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Jean Newlove

Geraldine Stephenson

Valerie Preston-Dunlop

Peggy Hackney

Carol Lynne Moore

Warren Lamb
Ann Hutchinson Guest

Sam Thornton

William Forsythe


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Rudolf Laban (1879-1958)

Laban was born into a military family in Bratislava, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. As a young man, he turned away from the family’s tradition and went to Paris to study art and architecture. There he found his artistic and spiritual sensitivities enlivened, surrounded by the early expressionists and philosophical dialogues of the times. He followed his urges to explore these notions in the movement of the human body, and gradually grew to become what he is often dubbed, “the father of modern dance.” As his influence grew, he developed schools for movement study, first in Switzerland, then in Germany and later in England. Laban’s life story is rich in discovery and determination, revealing a creative genius by the breadth of his innovations and theories. Laban was a charismatic and brilliant persona, gathering disciples and supporters for his projects. His work grew into an expressive form of theatrical dance and a notation system that brought his concepts into acceptance as a fine art form. His unique teaching methods and insightful programs of study have endured into this century, represented by schools worldwide that offer studies in his theoretical framework, and including thousands of teachers and researchers who continue to evolve his concepts and ideas.

Introduction
by Megan Reisel, producer

Welcome to the Laban Project

The genesis of this production was formed by a wish. The wish has been utterd by many who are certified to teach Laban’s movement analysis, and although it is a simple desire, it is not easy to accomplish. How can we inform our culture about his genius and the value of his work? Can his name become more common in the public mind? We love and appreciate the depth and ingenuity of his life’s work, and recognize how important his genius was in his era. This product is my step in bringing forth that awareness of Laban’s unique gifts to our culture.

In this series of interviews you will meet nine terrifically vital and inspiring individuals who have brought their studies in Laban’s framework for human movement analysis into very useful and meaningful career paths.

I spoke with the first group of speakers over the summer months in 2000. These five teachers and innovators are some of the last remaining persons who worked with Laban in England. They have propelled their early years with Laban’s concepts into very successful professions, and are are still working with the material well into their eighties. As you listen to each of their discussions, you may notice a common admiration for their mentor, while at the same time reflecting their own personal adaptation of Laban’s conceptual framework with a strength and wisdom that reveals each one’s unique understanding of Laban’s contributions.

The individuals in the “second ring” are innovators as well, becoming a second generation of professionals benefiting from Laban’s comprehensive theories. While most have met and worked with the members of the “inner ring,” each have done their own individual research as scholars and teachers in the field, leading them to interpret and extend Laban’s work into the current wave of movement for this century.

In the first group, Jean Newlove, Valerie Preston-Dunlop and Geraldine Stephenson had very intensive apprenticeships with Laban at the Art of Movement studio in Manchester and excelled in their application of his theories to performing arts. Warren Lamb met Laban a bit later, and worked side by side with Laban as he developed much of his work in industrial ergonomics. Ann Hutchinson Guest, a student in the Joos-Lederer dance school at Dartington Hall, met years later with Laban as she worked to perfect and promote his groundbreaking system for notating dance.

The second group of speakers are also researchers and teachers who have built their careers through their intensive studies of Laban’s theories of movement. Peggy Hackney became a personal apprentice to Irmgard Bartenieff and was instrumental in developing the process of study in what is now called Laban Movement Analysis. Bartenieff’, also a student of Laban in Europe, has left a lasting influence in the field, inspiring dance technique, movement therapy and the foundational work in the Body concepts now integral to certification as a Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. Carol Lynne Moore worked extensively with Warren Lamb and has also developed an in-depth dissertation about Space Harmony from her examination of the Laban Archives in Surrey, England. Sam Thornton, along with his wife Susie, has continued the tradition of summer courses in movement that began at the Art of Movement studio in the 1950’s. They have been doing movement choirs for over 25 years and have helped keep the art of movement training that they studied with Lisa Ullman as a robust and evolving program of study for non-professionals. And finally, world reknowned choreographer, William Forsythe speaks about how he has integrated his readings in Laban’s theories into a highly unique and insightful technique for choreography and performance.

