From an announcement by the International Council of Kinetography Laban/Labanotation
Observing and experiencing stillness in dance choreography
by Oona Haaranen, Finland/USA
Paper and workshop presentation
This paper and workshop utilizes Labanotated dance scores and motif writing as a way to observe and analyze stillness and to explain the varied uses of stillness as they appear and disappear in two twentieth century choreographer’s works: George Balanchine’s Tarantella’s solo and Anna Sokolow’s Rooms, Escape solo. Sokolow’s use of stillness is in sharp contrast to Balanchine’s. Escape spends 8.16 percent in total stillness, while Tarantella’s use of total stillness is 2.09 percent. Tarantella utilizes partial stillness for 41.66 percent of its length and Escape uses partial stillness for 63.13 percent. The only similarities in both works are that the amount of total stillness is greater during partial stillness and total stillness is smaller when it abruptly takes place inside a traveling sequence. In Sokolow’s Escape, solo, stillness is primarily used as subtext with internal focus while in Balanchine’s Tarantella solo, stillness is postural in nature and is mainly used as punctuation.
Below are the concepts of stillness that will be explored, discovered and further defined through creative movement study:
1. Total stillness:complete absence of movement
2.Partial stillness: a) Partial stillness in space
b) Partial stillness in the body
Oona Haaranen, BFA Juilliard, MA in Dance Research and Reconstruction from The City College of New York. Oona was born in Finland where she first studied dance and music. She danced with the Finnish National Theater and Helsinki City Theater, working with Jorma Uotinen among others. In 1992 Ms. Haaranen brought her vision of dance to the creation of her own company, The Oona Haaranen Dance Company, NYC. Since 1990, she has belonged to the dance faculties of The New York City College, St. Joseph’s College and New York University. Ms. Haaranen is currently the Education Director Consultant for Brooklyn Ballet.