did you see that?” “What the heck did he just do?” “He threw that girl over his head!” Folks were just carrying on. It was turmoil!" - Frankie Manning

Keep in mind that Frankie was a great story teller. There was a dispute between him and Al & Leon on who invented the first airsteps. Read more here

"The next we hear of Al, it’s the 1960s, and he’s teamed up with his good friend and fellow Whitey’s Lindy Hopper Leon James to help historian Marshall Stearns, a jazz historian with a pretty wicked pencil-mustache who’s researching jazz dance for a book he’s writing. Now, here is where things have gotten messy. According to Frankie Manning’s biography, Al and Leon told Stearns inaccurate recollections of what life was like at the ballroom, even including giving the wrong credit for whom invented the first aerial. According to Frankie, Leon wasn’t present when Frankie invented the first aerial, and Al wasn’t even dancing yet. In his book, Frankie talks about how he confronted Al about how he wasn’t even there when the first aerials were invented, and Al said “Man, I just made it sound exciting.” About all of this, Frankie was apparently not offended, just surprised. He figured a lot of those stories were thrown around and exaggerated (Which, to be fair, is very much the tradition of Jazz. We need to remember that Frankie himself was a master story-teller, and should not necessarily be expected to give 100% accurate retelling of historical events.)"

Learning from the original, but was there even 'an original'?

"Many of the dancers developed specialties to distinguish themselves and wow the crowd. As Dawn Hampton, my good friend and one of my favourite dance partners today, likes to point out, “All of the Lindy Hoppers at the Savoy had their own individual style. It’s not like everyone was going to class and learning someone else’s way of dancing.” A lot of the girls came up with their own way of swinging out. Some would back away from their partner; others would go out facing away from him, then flip around – whatever fit their fancy. No one ever told them they weren’t doing Lindy just because their swing-out was different." - Frankie Manning

Life after the 40s. Quotes from 1955.

"I kept things going with the Congaroos for a while, but the work wasn’t too steady, and things really started to slow down…” - Frankie Manning
"Working at the post office was difficult at times because I missed being in show business, but I did all right because I was busy raising a family…" - Frankie Manning

almost 30 years break

  • 1983 - A get together of about thirty Savoy Lindy Hoppers takes place at the Sandra Cameron Dance Studio.
  • 1984 - Smalls’ Paradise in Harlem begins holding swing dances on Monday nights.
  • 1985 - New York Swing Dance Society holds first “Savoy Sunday” big band dance at Cat Club in New York City.
  • 1986 - Frankie begins teaching career by agreeing to work with Erin Stevens and Steven Mitchell.
    • "As I had agreed, I watched them [Erin & Steven) swing out, and right away I could see that these two had soul. As I watched them, I thought, Maybe I can help them get a little better." - Frankie Manning
  • 1987 - First travels to Sweden to work with Rhythm Hot Shots.
  • 1992 - Serves as consultant/performer in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X.
  • 1992 - Serves as assistant choreographer/performer with Norma Miller in Debbie Allen’s Stompin’ at the Savoy.

Important corrections / tips for thesis

  • Savoy Ballroom closes in 1958
  • "Minns also played a part in the revival of Lindy Hop in the 1980s, when he was invited to Stockholm in 1984 by The Rhythm Hot Shots dance company to teach the dance the way he knew it. The group had until then mainly used old film clips as a source for their interpretation of Lindy Hop." - from wikipedia

Books worth looking into

"A comprehensive book that covers all aspects of choreography from the most fundamental techniques to highly sophisticated artistic concerns. The Intimate Act of Choreography presents the what and how of choreography in a workable format that begins with basics- - time, space, force -- and moves on to the more complex issues faced by the intermediate and advanced choreographer -- form, style, abstraction, compositional structures, and choreographic devices."

24 DEC

working on intro for thesis

  • Film / video is not enough to document dance, difficult to learn from it
  • Video only good from the perspective of an audience, not dancer
  • Swing almost died out, although there are videos of dancers
    • Frankie Manning and Norma Miller brought it back in 1990s
    • Swing Kids movie and Gap commercial followed
    • Need personal connection / contact
    • Passing knowledge person-to-person
    • Today we can search 'Frankie' on YouTube and get plenty of content. 20-30 years ago you needed to know people who had tapes and make copies
    • Quotes from dancers that got taught personally by either Frankie Manning or Norma Miller
    • (hopefully a quote about notation)

As apposed to what seems to be the most obvious answer, video is not a great means to document dance. It commonly is filmed from the audiences’ perspective and fails to capture what the dancers themselves are experiencing. It is not an easy tool to learn from either. When watching (steps / choreography / routine / movement), the video needs to be paused and replayed in short clips numerous times in order to process the information and copy it.

