Laban Movement Analysis (or LMA) is a system for studying, understanding, describing, and notating all aspects of bodily movement. Devised by Hungarian-born dance artist and theorist Rudolf Laban (1879-1958), LMA is used by dancers and other performers - as well as by athletes and physical/occupational therapists - worldwide.
LMA has four inter-related areas of principle study: Body, Effort, Shape, and Space.
Body: This category studies the structural characteristics of the body in motion (including where in the body movement begins, the sequence in which various body parts move to carry out a given action, and the connection of body parts to one another.
Effort: Also known as dynamics, this category examines the specific ways in which movements are carried out with regard to inner intention (for instance, how the action of reaching for a glass differs from the action of punching someone. Although the movement sequence of these two actions is very similar, Laban found that they differed in terms of physical characteristics like strength, weight, and “flow.”) Effort has several sub-categories, collectively known as the “Action Efforts,” which are often used in drama schools to train actors’ ability to shift quickly between various physical manifestations of emotion.
Shape: This category studies the ways in which the body changes shape while moving. There are several sub-categories, which combine to describe static poses the body takes, as well as the varying shape of the body in relationship to itself and to its environment.
Space: Laban’s theories about spatial relationships constitute perhaps his greatest contribution to movement studies. He described a complex system of geometry involving solid and crystalline forms and the structure of the human body, as well as the spatial patterns, pathways, and lines of spatial tension between them. Laban believed that some ways of organizing and
moving in space were more “harmonious” (theoretically and aesthetically pleasing) than others, and that people could learn to refine their range of movement to optimize this Space Harmony.
LMA today is often integrated with the Bartenieff Fundamentalssm (BF) - an extension of Laban’s theories developed by his disciple, Irmgard Bartenieff, an American physiotherapist. BF is a set of principles and exercises that apply Laban’s theories to the practical functioning of the human body. These include dynamic alignment; breath and core support; initiation, rotation, and sequencing; spatial intent; weight centering and transference; and developmental patterning.
LABAN (founded by Laban himself in 1948 as the Art of Movement Studio) is a fully accredited performing arts university offering a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees; as well as a selection of evening and short courses which are open to all.
The Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies http://www.limsonline.org
520 Eighth Avenue (between 36th and 37th Streets)
New York, NY 10018 Phone: (212) 643-8888 Fax: (212) 643-8388 E-mail: email@example.com
The LABAN Centre for Movement and Dance Studies http://www.laban.org
London SE8 3DZ
United Kingdom Phone: (+44) 208-691-8600 Fax: (+44) 208-691-8400 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org