The Legacy and the Vision

dancer_image2The Legacy

Rudolf Laban, Irmgard Bartenieff, and Warren Lamb—these three individuals dedicated their lives to the study of human movement. While their careers are closely connected, each has made a unique contribution and opened the way for others to follow.

Rudolf Laban was a remarkable visionary, who recognized that human movement is not merely a physical happening, but one rich with psychological and intellectual meaning. Movement, however, is an elusive phenomenon that disappears even as it occurs, leaving no trace behind. It was Laban’s unique genius to find a way to capture movement, conceptually and symbolically. The two systems he created – Laban Movement Analysis and Labanotation – have made it possible for artists and scientists alike to work with the elusive phenomenon of movement in tangible ways. … Read More


Irmgard Bartenieff studied dance with Laban in Germany. She believed, like Laban, that movement has a universal and understandable basis. After immigrating to the U.S., she carried carried Laban’s explorations forward in a variety of fields. She created small revolutions in the rehabilitative treatment of polio victims and helped to found the new profession of dance therapy. She pioneered the application of movement analysis in cross-cultural dance research. Her own explorations led her to study with Laban’s British protégé, Warren Lamb, and to incorporate his insights into her own work training and inspiring the next generation of Laban Movement Analysts. … Read More


Warren Lamb intended to study dance with Laban, but soon found himself analyzing the efficiency of manual laborers in the factories of northern England. Occasionally, managers also asked for advice to improve their job performance. Lamb took Laban’s insights and methods seriously, applying them to study the movement patterns of managers. Lamb’s Movement Pattern Analysis, validated in the competitive arena of business, has established concrete links between movement behaviors and the cognitive processes involved in making and executing decisions. Movement study has helped over 30,000 decision-makers around the world unleash hidden potential. … Read More

The Vision

The true legacy of Laban, Bartenieff, and Lamb is their vision of movement.

These remarkable pioneers encourage us to think of movement holistically, as the outward and visible symbol of the entire human being – mind and spirit mirrored in every move.

They challenge us to see movement as the common denominator of human endeavor and to develop movement study as the common ground where the related disciplines dealing with human expression and physical function can meet and enrich their knowledge.

They remind us that movement has hidden powers – to develop, to restore, and to extend the capacities of body and mind. They ask us to be pioneers, too.

Finally, they encourage us to embrace change. For movement is dynamic, the fluid power that allows us to recreate ourselves and our world.