When looking back at the purpose of archiving, one example of information revival comes to mind. Swing dancing began in Harlem in the late 1920s, reaching its peak in the 30s and 40s. It was a way for people to escape the thought of war and let loose, socialise and laugh. With time, politics, social tension and financial instability started calming down, therefore people focused on work, family and rebuilding the economy. There was less time for dancing in ballrooms in the evenings, and Swing died out. It also evolved into other dance styles, such as rock and roll and hip hop.

In the 1990s there were two main people, Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, who were famous Swing dancers during its craze, who started sharing the joy of Swing to the youth despite their age. Quickly it spread to pop culture: a movie called Swing Kids (1993) and an iconic Gap commercial (1998). They travelled the world and taught the steps and culture, passing the knowledge person-to-person. The ones that mastered it went on to becoming teachers themselves. It makes you wonder, did we need that personal connection and contact, or could have we managed, and would have we succeeded if we self-taught ourselves from archived videos? It also would have depended how technology could have aided us with it. Today we can search 'Frankie' on YouTube and get plenty of content to copy and try to learn from. Twenty to thirty years ago, when Swing started its comeback, you needed to know people who had tapes and make copies. Did the fact that access and distribution was limited made people more committed and excited? (not just a quick internet trend like we see today)

19 DEC


  • went to 2 weekend workshops with Alex and Christina (Swing professionals / international teachers)
  • turns out they have a refreshing take on muscle memory and not using video to create recaps
  • asked them whether they would like to share their thoughts on archiving dance
  • contacted Alex and Christina through their Facebook page

to do

  • go over Earanee's interview - which questions can I still use for Alex and Christina, what else can I tailor?
  • transcribe Earanee's interview

little St. Louis Shag treat: Nevermore Jazz Ball 2015 St. Louis Shag Finals
Kerry Kapaku and David Deenik gave me the chills

more more more
YouTube: Lindyfest 2017 - Advanced Jack & Jill Finals
Look at the connection between the dance partners! Jack and Jill competitions are when parters are selected at random, so you dance with a stranger. How amazing is it that most of these pairs look so comfortable / at ease with one another? Surprising that Kerry Kapaku and David Deenik are dancing together at this competition though.

17 DEC

'St. Louis Shag' workshop with Alex and Christina

The twist - we only know one step because that's the only one documented. The rest is gone / lost

YouTube: St.Louis Shag dancers & The Schwings Band feat. Migloko

16 DEC

'Blue & above' workshop with Alex and Christina

conclusion of workshop

  • don't be a piece of furniture
  • personal note: they use a lot of metaphors to help explain moves / connection / intention


Conclusions from last night's workshop

  • I didn't manage to get it documented during the class - Karolina had trouble getting there because of the snow, and I didn't ask anyone else to help. Bummer.
  • (Spanish dancer) "It was fun! I learned something new, so it was successful"
  • (Rianna, tall Dutch girl) Didn't notice we taught for the first time. We gave people attention. Scanned the room, see who needs help and gave private feedback
  • (Spanish dancer) Exercise with closed eyes was really good
  • (Personal thought) Teaching for an hour more tiring than being taught for an hour
  • Rianna wanted to sign up for more classes at Swing in Rhythm dance school - she asked me where she can sign up. She was previously interested in Swing. She restores old documents

Have a listen to the rest of the podcast, plus transcribe whatever is relevant - Jason talks about Flow states 29:50 onwards
Chase Jarvis: Transform Your Consciousness W/ Jason Silva


I will ask Karolina, another dancer whether she could take notes during our teaching session. This way I could take my own notes to document the class, but I could also have someone else's perspective - maybe more detail?

Floris and I made a schedule for our workshop.
Made some changes to previous concept

  • still 'basic step' and 'change of place'
  • got rid of 'tuck-turns'
  • added small steps to connect 'basic step' and 'change of place'

Lindy taster at poortgebouw.jpg


Top aims for tomorrow's class:

  • if we manage to teach people the rhythm used in Lindy Hop
  • we manage to adapt the teaching / course level to the participants without much trouble
  • Floris and I work well as a team


Conclusion after meeting with Marloes:
document workshop at Poortgebouw on 8th Dec

  • it can be another experiment
  • helped out individuals, but never taught a class
  • never taught with Floris, need to understand each other, be in sync while teaching
  • make list of tests (scatting, leading..)
  • ask what else can substitute words "rock step triple step"


Mentioned to one of my dance teachers that I will be giving a beginners Lindy workshop in a few days.
He was curious what we will teach, how and what will we focus on

