The mobius strip, also known as a lemniscate, is a unique shape having only one side and one edge. The shape was invented almost simultaneously by two German mathematicians in 1858. It became popular as a prop for magical parlor tricks in the late 19th century, and perhaps this is how Laban encountered it.
You can make one yourself by twisting a strip of paper and joining the ends. A normal band (think of a rubber band or a simple bracelet) has an inner surface and an outer surface and two edges. … Read More
As bipeds with mobile shoulder and hip joints, human beings have a wide range of motion available. Yet physical challenges, such as the force of gravity and our heavy heads, limit the extent to which we actively tap fully three-dimensional movement. And mental habits can also limit our access to space.
Rudolf Laban succinctly identified two cognitive maps of space. The first is the dimensional cross and the cardinal directions of up and down, right and left, forward and backward.… Read More
The ancient Greeks knew that there were only five three dimensional symmetrical shapes – the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron. The first four shapes occur in nature, in various inorganic crystals. But the icosahedron appeared to exist only in mathematicians’ imaginations.
However, as Dr. Eugenia Cheng noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, once electron microscopes were invented [circa 1930], “we discovered that many viruses, in fact, have icosahedron structures.” Since the latter discovery around 1950, Cheng adds, modern uses for the icosahedral shape have been found, such as geodesic domes and soccer balls.… Read More
Laban’s notions of space are the most difficult to understand and to embody for many movement analysis students. Laban himself had to perform some mental gymnastics to capture the disappearing trace-forms of natural movement. Fortunately, he left a guidebook – Choreutics (aka – The Language of Movement).
Choreutics has always been my favorite book by Laban – but it is not an easy read. Consequently, I developed an “old school” correspondence course in 2016 –“Decoding Rudolf Laban’s Masterpiece, Choreutics.” Back by popular demand, this course takes readers on a guided tour of this fascinating book.… Read More
I will be teaching master workshops for Eurolab in Berlin in mid-October. The workshop theme is “Laban as Pattern Maker – Material That Never Gets Taught in the Certificate Program.”
Across three days, we will be exploring patterns in space and effort patterns. In terms of space, I aim to start with concepts that underlie Laban’s Choreutic forms, such as “rhythmic circles,” symmetry operations, and spatial intervals. Practical work will focus on embodying the Primary Scale, along with mixed 7-rings (one of the Choreutic forms that is seldom taught).… Read More
I created the correspondence course, “Decoding Laban’s Choreutics” last year for two reasons: 1) I wanted to push myself to study this seminal book deeply, and 2) now that it is back in print, I wanted to encourage other movement analysts to read it, too.
I’ve read Choreutics more than once, and it has always been my favorite of Laban’s books. I learned a lot by organizing the reading assignments, and re-reading along with fellow movement analysts. Here is what some of them had to say:
“The course provided me with a most satisfying and fulfilling re-engagement with the world of LMA.”
“I gained the chance to digest/redigest this material 30+ years hence my original training – which allowed me to bring MY experience into the mix.”
“The pace was just right.… Read More
Moving oneself and observing others move are the best ways to learn about movement, but not the only ways. Recently I’ve been experimenting (successfully!) with correspondence courses.
It may seem counterintuitive that something as “old school” as a correspondence course can advance Laban’s work. But I, and nearly 40 readers on five continents, have been finding that this a great way to approach two of Laban’s most seminal books, Choreutics (aka The Language of Movement) and Mastery of Movement.
Choreutics primarily focuses on the space and shape aspects of movement, while Mastery deals more with body and effort.… Read More
During the recent MoveScape Center workshop, “Expanding the Dynamosphere,” in New York City, we all had an “ah ha” moment about Laban’s effort theory. Here is how this insight unfolded.
Laban identified four effort drives. Of these, the Action Drive is the best known, for it deals with practical movements involved in working with tangible objects. The other three drives – Vision, Passion, and Spell – are called “transformation drives.” These are more subtle and complex effort combinations that have less to do with physical actions and more to do with mental activities such as thinking, feeling, and willing.… Read More
I am dedicated to advancing Laban’s thinking – on the printed page, in the real space of the movement studio, and in the virtual space of the internet. I’ll be working in all three areas this autumn.
Irmgard Bartenieff observed that Laban’s life was “one great unfinished symphony.” She wanted her students to understand that Laban’s notation and movement analysis systems did not come about all at once. According to Irmgard, Laban was counting on future generations to carry the study of movement forward.… Read More
Laban Movement Analysis allows one to approach the body both objectively and subjectively. Labanotation and motif writing provide means to analyze body actions objectively, while the somatic practice of Bartenieff Fundamentals is focused more on internal self-awareness.
Both bodily perspectives are presented in Meaning in Motion. The first section provides a terse illustration of how bodily actions are analyzed and recorded. The second section places the work of Laban and Bartenieff in the broader context of the somatics movement. A third section discusses principles and exercises of Bartenieff Fundamentals.… Read More