Shape as Laban Conceived It

Laban-Shape

Choreutics (space) and Eukinetics (effort) are the two broad categorical headings under which Laban grouped elements of movement. He did not single out shape as a separate category. Initially, shape was a Gestalt concept for Laban, a combination of the lines traced by the body in space and the dynamic qualities observable in these three-dimensional sequences.

Laban’s first career as a visual artist and his familiarity with Art Nouveau and abstract Expressionist theories influenced his initial description of shape as an element of dance and movement.Read More

Laban’s “Language of Space”

Laban's-language

In Meaning in Motion, I explain that Laban’s notion of the mover’s space has two aspects: one descriptive and one prescriptive.

To better describe movement, Laban created several “geographies” of space. These give definition to the bubble of territory adjacent to the mover’s body, which Laban called the “kinesphere.” Such geographies created landmarks in the kinesphere and make the systematic description of motion in three dimensions possible.

In addition, Laban designed highly symmetrical sequences of directional change that circle through different areas of the kinesphere.Read More

Teaching Laban’s Effort Theory

Laban's-Effort-Theory

Laban’s theory of the dynamics of human movement (effort) is deceptively simple. There are only four motion factors (Weight, Time, Space, and Flow) and eight effort qualities. But the theory becomes much richer because different combinations and sequences of effort qualities express very different states of mind.  

It is difficult to convey this richness in a semester-long course.  And I think that is okay. Students should not believe they have mastered all there is to know about  Laban in only a few weeks.  Read More

Laban’s Alphabet of Human Movement

alphabet-of-human-movement

In the early 20th century, before there were video cameras and smartphones, Laban recognized that dance, like music, needed a notation system to allow choreographies to be recorded.  Developing a movement notation system necessitated two steps. First, the elements that make up the “alphabet of human movement” had to be identified. Secondly, symbols to represent these elements and their combinations and sequences had to be invented.

Like all good theoreticians, Laban wanted to control the number of elements so as to make his notation system as economical as possible.  Read More

Teaching LMA at The College Level

Teaching-LMA

Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) requires thinking as well as moving. Whether one is working with performing arts majors or a more mixed population, most students have never thought about movement and its component parts.  In this month’s series of blogs, I explore how to deal with some of the challenges of teaching LMA at the college level.

Besides providing rich movement experiences that highlight key features of movement (Body, Effort, Space, and Shape), it is vital to help students connect these experiences with meaning.  Read More

Effort and Human Potential

effort-human-potential

“We live only part of the life we are given,” writes Michael Murphy in The Future of the Body.  “Growing acquaintance with once-foreign cultures, new discoveries about our subliminal depths, and the dawning recognition that each social group reinforces just some human attributes while neglecting or suppressing others … suggests that we harbor a range of capacities that no single philosophy or psychology has fully embraced.”

Rudolf Laban would certainly agree.  “Preference for a few effort combinations only results in a lack of effort balance,” Laban notes.  Read More

Effort Relationships

effort-relationships

At its best, human movement flows smoothly and gracefully in organic sequences.  The proportion of our limbs and the structure of our joints determine the way movement sequences unfold in the kinesphere.  As Laban notes, “a movement makes sense only if it progresses organically and this means that phases which follow each other in a natural succession must be chosen.”

Laban was also concerned with the natural succession of effort moods in the dynamosphere.  Exertion obviously requires effort; Laban found that recovery also involves effort.  Read More

Psychological Dimensions of Effort 2

psychological-dimensions-of-effort

In relation to the psychological aspects of effort, Laban also drew upon C.J. Jung’s theory of personality types. Jung posits four “Functions of Consciousness”  – sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuiting. Sensing tells you that something exists.  Thinking tells you what it is.  Feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not.  Intuiting tells you whence it comes and where it is going.

Laban hypothesized that these psychological functions are embodied through each of the four motion factors. The motion factor of Weight relates to sensing; Space, to thinking; Flow, to feeling; and Time, to intuiting. Read More

Psychological Dimensions of Effort 1

psychology-dimensions-of-effort

Rudolf Laban recognized that the four motion factors (Space, Weight, Time, and Flow) characterize both physical and mental effort.  He associated Space with attention, Weight with intention, Time with decision, and Flow with progression.

Laban saw these mental efforts as both preceding and accompanying “purposive actions.”

Warren Lamb went on to refine these correlations of physical and mental effort in relation to a decision-making process.  He found that through the careful observation of an individual’s movement patterns, a unique decision-making profile can be discerned.Read More

The Dynamosphere: Effort Maps in 3-D

efforts-map-in-3D

The “dynamosphere” is a three-dimensional model of effort relationships. Laban chose a cube for depicting effort kinships. Cate Deicher and I will be exploring these relationships in the forthcoming workshop, “Expanding the Dynamosphere.

Many people are familiar with the way Laban positioned the eight basic actions (floating, gliding, pressing, punching, etc.) at each of the eight corners of the cube. Whimsically, Laban likened this effort model to a “town with a good many cross-roads and squares between houses in which the effort microbes live.”  He goes on to add, “It is a curious peculiarity of this city that near relatives dwell nearer to each other than more distant relatives, and these live nearer than strangers or enemies.Read More