I explained how Floris and I will teach only 6-count steps - instead of the ones with an 8-count - to simplify it for beginners.
The rhythm is something I find very important to master at the beginning. That's my biggest focus / aim. The rhythm gets too long if they need to memorise 8, not 6, counts of a rhythm. The basic steps also use the shorter steps, so we will only show those:

  1. basic step
  2. change of place
  3. possibly tuck-turn? - depending how advanced the group is

He said that from his experience, tuck-turns are too difficult, and that we should even simplify the rhythm even more. Instead of triple-steps, we should teach groove-walks.
'rock-step-triple-step-triple-step' v.s. 'rock-step-step-step' (the last 2 'steps' are slow)
It's a slower version of it that requires less footwork.
After talking it over with Floris, we decided to keep to our plan and do the triple-steps. We have our own experience of signing up for beginner workshops and get taught something so different to the actual dance, that it's a disappointment if you find out what you got taught is not the real thing, but a simplified version.

23 NOV

Facebook: Jason Silva on Flow healing anxiety

22 NOV

interview questions

Sole reason of project is to find to what extent we can archive dance
I’m collecting different forms of media from different perspectives (psychologists, dancers - advanced & beginners)
Would it be alright if I could document this conversation - both audio and video?

A little introduction (name + profession)

  • When did you start dancing?
  • Have you tried (still currently dancing) other dance styles?
  • What makes social dancing / swing so special to you?

I'm looking at dance as an intangible experience. Difficult to quantify, difficult to capture as a whole

  • There are videos of you dancing. Do you think it depicts your experience well? What is it missing (most)?
  • If you could invent a machine that could capture something particular about dance, what would it be?

Looked at different dance notation systems Laban (direction, body part, duration, intention) Dance mats (location of footsteps and order)

  • What element do you think is most crucial when learning a new dance (style)? - rhythm, atmosphere, spacial awareness?

Collecting dancers methods to capture dance (notes, videos, drawings)

  • What techniques do you use to memorise or learn steps?
  • Do you share these methods with your students? Do you encourage them to form their own methods?
  • Are there any examples of techniques that are most effective, among students?
  • Recap videos?

One of my favourite moments while dancing are non-verbal jokes. Falling into flow, everything makes sense

  • What makes this chemistry work or not work? (personal chemistry, rhythm, amount of effort from partner?)
  • What is a specific thing you look for in a parter?
  • What's the best trait of your favourite dance partner?
  • What makes a connection delightful?

I’m focusing on swing, great example of urgency of passing down knowledge, and capturing dance - as it almost died out.
All thankful for Norma Miller, Frankie Manning time, will and enthusiasm

  • Do you think Swing would have made a comeback without them? Was it inevitable?
  • What would you have liked to ask Frankie or still ask Norma?
  • How do you think Frankie or Norma would have answered the question of ‘to what extent can we archive dance’?
  • How about experience of dance?
  • What would you answer?

Final swing outs (no right or wrong, quick replies)

  • Favourite song?
  • Best dance memory?
  • Where is your dream place to perform?
  • Favourite dance partner?
  • 40 or 250 BPM?
  • Best performance you’ve seen?
  • Favourite dance shoes?
  • Most comfortable dance shoes?
  • Which country has the best dancers?
  • Signature step?

video recommendations from Earanee
Youtube: Dawn Hampton in Herrang 1990s
Youtube: Dawn Hampton and Emily Smyth Vartanian Encore
Youtube: Swing Dance 1980's (Frankie Manning & Norma Miller)
Youtube: Frankie Manning and Dawn Hampton :: Lindyfest 2008

21 NOV

Earanee winning 3rd place in ihlc 2016 jack jill finals

18 NOV

contact Norma Miller here

16 NOV

Questions for Adam and Earanee

mention transition of information before YouTube

  • do you think we can archive the experience of dance? - first & last question?
  • do you have a personal method / system to capture dance? to memorise dance?
  • what element do you think is most crucial when learning a new dance (style)? - rhythm, atmosphere, spacial awareness?

  • what did Frankie think was most important in dance?
  • what was his most common feedback?
  • what did he pay most attention to?
  • do you have any material of sessions with Frankie?
  • Earanee, what would you have liked to ask Frankie of Norma?
  • how do you think Frankie or Norma would have answered this question? (can we archive dance?)
  • do you think I could even get a hold of Norma?
    • found a page on Facebook. Hard to tell if it's someone else writing for her (sometimes written in first person, sometimes third), not fan page though
    • "Norma Miller is available for hire/travel, but serious inquires only!"
    • white pages? - 31 results for in NY, she lives in Los Vegas?
    • watch documentaries with her in them to get quotes - list available on wikipedia

  • why does music have a universal (accepted) score system, and dance doesn't?
  • adam tap dances
  • does tap dancing have a score system?
  • rhythm
  • the way you taught us those 2 steps during the Sunday class was fantastic! - first scatting, replacing scats with movement, then implementing it to a routine
  • could I mention that method it in my thesis?
  • how did you come up with this technique? did you learn it from someone else, or did you think of it yourself? if yourself, how?
  • it seemed that everyone got it by the first try. why does it work so well for everybody, even if everyone learns differently?
  • have you tried this method with people who don't know how to dance? people who struggle to follow rhythm?

