Summer 2004

Laban Movement Analysis: Observation, Description, and Embodiment


06/28/2004 - 07/15/2004
Monday-Thursday 01:30 PM - 04:30 PM

Pine Street Studio

Laban Movement Analysis is a broad and comprehensive system for observing, describing, and notating movement that was devised by Rudolf Laban in the early part of the 20th century and was developed further by his students Mary Wigman, Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Vera Maletic, and others. This course will explore the theories and principles of LMA, including the conceptual frameworks of body, effort, shape, and space, historical background, applications of LMA in dance, theatre, education, anthropology, and psychology, and basic Labanotation (a written language for describing movement). This course will also include an introduction to the bodywork modality, developed by Irmgard Bartenieff (another student of Laban), that focuses on psychophysical connectivity to facilitate efficiency and expressivity in movement. The material will be introduced through observation, improvisation, exploration, composition, readings, group discussions, and movement assignments as both a methodology for observing/describing the structural and qualitative aspects of human movement and a means of identifying personal movement preferences in order to introduce a greater range of functional and expressive movement. Laban Movement Analysis can be applied to and provide insight into the study of history, anthropology, psychology, theater, physical therapy, and education as well as dance performance, choreography, teaching, and scholarship.

This course relies heavily on experiential learning, and one major "text" used in the class will be the body in movement. Other sources include Peggy Hackney, MAKING CONNECTIONS: TOTAL BODY INTEGRATION THROUGHT BARTENEIFF FUNDAMENTALS; Jean Newlove, LABAN FOR ACTORS AND DANCERS; Eden Davies, BEYOND DANCE: LAGAN'S LEGACY OF MOVEMENT ANALYSIS; articles drawn from Dance Research Journal, The Drama Review, and other journals; Alan Lomax's documentary on his Choreometrics Project, and several reviews and criticisms of his work by dance anthropologists; and other selected essays in cultural studies and performance studies.

Students will be required to engage in movement exercises, create several compositional studies, complete at least one observation assignment, write a one-page response paper, and devise a final project proposal.

Wear comfortable clothes to class in which you can move freely.

This course counts toward the movement analysis requirement for the dance and movement studies concentration.

Prior to the first meeting of class, students should: read Hackney, "Introduction" through chapter 5, and appendices A and B; and be prepared to perform a short (around one minute) movement (not necessarily dance) composition.

Jessica Berson (B.A. Haverford College; M.A. University of Wisconsin) is visiting assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University. She received her certification in Laban Movement Analysis/Bartenieff Fundamentals from the Integrated Movement Studies program at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on community-based dance and performance, and recent publications include chapters in Bodies in Commotion: Disability in Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2004), Dance and Culture: History, Criticism, and Recent Trends (American Press, 2004), and Mapping Feminist Pedagogies in Theatre (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming).


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Studio

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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