“Dancing is the most fleeting of all the performance arts because there is no decent way to notate it; so a dance really only exists at the moment it is experienced; in the dancer's body and in the dancemaker's head.”
-(source-Sally Banes, “Substanceless Brutality”, Before, Between, and Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing, edited and with an introduction by Andrea Harris, forewords by Joan Acocella and Lynn Garafola, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007, 15, original article published in The Reader, February 15, 1974).
Next week, this quote will be thirty-six years-old; and sadly, its message continues to reflect the current state of dance archival systems. The dance community still lacks a comprehensive plan to reconcile inadequate records and the survival of repertory. Archiving largely exists outside of the creative process and the different archival practices are not being fully accessed or integrated into the creation of new work.
I recently published, “Archiving Dance: The Necessity of Collaboration”, in Bourgeon: a survey of the current available archival systems and a call for a more interdependent approach to their usage.