  • non-verbal communication, non-verbal jokes
  • what makes this chemistry not work? - try to break it down specifically, personal chemistry, rhythm, amount of effort from partner?
  • what is a specific thing you look for in a parter? best aspect?
  • what makes a connection delightful?

  • not here to archive perfect dance, but also capture human mistakes
  • to capture experience, mistakes need to be a part of it

16 NOV

Questions for Adam and Earanee transition of information before YouTube

  • do you think we can archive the experience of dance? - first & last question?
  • do you have a personal method / system to capture dance? to memorise dance?
  • what element do you think is most crucial when learning a new dance (style)? - rhythm, atmosphere, spacial awareness?

  • what did Frankie think was most important in dance?
  • what was his most common feedback?
  • what did he pay most attention to?
  • do you have any material of sessions with Frankie?
  • Earanee, what would you have liked to ask Frankie of Norma?
  • how do you think Frankie or Norma would have answered this question? (can we archive dance?)
  • do you think I could even get a hold of Norma?

12 NOV

Notes from Savoy Inspiration workshop with Earanee Niedzwiecki & Adam Brozowski

Exercise (absorbing / directing)

  • Damping momentum of partner as they walk
  • Switch roles - follows become leaders


  • Damping momentum of partner as they triple step
  • Switch roles - follows become leaders
  • Give each other feedback during exercise

Note from Adam to improve my dancing:

  • Soften bounce, knees don't need to be stiff
  • Loosen arms, let them hang low, they don't need to keep to strict 'frame' - he doesn't like the term 'frame'

Learned 2 steps

  1. pointing finger at partner (it's you, not you, a-hu-hu-hu, pi-ra)
  2. pointing finger in the sky (previously taught at Swing in Rhythm)

  • First group repeated his scat
  • Slowly he merged scat with stomping and clapping
  • Copied his stomping and clapping


  • Social dancing including new steps and absorbing / redirecting

11 NOV

About Earanee Niedzwiecki & Adam Brozowski - short bio taken from Swing in Rhythm workshop webpage

"A lover of Satchmo and Nat King Cole since childhood, Earanee grew up with an ear for jazz, studying saxophone and jazz vocals at high school. While many flock to Lindy Hop for its high energy steps, it was the swingin’ tunes that reeled Earanee into the dance world in 2010. She soon began following her love of swing dance around the globe, leaving her home in Adelaide to dance extensively in both Europe and the US. Now a seasoned instructor with experience teaching and competing both in Australia and abroad, Earanee has won titles at numerous events including The Mooche, ILHC, and Lindyfest."

"Adam Brozowski is a celebrated voice in the international community, and has been Lindy Hopping since the age of 10. Adam grew up dancing in the energy of the late 90's having had the honor to learn directly from some our greatest legends like Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Jean Veloz, and the late great Dawn Hampton. Music and history play a huge influence on his perspective as a teacher, while creative expression and individuality are the hallmarks of his dancing. In his classes, Adam strives for a graceful balance between these two beautiful concepts. Adam hopes to inspire others to find the joy and freedom that swing music and dancing can give."

Notes from Musicality and Solo Jazz movements in Lindy Hop workshop with Earanee Niedzwiecki & Adam Brozowski

  • Each dancer is a musician
  • 50/50 role
  • Follows should also be playful and initiate
  • "Your arms are your ears"

Exercise (focus on simple rhythm)

  • Leads lead for 8 counts
  • Follows lead for 8 counts
  • Leads lead for 8 counts
  • Follows lead for 8 counts

Exercise (focus on solo jazz & rhythm)

  • Leads lead for 8 counts
  • Follows lead for 8 counts
  • Leads lead for 8 counts
  • Follows initiate solo jazz for 8 counts


  • Initiate solo jazz whenever you want

Exercise (creating music)

  • bass / high hat in couples


  • Creating rhythms along the room

Exercise (rhythms during social dancing)

  • Leads keep constant rhythm
  • Follows play around with 'high hat' effect

Exercise (rhythms during social dancing)

