Jens Oliver Meiert

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

Post from August 28, 2007 (↻ June 29, 2016), filed under .

Since it’s always interesting to see how people visualize and convey information, 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”—, after Friedrich Albert Zorn. Zorn was a successful German dancer, choreographer, and dance theorist who appears to have 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 spot several interesting details (typography) and recognize what Edward Tufte described 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 judge changes. There probably are more things to note (and yet a bit 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.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google) and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

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Last update: June 29, 2016

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