Noa Eshkol's Dance Suites

The repertoire of the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group is comprised of dance compositions by Noa Eshkol, all composed in Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation. “…Each dance belongs to a suite of dances. A suite of dances encompasses variations on a movement theme or themes. A movement theme can be defined only by movement notation, and cannot be defined by a story.” (Noa Eshkol, 1979)

In 1991, Eshkol writes:

“In retrospect, I see that virtually all of my dances are in fact exercises in movement notation, in that they were all either composed in notation, or in terms of notational concepts (in the case of pre-EW notation).

The purpose of composing with a notation is to be able to analyze a movement theme into its elements, without preconceived ideas – of a performance intended to express (for example) happiness, death… The names given to the dances are appendices, not declarations of predetermined content to be expressed by the movements. The intention is always to treat the elements as parts of a continuum – that is to say, systematically. The numerical treatment of amounts of movement, of order of movements, can reflect processes. This holds in the case of the numerical (quantitative) analysis of observed phenomena, as in zoology. Dance is an artificially created phenomenon: the “system” represented by my compositions is a system implied by the notation method. It may be that others are possible as well.

In other methods of movement notation, it is not possible to analyze the material quantitatively. The symbols of Labanotation, representing notation such as high, medium and low, do not refer to any quantifiable element in the physical world. The symbols of Benesh do not indicate movement elements but gestelten, and are not open to quantification. CMDN approaches quantification, but does not use numbers as such as the basis of the system, which makes quantitative treatment of the movement impossible. It is possible to translate most of a CMDN score into numerical values, but this amounts virtually to converting it into an EW score. EWMN expresses quantities, intervals.

The aim of EWMN and the aim of using series (which a quantitative notation allows) is to enable one to deal with the physical phenomena: in the first place, the human body in space.

Theses exercises are quite primitive, and are all built round the interval of 45 degrees. The approach is like selection of a scale, and attempting to exhaust all of the possibilities contained within it.

In retrospect, EWMN appears to have created a movement “technique”. The accepted view of dance is that unlike painting or music, it is a means of expression of the dancer’s own person. In classical ballet and in modern dance, the method cultivated is that of practicing forms of movement, much as movements are practiced in various sports, until skill is achieved. These movements are then deployed as the material for the composition of dances, with some decorative additions and gimmicks. Every innovator in the world of dance has added to the available repertoire of dance movements (e.g. Martha Graham).

These études [referring to the suite “Symmetrical & Sentimental Etudes“] were developed for use with a class of movement students, and they constitute an essential “technique” – the neuro-physical basis required for a person who intends to work with what I have characterized above as artificial movement.

How is it possible to create a technique based on the notation, which does not dictate forms of movement, which are to be learned as it were by rote, that is by diligent practice until the skill is acquired in those specific movements? How can an approach which does not do this be other than completely lacking in forms?

Quantification and the employments of devices such as series do not confer any intrinsic additional value upon movement sequences. Movements which are not executed clearly and correctly, remain unclear and unintelligible even when backed up by the existence of a series carefully written out in EW notation. The presence of order in the score does not automatically ensure the existence of visible order in the physical interpretation: intention is not sufficient – there is no way of bypassing the need for skilled performance: otherwise there can only be a pretense of perceptible order whereas the reality is more or less chaotic.”



The suite Right Angled Curves

Read Preface

Read Introduction

Warrior (March)

Read Introduction

Read First Page Of Notation  Score

(variation – front 0)

Long Necked Birds

Read Introduction

Read First Page Of Notation  Score

The Four Seasons

Read Introduction

Read First Page Of Notation  Score 

Great Birds

Read IntroductionRead First Page Of Notation  Score


Pollen (Waltz)



Small Birds in Trees


Birds of Prey


The suite Diminishing Series

“Seven” Reflections in Water

“Six” Wild Courting

“Five” Island Birds

“Four” Seraphim

“Three” Snail Trails

“Two” Door Shadows

“One” A Travelling Folk Dance

“Zero” A Standing Folk Dance

The suite Rubaiyat

Love Dance – Appassionato

Birds of Paradise – Allegro Cantabile

Kites – Vigoroso

Summer Evening – Dolce

(without the torso’s part)

(with the torso’s part)

Love Dance – Agitato

Narcissus – Reflective

(front 1, 7)

(front 0)

Narcissus – Anguished

The suite Angles & Angels

The suite Symmetrical & Sentimental Etudes


Gestures (Canon)

Gestures – II(Variation on the first verse)

Etude No. 1 – March

Etude No. 1 – Elegy

Etude No. 2 – Formal Waltz (Hint of Classical Ballet)

Etude No. 2 – Tarantella

Etude No. 3 – Parade

Etude No. 3 – Memories of Heroes

Etude No. 4 – Sentimental Waltz (Leave taking)

Etude No. 5 – Promenade

Etude No. 6 – Lullaby

Etude No. 6 – Sad Chant

Etude No. 6 – Folk Dance

The suite Theme & Variations

Rotating Birds (Arabesques) (5)

Fugue (0) Trio (Rotating)

Stoning (6)

Peacock (3)

Prelude (5)

Honi Ha’Me’agel

Fugue (2)

Juggler (0)

Embellished Vase (Greek) (7)

Promenade (Strolling) (0)

Fugue (0) Trio (“Static”)

Fugue (0) Duet

Ballad (1)

War Dance (Heraldic) (1)

War Dance (March) (1)

Jacob, Rachel and Leah (2)

Folk Dance (3)

Minuet (3)

Landler (4)

Duet (5)
(Summary Dance)

Chorus – Caryatids (5)
(Summary Dance)

Stoning (6)

Tristian (6)

Jumps (4)