Development of ‘Stick Figure' Notation for African Dances

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Although some notations have been evolved and used to take care of some Western dances successfully, none of them has been found to be adequate in notating African dances. Therefore, the problem of an adequate notational system for African dance has persisted up till now despite the robust and regular practice it has enjoined over the years. Almost all the dances created through the years cannot be recorded by the means of notation. There is therefore the need for a form of documentation that can serve as a precise reminder and preservation of the movements done. This paper thus takes a new look at the 'stick figure' which was first discovered in 1852 as published by Arthur Saint-Leon and had been put to use by such people as Albert Zorn in recording a whole body movement. Identify timing and direction of movements as its major limitation. The paper thus filling the gap of timing and direction of movements suggests how to apply them to the peculiar nuances of the African dance and concludes that these suggestions can be further developed by choreographers and choreologists through conscious effort and collaboration to become perfect for notating African dances.



Notation, Stick figure, Development, African dance