What’s So Special About Rudolf Laban?
Rudolf Laban (1879-1958) was born into the military aristocracy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Rejecting a military career, Laban studied visual art in Munich and Paris, where he was involved with modernist movements such as Art Nouveau, Expressionism, and Dada. However, Laban's artistic passion was to establish dance as an art of equal standing to the other arts. He applied himself tirelessly to this task.
Thus, among other activities, Laban developed a dance notation system, wrote extensively, established schools of dance and a dancers' union, choreographed works for the theatre, created large movement choirs for amateur dancers, analyzed factory workers' movements to enhance efficiency, trained actors in movement for the stage, and pioneered the fields of educational dance and dance therapy.
But the real importance of his work lies beyond these achievements. Laban's vision penetrated the surface of physical action to reveal general laws of movement. As a consequence, Laban's work represents one of the few cohesive theories of human movement available to those who wish to study human action in depth.
As Bartenieff notes, “we have no major publication that summarizes insights his into one philosophical-theoretical statement, but we have three crystallizations of his ways of looking at, analysing, describing and notating movement: (1) space harmony (choreutics), (2) Labanotation/Kinetography, and (3) Effort/Effort notation… The existence of these three systems enables his colleagues and students to study and work with some extremely elusive phenomena in tangible ways.”
Laban himself wrote, "I am not interested in a wide spreading of my personal methods." Instead, he wanted others to share his "dynamic outlook" and to pay more attention to movement - bodily and mental - as the "basis of all human activity."
"In the tradition of Laban" means that Motus Humanus shares this view. We do not aim merely to promote a particular system or methodology. Rather, Motus Humanus intends to keep alive a dynamic spirit of inquiry, one that, like Laban's, seeks to illuminate movement as the wellspring of human life.
Learn more about Rudolf Laban’s ideas – download the bibliography of books by Motus Humanus members!