Extension Creation

Since its founding in 1968, the DNB Extension has occupied a unique position at the Ohio State University Department of Dance while maintaining a one-of-a-kind relationship with the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) in New York City. The DNB is devoted to facilitating the creation of dance scores through Labanotation and promoting stagings of dance performances from those scores. The Extension was created to facilitate education and research in Labanotation, in addition to dance documentation and preservation. It is now more than half as old as the DNB itself, and has demonstrated intellectual and technological leadership in sharing the parent organization's mission to create the means for, and the reality of, a collection of the great dance works and a literate dance field.

Abridged Timeline

In 1968 Helen Alkire, founder of the OSU Department of Dance, was part of a task force to establish the College of the Arts at OSU. Alkire, also on the Board of the DNB, sought to create a branch of the Bureau at the university as a way to protect its work and its library. She offered the position to then DNB Director, Lucy Venable. Many materials from the DNB's library were moved to OSU's Special Collections.

Original goals of the Extension were:

  • to integrate notation into all facets of the program, to promote dance literacy
  • to develop a research area for the Graduate and Undergraduate programs
  • to assist in developing the program in unique ways
  • to record works of faculty and visiting artists
  • to develop workshops demonstrating how dance and notation could be integrated
  • to connect with other disciplines that had expressed an interest

Expanded Timeline:


  • Odette Blum joins as faculty.


  • Teacher's Certification Course begins.


  • Vera Maletic comes to the department from the Laban Centre first as a visiting professor to replace Venable on her sabbatical.


  • Motif Description is added to Labanotation courses. Throughout the 1980's and 90's, workshops in Motif Description were led by Venable, Blum, Maletic and Giffin.


  • Maletic returns as faculty to teach courses in Space Harmony, Effort/Dance Dynamics, Foundation of Labananalysis, Analyis of Choreographic Style (co-taught with Giffin in 1996).


  • John Giffin joins as faculty to teach notation in addition to other subjects.


  • The school at the DNB in New York temporarily suspends classes, transferring responsibility for many notation courses to the Extension.


  • The first version of LabanWriter, the shared idea of Venable and Alkire, is released for the Macintosh.
  • Collaborators have included George Karl, Scott Sutherland, and David Ralley.
  • Ralley continues to update LabanWriter through an on-going grant by the Dance Preservation Fund.


  • Venable retires. Sheila Marion joins as faculty from Arizona State University.


  • The Dance Preservation Fund is created by an anonymous donor to fund projects related to dance notation and preservation by OSU faculty, faculty emeritus, students, and resident artists.


  • Blum retires. Valarie Mockabee joins as faculty from University of Texas at Austin.


  • LabanReader is developed by Sheila Marion with a prototype by A. William Smith and software by David Ralley, designed to work with LabanWriter to facilitate score reading for the classroom.


  • Maletic retires. Bales continues to teach Dance Dynamics and Laban Movement Analysis.


  • LabanLab is developed by Marion and Rachel Boggia.
  • LabanLab is a website using a multimedia approach to teaching the basics of Labanotation.
    A Spanish translation is underway by Inma Alvarez.


  • Mockabee completes Notator Certification from the DNB.


  • Marion retires.

Top of page