World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Benesh Movement Notation

Article Id: WHEBN0000684690
Reproduction Date:

Title: Benesh Movement Notation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dance notation, Richard Holden (dancer), Ashley Lawrence, Compendium, Beneš
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Benesh Movement Notation

Benesh notation example

Benesh Movement Notation (also known as Benesh notation or choreology) is a dance notation system used to document dance and other types of human movement. Invented by Joan and Rudolf Benesh in the late 1940s, the system uses abstract symbols based on figurative representations of the human body. It is used in choreography and physical therapy, and by the Royal Academy of Dance to teach ballet.

Benesh notation is recorded on a five line stave from left to right, with vertical bar lines to mark the passage of time. Because of its similarity to modern staff music notation, Benesh notation can be displayed alongside (typically below) and in synchronization with musical accompaniment.


  • History 1
  • Notation system 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


In 1955, Rudolf Benesh publicly introduced Benesh notation as an "aesthetic and scientific study of all forms of human movement by movement notation". In 1997, the Benesh Institute (an organisation focused on Benesh notation) merged with the Royal Academy of Dance.

Notation system

Benesh notation example. A dotted vertical line indicates the centre of a frame, though it is not part of the notation.

Benesh notation plots the position of a dancer as seen from behind, as if the dancer is superimposed on a stave that extends from the top of the head down to the feet. From top to bottom, the five lines of the stave coincide with the head, shoulders, waist, knees and feet. Additional symbols are used to notate the dimension and quality of movement. A frame is one complete representation of the dancer.[1]

A short horizontal line is used to represents the location of a hand or foot that is level with the body. A short vertical line represents a hand or foot in front of the body, whereas a dot represents a hand or foot behind the body. The height of the hands and feet from the floor and their distance from the mid-line of the body are shown visually. A line drawn in the top space of the stave shows the position of the head when it changes position. A direction sign is placed below the stave when the direction changes.

See also


  1. ^ Ryman-Kane, Rhonda; Hughes Ryman, Robyn (2014). Benesh for Ballet: Book 1. DanceWrite. p. 68.  

Further reading

  • Benesh, R. and Benesh, J. (1983) Reading Dance: The Birth of Choreology. McGraw-Hill Book Company Ltd, ISBN 0-285-62291-9
  • Neagle, R.J. and Ng, K.C. (2003) Machine-representation and Visualisation of a Dance Notation. in Proceedings of Electronic Imaging and the Visual Arts - London July 2003.
  • Ryman-Kane, Rhonda, and Hughes Ryman, Robyn (2014) Benesh for Ballet, Book I: Basic Ballet Positions in Word Definitions, DanceForms Images, and Benesh Movement Notation, ISBN 978-1-63102-603-4

External links

  • The Benesh Institute
  • Open Benesh Website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.