Contra/Country Dance Markup Language Project

CDML is intended to be a method of describing a contra dance (or other, similarly structured, folk dances) in a form that can be read and written by both humans and machines.

CDML Project Goals    Other Dance Languages    Who's Who    Listserver    Other Uses of "CDML"

Potential uses include:

At present, we are gathering together (in a virtual sense) and beginning to define goals. We have set up a listserver to host our e-mail discussions. We welcome interested individuals who wish to contribute or merely listen in.

This page has been blogged: The author kind of misses the point (CDML is intended as a means to communicate dance descriptions, not a route to create dancinging robots), but it's interesting to read.

In the meantime, please send in any thoughts you might have on this!

Thank you!

§ CDML Project Goals

This is only a draft (proposed April 26, 2001).

The goal of the CDML Project is to define a comprehensive formal language that describes contra dances and similar folkdances, can be read and understood by both software and humans, and can be extended.

Comments on grammar and wording are encouraged. Is this too limited? Too big? Missing something?

Our primary deliverable will be a formal standards document.

With the possible exception of sample readers and writers, software development is specifically excluded from our current efforts.

It is currently contemplated to secure copyright protection for our work, and assign the copyright to some appropriate long lived organization.

§ Other Dance Languages

We are not the first. Below are references to other efforts similar to CDML. URL's marked Linkfest are collections of links to other pages.
A basic glossary of dance terms is at

The following were provided by Greg Hopkins (March 4, 2001):

A collection of links to other resources: Linkfest
Here is an organization about a historically significant language for dance choreography, also have computer editors for this notation:
Info at this link for academics involved with computers & dancing:
[it's an undated but extensive survey of primarily academic efforts - Mike Schuh]
The title of the paper at this link is "Dance and the Computer: A Potential for Graphic Synergy"

The following were provided by Marilyn Carlson (April 3, 2001):

An explanation of dance notation:
A computer choreography project.
This is a website by a guy in Germany, Christian Griesbeck, who is trying to design a computer program for choreography and to simulate dancers

Detailed explanation of Laban Notation
Links to human simulation sites Simulation Linkfest
University of Pennsylvania Center for Human Modeling and Simulation
"The overall goal of the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation is the modeling and animation of human movement. That central topic drives a number of related research interests covering a broad scope from image synthesis to natural language interfaces."

MacBenesh software
"MacBenesh 6.0* lets you create Benesh Notation scores or individual staves that can be included in other documents. When printed on a PostScript device, high qu ality output is produced. This latest version has improved reliability and better function for producing Titles, Headers, and Footers for your scores."

Mathematical approaches

Ted Crane reports the following on his web page:
"A mathematical approach to contra dance and an unemotional way to write a contra dance."
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