Video annotation for the articulation and transmission of dance and movement knowledge

  • Rebecca Stancliffe

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This PhD thesis examines video annotation as a method of analysis and a tool for the transmission of dance and movement knowledge. Since the late 1990s, a handful of dance research projects have emerged that utilise video annotation, but in these the value of video annotation is assumed or implied. The outputs from these projects, such as multi-media publications and video annotation tools, are claimed to be celebrated contributions to dance scholarship. One of the challenges for this research is that the term annotation has gained currency in dance with the rise in the interdisciplinary and digital working characteristic of some areas of contemporary dance scholarship. However, the term and the practice are not yet clearly defined or understood: it is not fully known what annotation is and how it operates. This exposes a significant gap in the literature which this thesis addresses.

    The intentions of this thesis are threefold. Through descriptive and comparative analysis and theory building, I explore what annotation is and the experience of engaging with it. I draw attention to the dialogical mnemotechnical properties of annotation and contemplate how annotation conditions the way dance is seen, analysed, interpreted, and understood. My study highlights how video annotation re-authors video sources, controlling the narrative that is transmitted about artistic practices. Secondly, I offer a context for the fairly recent emergence of video annotation by situating it as part of an analytic trajectory for dance. By engaging in archival research and the analysis and interpretation of primary sources(including choreographic notebooks, unpublished manuscripts and letters), I examine a selection of dance and movement notation systems from the Renaissance and the twentieth century. A narrative of the invention and re-invention of notation as social and technological systems is established, and it is within this never-ending search for suitable methods of articulating and transmitting dance and movement knowledge that I situate the annotational practices examined in this study. Finally, I argue that, as an analytic method, video annotation contributes to, and advances, the individual and collective knowledge of dance because it helps artists, researchers, and audiences understand dance practices from different perspectives.
    Date of AwardMay 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSarah Whatley (Supervisor) & Scott Delahunta (Supervisor)

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