Throughout this collection of interviews you will find Laban’s work applied to several professions. The field of human movement as initiated by Laban has now grown in application, far beyond what he knew in his lifetime. The concepts he organized have evolved over the years through the contributions from numerous scholars and performers, bringing forth a relevance for those who work with early childhood development, ergonomics, physical therapy and movement rehabilitation, dance therapy, choreography and performance, an actor’s training, management and organizational development, exercise physiology and yoga-- and most profoundly,
the way in which we view the role of movement in the life of a human being.
The historical information and personal anecdotes will surely capture your imagination and provide you with resources for your own thinking and exploration, hopefully inspiring you to go further in finding meaning and usefulness with the work you study. I would like to offer you some themes that have surfaced for me after reviewing the interviews in entirety:
•each individual has created strong assessments of a particular value in Laban’s theoretical framework, so that career tracks and technical principles have coalesced in personally meaningful applications.
•Laban seemed to have had a remarkable intuitive sensibility that helped him facilitate career directions for his students--which eventually led to a variety of applications of his movement theories into several fields.
•Laban seemed to favor knowledge that was gained experientially. His concepts were considered as fluid and evolving, leading to a non-systematic format of pedagogy. Personal impressions differ as to how Laban behaved as a teacher. This highlights his flexibility and adaptability to adjust to each student for their optimum learning.
•Laban’s proteges and the following generations of students have been able to continue research and development into the field of human movement so that at this time, it continues to be a vital and useful education.
•many of the individuals in this series of interviews remain informed about each other’s work, but are not working collaboratively. Each person has been able to develop personal progress with the material by creating working groups of their own, demonstrated by their capacity to teach, consult, write, choreograph, and work with health and healing.
•the fascination with and motivation derived from the material is timeless---all of the individuals continue to work in the field by cultivating lifelong careers. The resourcefulness of the Laban theories have not been exhausted. There is still much to mine for future generations.
•coupled interviews stimulate comparative analysis, allowing you to find contrast and compatibility between points of view that will inform your own explorations and applications. (Consider how Jean and Geraldine have found teaching actors through different applications of Labananalysis.)

The Laban Project will go on from here, creating new media to present the historical and educational threads that weave the fabric of Laban’s legacy. Your interest in this field has brought us this far. It is my hope that you will use this series again and again to help you find insight and inspiration for your own career. I hope that you too will feel the deep gratitude to Laban for generating so much growth in so many people’s lives.


“Movement is one of man’s languages and as such it must be consciously mastered.”
Rudolf Laban, The Language of Movement: a guidebook to choreutics (1966)



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Jean Newlove

As a teenager in 1942, Jean met Laban at Dartington Hall when she applied for a post as a dance teacher, but Laban requested that she become his personal assistant for his work with movement studies.  She traveled to various factories with Laban, but also learned to teach courses for school teachers, then later with actors and dancers. She eventually built a career from her early roots with Joan Littlewood’s Theater Workshop, developing her skills as a movement coach to actors, creatively utilizing Laban’s movement theories. She continues to offer her popular and successful system of movement training workshops for actors in England, as well as in various major centers in Europe and the USA. Jean is also the author of several books and articles, including “Laban for Actors and Dancers “(1993).

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Geraldine Stephenson

While studying for a degree in Physiotherapy at Bedford College in England, Geraldine was introduced to Laban and Lisa Ullman through an introductory course in “new movement.”. She soon joined the Art of Movement Studio in 1946 and in 1948, while Laban was ill, Geraldine took over his classes at the Northern Theatre School in Bradford, later becoming Laban’s assistant for the next five years. She then began choreographing and performing as one of the pioneer contemporary dancers in England, gradually moving into film and stage by 1951. Her career as a choreographer continued actively, including work for stage with the York Mystery Plays (1951), on TV for Vanity Fair (1967) and film with Stanley Kubrick’s, Barry Lyndon (1975), and various productions for the Royal Shakesphere Theatre. Geraldine celebrated 50 years of choreography in 2000 with an international tour of lecture and demonstrations of her art. She continues to work and lecture from her home in London, England.

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Valerie Preston-Dunlop, DipEd MA PhD

Dr. Preston-Dunlop is a consultant at the newly relocated Laban Centre in London England, where she pioneered the development of choreological studies. A practical scholar, she received her initial training from Rudolf Laban, Lisa Ullman, Kurt Jooss and Albrecht Knust. Valerie is an internationally renowned author, teacher and lecturer. Current books include, “Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life” (winner of the Dance Perspectives book of the year 1999), “Looking at Dances: A Choreological Perspective on Choreography and Dance” and “The Performative: a Choreological Perspective” written with Ana Sanchez-Colberg (due 2002).
Dr. Preston-Dunlop can be reached at The Laban Centre: www.laban.org.

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Peggy Hackney

Peggy Hackney was born in Miami, Florida, in 1944, and raised in Oklahoma City, OK. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University and an M.F.A. in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. She began her studies with the Laban framework at the American Dance Festival, taking courses in Labanotation in 1963 with Helen Priest Rogers.  She was a co-founder of the Intensive LMA Certification Programs in New York City, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Berlin, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Peggy graduated from the very first Effort/Shape Certificate Program in New York City and was a colleague of Irmgard Bartenieff for nearly 15 years. Peggy performed with many dance companies in New York City for 10 years before joining the Bill Evans Dance Co. and touring the USA. She was on the Dance Faculty of the University of Washington for 11 years, and has taught throughout the United States and Europe. She helped to found Seattle’s performance space, “On The Boards,” for emerging artists. She is a co- director and instructor for Integrated Movement Studies, a west coast program for Laban/Bartenieff certification. She is also the Assistant Director of the Moving On Center Certificate Program in Somatics and Participatory Arts in Oakland, CA. As an author she has most recently written, “Making Connections: Total Body Integration Through Bartenieff Fundamentals” (1998)   She currently has a grant from the National Science Foundation through NYU to research the use of LMA to improve the dynamics of Motion Capture in Animation.
Peggy can be reached via her website: www.imsmovement.com

