Vladimir Ivanovich Stepanov

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Vladimir Ivanovich Stepanov (1866 - 1896), dancer at the Imperial Ballet in Saint Petersburg. In 1892 he published a dance notation with the title L'Alphabet des Mouvements du Corps Humain. This Alphabet of Movements of the Human Body is a notation that encodes dance movements with musical notes and not with pictographs or newly invented abstract symbols. Stepanov breaks complex movements down to elementary moves which single parts of the body can make. These basic moves are then enciphered as musical signs.

It was through this method of dance notation, as perfected by Alexander Gorsky, that many of the great choreographer Marius Petipa's ballets were notated. Today this method is preserved in the Harvard University Library Theatre Collection and is known as the Sergeyev Collection.


  • Gorsky, Alexander. Two Essays on Stepanov Dance Notation (Translated from Russian into English by Roland John Wiley). New York 1978.
  • Stepanov, Vladimir Ivanovich. Alphabet of Movements of the Human Body (Translated from French into English by Raymond Lister, 1892). Cambridge 1958.