Date recorded: September 17, 1992
Physical form: DAT
Tape number: T5519
Track Number: 1
Archive ID: T5519
Note: Dance coding issues. This is a discussion of what footage to show on a demonstration of Choreometrics in Sweden. Size of step as a parameter. Biggest steps found in Eurasia and Melanesia. Tiny steps occur in Polynesia, American villagers and African villagers. The smallest steps seem to be associated with hunters at the bottom of the complexity scale, in the circum-Pacific, including Polynesia. Larger steps in Eurasia and Melanesia. Moderate steps in Eurasian villages, the Andes, Amazon, and Black Africa - moderate is tropical. Width of stance: narrow - circum-Pacific| middle: North Eurasian, including Siberia| wide: Africa, Polynesia, Australia. Presence or absence of synchrony (moving) in the leg and its association with areas where walking is important, notably circum-Pacific, Australian gatherers, American and European villagers. Curious exception of American hunters. Siberian line dance synchronized. Arm synchrony perhaps too broad a category, needs to be broken down: forearm, hand, etc. Hand synchrony: Polynesia, Mexico, Malay, Australian gatherers, and West Asia. Wouldn't expect to find Australian gatherers or Mexico. Put a question mark there and look later. Lower leg synchrony in places where digging important. Europe, Australian gatherers, American villagers, West Asia. Makes sense. Places where foot use is important in plowing and in digging. Need to look at synchrony later. Posed synchrony: High numbers East Asian, Malay world and Australia (other links between Australia and East Asia include use of very small intervals in singing style and very precise hand use typical of East Asia). Posing in West Asia and less in Europe (probably through Central Asian influence), which belong to the same world of complexity and fine art as East Asia. Negative case among African gatherers is very important. Siberia and Melanesia also American hunters and Amazonia have low incidence of posing. All very old dance styles. West Asia and Europe have to do with that old world. High posing is most characteristic of East Asia, next Malaysia and next Polynesia and along with them Australian Aborigines and to some extent Europe and West Asia in a second category with quite a bit of posing. A virtually no posing in African gatherers and Siberia, and very little in circum-Pacific apart from Australia. Number of body parts that are moving you find the lows in Melanesia, Mexican Andes, Amazonia and Siberia, the zones of antiquity. Somewhat higher motility among American Hunters, and American villagers and Australian gatherers. Peak of motility in Polynesia, Black Africa, and East Asia. Alan Lomax: Basically there are three cases: Low motility, medium motility, high motility with no posing for Black African world, and high motility and high posing especially in East Asia and also in Polynesia and to some extent in West Asia and in Europe. You can recognize irrigation cultures by high specialization of body parts. You can actually characterize the world in terms of body parts and whether they are posed or moving - a big find, appropriate to give these lines more weight. Torso incline angle, held, patterned, and punctuated will be left out of abbreviated code. Negative cases seem to be well distributed. Alternating level - in general, highs are characteristic of Melanesia, African gatherers, American hunters, and Siberia, in circum-Pacific, but not in Australian, which goes in for held. Patterned use of level is west Asia and East Asia (that would be the major case). Sectional most characteristic of Malaysia and Polynesia. Vertical shift. Sometimes seated, sometimes standing. Patterned, multiple use of level. Downward shifting characteristic of Polynesia, black Africa, and African gatherers. Upward also shifting of black Africa (the dramatic up-down one). Paulay (audibly pleased): I am so impressed with this program! Alan Lomax: Next big pattern is neutral (no use of level [Lomax erroneously says "bounce" at first]) in Amazonia, Australia, Melanesia, and African gatherers along with bouncing, which we take to be one of the early features of dancing and which occurs in Siberia, American hunters, American villagers, Melanesia, and Amazonia (circum-Pacific). Hunters bounce as they tromp over the game. The characteristic of Europe, and, to some extent, western Asia, is jigging. Then hopping: circum-Pacific - Siberia, American villages and Mexican Andes and Australia. Lowering is Siberian and East Asia. Here we're really getting small regional cultural traits, though it's fine that everything doesn't do everything. Up and down (plunging and leaping) - are high in West Africa, Sahara, West Sudan, South Africa, Nilotic, and West European overseas (which has adapted it from Africa). Bouncing basically an Arctic-Asian and circum-Pacific trait, at its highest in New Guinea. Lowering and dipping is Eurasian - found in Arctic Asia, California, and proto-Malay. It's something very old that continues in the dance in East Asia, the Himalayas, urban Indonesia, and village India, that's its civilized zone. They discuss what material they can bring to Sweden, and what to leave out. Compatibility for large audience projection.
Belongs to: Paulay/Lomax, 1992-1995
About the session: A series of discussions between Alan Lomax and Forrestine Paulay regarding Choreometrics, various dance films, and movement techniques.
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