1. Don’s Dance Shorthand


The shorthand system I’ve developed seeks a compromise between text-heavy syllabi that are hard to “scan” and symbol-heavy systems that demand a steep learning curve. There is an emphasis on background information. I consider the footwork of a dance to be its skeleton, the music its flesh, the background its soul.

These notes are not to be considered a substitute for learning a dance taught by a qualified instructor.  They are intended as memory joggers only. With this book it is my intention that you will be able to stand in a line of dancers, notes in one hand, and steadily flow through a dance, or to easily skip to that part not quite remembered.

Dance is a very fluid art. A dance will vary according to the performer’s mood, age, sex, partners, musical accompaniment, setting, cultural background, audience, etc. and the person “capturing” that dance has similar variables. Writing down a dance is like writing a river’s flow.


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