Sample Activities

The primary textbook for the course is Moving About Extracts, by Charlotte Wile. In addition, Moving About: Capturing Movement Highlights Using Motif Notation, by Charlotte Wile with Ray Cook is used as a supplementary reference.

In each lesson your studies begin with chapters in Moving About Extracts, in which you learn Motif Notation symbols, concepts and grammatical rules.  The theory is then applied in a variety of activities such as those given below. This work gives you innovative tools for observing, analyzing, and documenting movement.

Just a few sample activities are given here. In each lesson you will have many experiences interpreting and writing Motif Notation. 

video and picture credits 

Sample Activity 1

This activity uses Pictures 1a-1c and Video 1d below.

  • Picture 1a: Notate the direction of the boy's left arm, and the mother's right arm and torso.
  • Picture 1b: Notate the prominent directions you feel are expressed in the painting. Then briefly write what aspect(s) of the picture influenced your observation. There are many possibilities, such as directions suggested by shapes, brushstrokes, contours, etc.
  • Picture 1c and Video 1d: Notate prominent Shape Forms you feel are expressed in the picture and the video respectively. (Shape Forms categories include thin "Pin-like," spread out "Wall-like," rounded "Ball-like," and entwined "Twist-like.")

 Picture 1a
 Picture 1b

  Picture 1c

Video 1d

Sample Activity 2

This activity uses Notation 2a-2c and Videos 2d-2f below. Each notation example represents movement found in one of the videos. Your task is to match the notation examples to the videos. For example, does Notation 2a match Video 2d, 2e, or 2f?

For the purpose of this site, words have been added to Notation 2a and 2b. However, in the course you will learn to read the notation without explanatory words, as in Notation 2c.

 Video 2d
 Video 2e

Video 2f

Sample Activity 3

In the course you will learn about "Effort," which is the bodily expression of a person's feelings, impulses, and motivations. Effort is analogous to music dynamics, and adverbs and adjectives that describe the manner in which movements are executed.

This activity illustrates one way you will explore the concept of Effort.
  • First, on the course website you will look at a series of Videos for which a prominent Effort quality has been identified, such as Video 3a shown here below.
  • Then you will write the name and symbol for Effort you identify in a series of unlabeled videos, such as Video 3b.

(Keep in mind that various Effort qualities are expressed during the course of each video. Your task will be to name one or two that you feel stand out.)

 Video 3a

 Video 3b

Sample Activity 4

In Reading Studies 4a-4c below there is a range of description,  from a general representation in 4a, to more specified and dense depictions in 4b and 4c.

Choose ONE of the Reading Studies below (4a, 4b, or 4c). Create a movement study based on the notation. Make a video of yourself performing your interpretation. Put the video on YouTube for your tutor to view. 

For the purpose of this site, words have been added to Studies 4a and 4b . However, in the course you will learn to read the notation without explanatory words, as in Study 4c.

The the notation is read from the bottom up. For example, Reading Study 4a begins with a torso movement in count 1. Then there is a pause in count 2.