  • Follows keep constant rhythm
  • Leads play around with 'high hat' effect

Exercise (rhythms during social dancing)

  • Either / both follow or lead plays around with rhythm during social dancing


Meeting with Marloes


  • why it's relevant? - doesn't have to be too strict
  • make empathetic - oh that also applies to me!
  • drive of society to capture everything
    • include own thought on that
    • teaser

Reasoning why I'm interested

  • can start small / personal, and enlarge scope
  • don't have to mention personal health if don't want to
  • As a dancer: "a dance I love almost disappeared"

Dance as a Language

  • include in intro
  • it's tangible
  • compare to other intangible / un-archivable things

Bergsonian / Newtonian as footnote

  • "this concept explored further in.."
  • possibly drop Alan Kay - if text is too long, discussion will be too long / off-tangent
  • anecdotes and dance explanations are more interesting

augmented reality inside printed thesis publication - to show video / play sound


form chapter names as questions
poetic tite will come later

should I explain process of theory and experiments, or just let experiments flow into text?

  • no need to explain methodology
  • can mention in into that experiments were made to challange research question and theory

put experiments in appendices

  • short intro and conclusion in text
  • thesis isn't the project itself, it's a reflexion of the experiments backed up with theory

should I explain the difference in archiving / documenting / preserving?

  • yes, explain what aim in research Q is
  • explain what archiving is to me


Meeting with Anna
Reviewing Thesis Outine

"hippocampus / MRI scans / loss of memory / retrieving memory"

  • vital part, do put it in there
  • reasoning why I’m interested
  • add to the beginning

Documentation in form of notation

  • explain rant why swing almost died, video sucks
  • sounds more like an intro


  • good to have more experiments
  • make more
  • doesn’t have to be so academic

Capturing an Experience

  • make experiments

Dance as a Language

  • feels a little disconnected
  • maybe add to different chapter / personal story
  • possibly add to the beginning

“some tangibility in intangible experience” segway to Documentation in form of notation
if you can describe it, you can capture it. difficult in smell for example

How to present thesis?

  • Anna's idea: hand crafted pop-up children’s book
  • tracing paper, layering information on top of one another


Meeting with Aymeric

Q: can we archive dance? (specify social dance?)
break apart dance (layers? or larger topics: notation; social; memory)

  • this yes..
  • this not really..
  • this only if..

conclusion might be:
some info is lost, only so much can be transformed to another medium

project: attempt to solve Q

  • go crazy
  • different medium / different systems (don't try to make a system that captures all aspects)
  • multiply different way to capture same thing (notation + sound + video of rhythm)
  • show failure too
  • 'capturing' is interesting, but too much for entry point
  • respond through theory and practice

Jung mystic.. ask Aymeric for reference
incorrect source, review of review?

transpose data into..
show culture too
culture though interviews / graphics

make Q playful
"endless work"
watch Brainstorm - sci-fi from 1983

  • very cheesy
  • ridiculous
  • touches upon topic of capturing experience, and successfully translating / showing / decoding it to someone else

Q: can we archive dance?
A look into capturing (choose 3 things: technique; rhythm; notation; culture) in social dancing


how does your brain recall memories?
how comparable is a brain to an archive?
how does your brain compare to an archive?

  • translating
  • coding
  • decoding
  • transposing

Reminds me of my previous practise with Dutch proverbs, Decode from 2015

Also reminds me of Speak Italian by Bruno Munari

They say that a gesture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to speaking with your hands, the Italians speak volumes. This quirky handbook of Italian gestures, first published in 1958 by renowned Milanese artist and graphic designer Bruno Munari, will help the phalange-phobic decipher the unspoken language of gesturesa language not found in any dictionary. Charming black-and-white photos and wry captions evoke an Italy of days gone by. Speak Italian gives a little hand to anyone who has ever been at a loss for words.


How can we better approach capturing complex experiences through archiving?

three actors of interactions:

  • own experience (Self)
  • experience in dancing with others
  • experience of audience


Thesis topics post its.jpg


Meeting with Michael

how to revisit experience?
not about observing
perception of performer, not audience

can you gain sense of sight again?
one of the few tangible aspects in dance: contact with parter

buzzing suit in Todays Art from 2014
could try out to open up joysticks, buzz rhythm on legs (not feet) to get audience to feel rhythm

Brian House
Janet (mixable realities, gives bigger depth when hearing her previous audio recordings)

experiments / tests

  1. record the sound / rhythm in footsteps
  2. record dance body cam
  3. buzzing rhythm

  1. talk to blind dancer, see their point of view
  2. talk to elderly from Dans Paleis

