The Art of Dancing in 1910 and Narratives of Time and Space

Published on August 28, 2007 (↻ December 13, 2022), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

It’s interesting to explore different forms of data visualization. Here are some photos I took from a dance book from 1910, “Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst und Tanzschreibekunst oder Choreographie”—“Grammar of the Art of Dancing”—, by Friedrich Albert Zorn. Zorn was a successful German dancer, choreographer, and dance theorist who lived from 1820 to 1905.

Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 1.

Figure: Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, cover sheet.

Although the photographs are of rather poor quality, you should be able to make out interesting details (typography) and recognize what Edward Tufte taught as small multiples and “narratives of time and space.” The dance notation—which as far as I know is still in use?—invites to compare and assess changes. There probably are more things to note (and maybe to criticize) from an information design point of view, but take a look for yourself.

Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 2.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 3.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 4.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 5.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 6.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 7.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 8.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 9.
Atlas zur Grammatik der Tanzkunst, sheet 10.
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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!