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Carol Lynne Moore BFA, M Counseling, PhD

Carol Lynne Moore was awarded a PhD in 1999 for her thesis “Form and Transformation: The Choreutic Theory of Rudolf Laban”. She is currently pursuing post-doctoral research on Laban under an Arts and Humanities Research Board grant.
Over the past 25 years, Carol-Lynne has lectured extensively in the US and Europe on Laban theory, including Movement Pattern Analysis, an assessment of executive decision-making style developed from industrial and managerial movement studies by Laban, F.C. Lawrence and Warren Lamb. Her publications include “Executives in Action” (MacDonald & Evans, 1982) and, with Kaoru Yamamoto, “Beyond Words: Movement Observation and Analysis” (Gordon & Breach, 1988). She is currently at work on two books based upon research in the Laban Archives. She is a founding member and current President of Motus Humanus, a professional organization for movement specialists based in the US. Carol-Lynne teaches  MA/Postgraduate Diploma courses in Somatic Studies and Labananalysis at the  University of Surrey in England.

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Warren Lamb

Born in England in 1923, Warren became a student of Rudolf Laban in 1946, after returning from duty during WWII.  He worked with Laban as he developed the “Laban-Lawrence Personal Effort Assessment.” While studying at the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester, Warren also performed as a professional dancer. After Laban’s death in 1958, Lamb worked on the Effort /Shape concept and taught it to a number of students, including Irmgard Bartenieff and Judith Kestenberg. He developed Action Profiling, later renamed Movement Pattern Analysis. His most well known book remains “Posture and Gesture “(1965). A recent book, “Beyond Dance: Laban’s Legacy of Movement Analysis” by Eden Davies (London, Brechin Books, 2001) describes his life’s work. Currently Lamb is continuing his management consultancy and teaching activities (based on a wide range of Laban studies), is researching into Movement and Gender. He travels frequently between U.S. and Europe, and is considered one of the leading authorities on Laban’s theories worldwide.

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Ann Hutchinson Guest

The founder of the Language of Dance® Centre (LODC) in England, Ann’s center offers courses in the USA as well.  She is recognized worldwide as an authority on dance notation.  Her research into dance notation systems of the past provided revivals of ballets such as the Pas de Six from La Vivandiere and Nijinsky’s L’Apres-midi d’un Faune. She has also, through her exploration and analysis of movement, evolved the educationally rich Language of Dance® Teaching Method. For her development and practical application of Labanotation she was awarded two honorary doctorates. The dance scores she has produced include The Bournonville School, The Cecchetti Method and syllabi for the Royal Academy of Dance including The Karsavina Syllabus. She is the author of several texts in her field, including “Labanotation:The System of Analyzing and Recording Movement” (1970) and  “Your Move: A new approach to the study of movement and dance” (1995).
Ann Hutchinson Guest can be contacted at her website: www.lodc.org

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Sam Thornton

Sam has been the Director of Laban International Courses, held in Eastbourne, England since 1985. He originally trained and taught Physical Education but moved into Dance at Bretton Hall, Yorkshire in the mid 1960’s. He joined the Art of Movement Studio staff in 1972 and worked with Lisa Ullmann until the Studio closed in 1979. He has taught Laban studies and ‘Movement Choirs’ all over the world, notable works being in Berlin (1993) and at the Albert Hall, London (1996). His particular interests are Movement Choirs and the relevance of the art of movement to this or any other century. His courses reflect the depth and variety of the dance and movement opportunities offered to and welcomed by the participants. . Sam is also an author and lecturer in the field. Sam can be reached at the LinC website: www.laban-courses.co.uk

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William Forsythe

William Forsythe was born in New York City in 1949. He studied dance at Jacksonville University, Florida and later at the Joffrey Ballet School; he subsequently joined the Joffrey Ballet. In 1973 Forsythe joined Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet as a dancer, and later began choreographing works for the company. Over the next seven years, Forsythe made over 20 ballets for the Stuttgart Ballet and for other leading companies, including Nederlands Dans Theater.  In 1984, Forsythe became the Director of Ballett Frankfurt, a year after creating his full-length work for the company, Gänge. With his new company, he set out to create challenging original works which were removed from conventional ballet and to build a new audience.  Forsythe continues to stage pieces for companies around the globe, and his work is in the repertoire of the New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and the Royal Swedish Ballet, among others. These works tend to focus primarily upon ballet dancing, whereas with Ballett Frankfurt he used more complex movement and theatrical environments. Forsythe is now the director of his new company, The Forsythe Company, based in Germany.
His company can be reached at info@theforsythecompany.de


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