Ted: Alone Together by Sherry Turtle
look at both past and present views

replaying my experience in somebody else's body
keep in mind, not same experience (bias)
not even for future self (reinvent memory)

dance becomes abstraction, becomes dance again
real -> symbolic -> real
breaking complex into layers (look at Michael's notes)

Swing in Rhythm exercise with Becky
lead / follow during swing outs
not tugging, but softly placing one hand above the other (almost levitating)

notes from that class (26th October)
Issues to be aware of in swing outs:

  • followers being too early at 4
  • not being too far away at 8
  • followers coming forward too early at 1
  • leads pulling
  • keeping arms relaxed and low
  • chests facing each other

breaking elements

set game - create a set that is either:

  • all the same
  • all different

30 OCT

Vox: Why this awful sounding album is a masterpiece

I love the explanations and supporting visuals to Vox's Earworm podcast by Estelle Caswell. I've added her videos numerous times on this wiki page. All 6 videos available here

Here is another that I missed:
Vox: How a recording studio mishap shaped ’80s music

how to transcribe this video?
try voice to text technique using Google Docs

Meeting with Andre

dance as a system
constants, patterns

mathematical / scientific
formula behind pop songs / jazz songs
generative music, computer write sonata

David Burn (Bob Wilson - Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
Vox relation

notation is not the work, it's the blueprint / a score
Florian - context?

what separates dance and music with resource of score?
music has a way of transmitting score. score is accepted in music, but not in dance - why?

what is this important to you?
look at practitioners that look at memory
search on jstor key terms: dance & memory

Steve Paxton & Trisha Brown
'Material for the Spine'

main problem: not approaching the matter in a way I could deal with

  • SongSim looks only at one element (lyrics)
  • easy to encapsulate structure
  • macro view

can you quantify dance by anything?

write / express BPM differently - shorter distances between lines, show faster BPM
make own notations on Labanotation

Special Issue 02 performance was a two part outcome

  1. a (graphical) documenting tool that I could personally use in the future
  2. playful, slightly educational, interactive experience for the audience

this frame could be used for the graduation project too

generative systems
squared paper - each square a second

"basing on this, this and that factor, found these variables, time is constant"
WSA - looked at language of time to measure / quantify it

Johanna Drucker - Graphesis
pervious event in NY (Sept 2017)

29 OCT

I want the audience to decode a transcribed dance language (notation)
Figure it out by doing?
Mix and matching layers

Measuring time, time perception
Measuring dance
Dance perception

Decoding the language of dance
Need to describe it to document it
Different ways to describe dance (onomatopoeias, rhythm, scatting, graphical notation, BPM)

What was Laban's aim, drive, purpose?

Impossible to fully archive experience?
I suggest tackling this by making a coding system to capture an intangible object / experience / dance

My frustration? Video is actually a shitty medium to capture dance (an experience).
Aim: propose a new system / method / medium. Hopefully can be used for more experiences than just dance

Language has a key (alphabet) and is spread through word of mouth, contact with people.
The medium to archive it / preserve it (apart from word of mouth) are audio (recordings, songs, radio), visual (books, posters) and audio-visual (plays, films, tv)

How did some languages survive when suppressed during history / wars? Why did some die out? How are they being decoded?

26 OCT

Look for podcasts here

"SON[I]A aims to be an alternative way to receive the information produced during Museum activities; audio information brought to us by characters who take part in activities in and around the MACBA."

Feedback from Marloes and Steve

  • 1-2 lines for research question
  • if describe practise, what is it about?
  • think about reader

25 OCT

why I am so keen on documenting / capturing dance?

previously thought about project to capture the relationship between Sean and I (the urgency was in capturing us before it was too late, before we split ways and before my memory fades) - sadly our splitting came faster than expected

yet I am still focused on notation, memory, the brain, archiving, capturing an experience
what makes it so urgent, so personal?

could it be anything, subconsciously, related to my MS? I do have a fear of losing my ability to dance, of losing my memory (again), of forgetting the memories I am forming now with my new ‘dance family’

I don’t want yet another project related to my health (Mind as a Dossier and Epilepic) in my portfolio. I don’t want to be that designer / creative that always falls back on this topic, possibly showing myself as a victim to pity over. The previous 2 were uplifting, educational, eye-opening, helpful.. but do I really want that to be my thing?

small project idea:
play around with light sensitive material that makes text vanish with time
text can be read for a few seconds after contact with light, then disappears
in order to keep the content of the book documented, photos on the phone should be taken? - will that work? isn’t that more light?
comparison to memory. the book is the knowledge that you have a memory, the content is the memory itself
e.g. “I remember eating dinner last night, but I can’t remember what it was”

Look back at previous texts, The Psychology Of Time Synopsis and Time Perspectives and Cultural Diversity, which look into Philip Zimbardo's time perception. I’d consider myself future TP, always planning ahead, excited about future, sometimes worried

  • Past TP - focused on positives
  • Past TP - focused on negative
  • Present TP - hedonism (focus on joys of life)
  • Present TP - fatalism (doesn't matter, life is controlled)
  • Future TP - life goal oriented
  • Future TP - transcendental (life begins after death or the mortal body)

Anna's feedback (summary from recorded conversation)

  • don’t worry about it
  • nothing to worry about, reasoning behind the start of the project (why I am doing it?) is not evident in work that is presented
  • great to have personal starting point, personal things make great things
  • everything you're going to do is going to be some representation of yourself, one way or another
  • base of project can be health, go off of it, represent it so it's not read as "poor me, I'm sick"
  • talk about archiving dance in a more generalised sense, say what you find interesting

The full conversation will be transcribed from audio soon. Here is a snippet that followed:

A: have you tried to discover what would be the best way to gather this experience into one medium, or do you have to have multiple mediums?
K: that's when I started looking into realities, and mixable realities, because if you just focus on one, the more you put data, the more you can express an experience.. although, as a viewer you will never have my experience, you will have your experience. Maybe if you've been to Crete before, then you could re-see what I saw. So you will never manage to get to a point where we can fully have the same experience.
A: Because that's also based on previous experiences
K: So it becomes a bias for sure

23 OCT

Feedback from Aymeric

pick one topic
one is not going to be better than the other
what do you really want to dive into?
make it concrete

  1. notation - non-universal / language specific
  2. mixable realities - experiencing the intangible
  3. subculture - transmission of knowledge
  4. archive - usefulness, temporary, making things public

how would you share / present this?
why interesting? in any other field?

  1. documentation - graphical / video / notebook
  2. special awareness - bird's eye view
  3. time / speed / rhythm - structured 8-count / free-flow scatting

sharing in community

Literate programming by Donald Knuth

interest into education: what's the best way to communicate?
normalise / universal method is questionable
again universal method
subtle / diverse, people are perceiving knowledge differently

thesis structure doesn't need to be scientific
experiments / content / tools / methods as text, not appendices
thesis is distant reflexion

diversity in methods

  1. topic
  2. applied to dance
  3. what's the urgency to look into this topic? - reflect
  • cultural diversity (preserve, not normalise world)
  • pragmatic (interesting because truth in diversity in education. look into history of educational methods)
  1. find manner to show collected material

22 OCT

Facebook: Living In The Moment by Jason Silva

11 OCT

Experiment idea:
learn new Lindy steps with a friend using YouTube videos created by own dance school

10 OCT

YouTube: Brain Coupling by Jason Silva


Feedback from Andre

  • start small approaches / tests / prototypes / experiments
  • explore small themes continuously
  • have 3-4 weeks to experiment
  • then have 3-4 weeks to reflect on annotation from afar, to narrow down question

  • what project could you do in 1 week?
  • own note: don't want experiments just conducted by me, it'll be subjective / I know what outcome I want
  • how do you represent your outcome? vector image / gif / sound file / sound image

use 3D glasses analogy - experience vs. data
difference in perception

Monoskop: Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art by Salomé Voegelin
sound is fleeting, not attainable
even static image is fleeting / an illusion

Cartographics: a site-specific audio-choreography by Petra Sabisch
strong effects with simple means: headphones; rooftop; mirror(?)
YouTube: Alter Bahnhof Video Walk

wikipedia: Conway's Game of Life
make choreographic description, then perform it

to do:

  • make one experiment during holiday
  • document it in blog / video / graphic notation
  • add woman from movement workshop last year onto 'who could help you' list


Psychology of dance

Dancehub: 5 Interesting Psychological Studies Involving Dancing
(not great source, but has many links to studies related to topic)

  1. Dancing Improves Your Brain
  2. Mental Practice Can Lead To Improved Dancing
  3. The Evolution Of Human Dance May Have Been A Mistake
  4. Dancers Can Learn Routines In Different Ways
  5. Girls Under Age 16 Have The Most Dancing Confidence

1. Dancing Improves Your Brain Psychology Today: Why Is Dancing So Good for Your Brain?
more references / cited studies about how dancing can improve the brain

2. Mental Practice Can Lead To Improved Dancing
University of California Santa Clara Cruz: UCSC dance research published in prestigious Psychology Science journal

3. The Evolution Of Human Dance May Have Been A Mistake
American Psychological Association: Dance, dance evolution
not many animals have close connections between auditory and motor skills
"Psychologists’ research on the power of movement is giving us insight into why we first danced and how cultures built on that ancient impulse."

4. Dancers Can Learn Routines In Different Ways
Duke Chronicle: Research investigates the science behind dance

5. Girls Under Age 16 Have The Most Dancing Confidence (not related?)
The Guardian: Why do people dance?


Springer: Thinking in action: thought made visible in contemporary dance by Catherine Stevens and Shirley McKechnie

Buy entire journal for EUR 42.29
or find through HR mediatheek
download links here
link to downloaded file

Contemporary dance—movement deliberately and systematically cultivated for its own sake—is examined in the light of the procedural and declarative view of long-term knowledge. We begin with a description of two settings in which new works of contemporary dance are created and performed. Although non-verbal, contemporary dance can be a language declared through movement and stillness of the body. Ideas for new movement material come from objects, events or imaginings that are spoken, seen, heard, imagined, or felt. Declared through movement, the idea becomes visible. Communication in dance involves general psychological processes such as direct visual perception of motion and force, motor simulation via mirror neurons, and implicit learning of movement vocabularies and grammars. Creating and performing dance appear to involve both procedural and declarative knowledge. The latter includes the role of episodic memory in performance and occasional labelling of movement phrases and sections in rehearsal. Procedural knowledge in dance is augmented by expressive nuance, feeling and communicative intent that is not characteristic of other movement-based procedural tasks. Having delineated lexical and grammatical components in dance, neural mechanisms are identified based on Ullman’s (Ullman in Cognition 92:231–270, 2004) alignment of lexical knowledge with declarative memory and mental grammar with procedural memory. We conclude with suggestions for experiments to test these assumptions that concern thought in action in composition, performance and appreciation of contemporary dance.
check out their 60+ references

reference if want to add to own bibliography
Stevens, Catherine; McKechnie, Shirley (2005). "Thinking in action: Thought made visible in contemporary dance". Cognitive Processing. 6 (4): 243–252. doi:10.1007/s10339-005-0014-x.

Jstor: A Nonverbal Language for Imagining and Learning: Dance Education in K-12 Curriculum by Judith Lynne Hanna


ABC Radio: Songlines: the Indigenous memory code
Japing Aboriginal Art: Why Songlines Are Important In Aboriginal Art
Amazon: Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation by Joseph Weizenbaum (1976)


look into: scatting as a measurement of time in dance

  • it gives more possibilities (to distinguish the 4-'a'-5 counts)
  • look into history, how / why / when it originated - Harlem late 1920s?
  • learn to scat? what is important that may not seem obvious?


Human Memory: Sensory Memory

  • Sensory memory is the shortest-term element of memory
  • Unlike other types of memory, the sensory memory cannot be prolonged via rehearsal
  • decays or degrades very quickly, typically in the region of 200 - 500 milliseconds (1/5 - 1/2 second)
  • visual stimuli is sometimes known as the iconic memory
  • aural stimuli is known as the echoic memory
  • touch as the haptic memory
  • smell processed in olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex
  • smell is strongest as olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex are nearest to the hippocampus

Meeting with Steve
Before starting PZI I was planning to look into digital publishing, interactive PDFs, change in technology and publishing, print vs digital. My thesis would have probably been an analysis of a section of publishing.
At the moment I feel that would be too simple. I'm more interested in creating something I might not get a chance to in the future: a large-scale installation / experience. This would not use a traditional publishing method as a means of communicating my research.
Do I stick to a topic that interests me and use publishing as a means, rather than analyse publishing itself?

  • dance notation is a form of communication / publishing
  • experiments as research method
  • look at Victor's (fine art) thesis - diagrams
  • editorial: how will yo present experiments (event? publication?)
  • discrete things & how they come together?
  • my practise addresses this, this and that
  • these things create chapters, which allow for development
  • literacy / non-verbal communication
  • Sean v.s. new dance partners
  • being a good lead or follow. listening communicating signs / signals. communicating by touch
  • notation as a means of instruction
  • aim: what am I doing? what do I want to make out of it?

Next steps:

  • look through previous experiments
  • where will they take me? what experiment will flow next? don't stress, it'll flow
    • experiment 1: time perception
    • experiment 2: rhythm and notation
    • experiment 3: flow
    • experiment 4: memory and senses?
    • experiment 5: archive?


Memories are stored in different senses.
We see, hear, smell things that remind us of things. Smell is able to bring very powerful flashbacks.
Can a movement reminds us of something / anything?


  • Het Danspaleis
  • dr Mol / dr Donselaar (Maasstad)
  • dr Bert Aldenkamp (Kempenhaeghe)
  • therapists?
  • bravo europoort - psychiatry specialists / memory tests