Blog Single

07 Oct

WAEF 2023 LBMS Summit Program D2

LBMS Summit Programme outline (TBC upon submission content)


Day 2: Irmgard Bartenieff and the ‘silent’ bodies of knowledge and overlooked contributors: the women and men who developed and ensured the legacy of ‘Laban’ studies, 

Irmgard Bartenieff’s life took her through the inter-weaving paths of dance theory and analysis, physical therapy, dance movement therapy and cultural analysis. From 1925 she studied with movement educator Rudolf Laban and it is from his work that she developed her own practice known as Bartenieff Fundamentals. Bartenieff developed the theories of her mentor, Laban, working predominantly within educational and therapeutic contexts. In the post-war years she slowly established herself and her practice within the fields of physical therapy and well-being. The emphasis of her work was on the healing effects of movement and the benefits of more integrated bodies in motion. Bartenieff Fundamentals offers a way to increase efficiency in movement, which in turn Bartenieff believed has the capacity to lead to a greater sense of empowerment of self and of being in the world (Bartenieff and Lewis, 1980, Hackney, 2002).  Bartenieff was active until the end of her life, continuing to apply Laban’s theories in a range of contexts.  

While the system primarily bears the names of Laban and Bartenieff, many other women as well as men have extended both theory and practice.  Male contributors include figures such as Kurt Jooss, Sigurd Leeder, Albrecht Knust, Martin Gleisner, F.C. Lawrence, Warren Lamb, and Yat Malmgren whose contributions to the field have often been overlooked and/or undervalued as a part of the full landscape of approaches to movement which stem from the ‘Laban’ tradition.  

Women contributors to the LBMS canon of study and practice, have been largely unacknowledged in both texts and practice in the field. Women practitioners including Irmgard Bartenieff, Lisa Ullmann, Mary Wigman, Martha Fricke; Maja Lederer Suzanne Perottet, Dussia Bereska, Sylvia Bodmer, and others although mentioned in texts about Laban, their contributions are largely ignored in material written by Laban himself and their particular contributions are somewhat invisible, woven into the fabric of ‘Laban’ studies as it is taught and practised today, and Laban himself is usually credited. The invisibility of these women’s embodied knowledges means that their contributions are at the same time inherent to the material and unacknowledged. The second wave of Laban devotees, predominantly in the UK in the late twentieth century, are also women. Valerie Preston-Dunlop, the key ‘trustee’ of his work in the UK, Marion North, Geraldine Stephenson, Jean Newlove, Walli Meyer and more recently, Carol-Lynne Moore to name a few have made distinguished careers for themselves out of further expanding on and illuminating Laban’s theories and their applications, globally. These women have made significant contributions in what we can describe as a network of practice knowledge. This network is predominantly female and facilitates the ongoing articulation of Laban’s theories in various contexts and continues to spread through the silent and somatic modes of embodiment in movement analysis, movement, somatic practices and dance training in the ‘Laban’ tradition.  

Day two of the LBMS Summit focuses in particular on the work of Irmgard Bartenieff through practical sessions, workshops, snapshots of practice, papers/moving papers, and key conversations. Furthermore, the day will turn our focus to ‘Laban’s contributors’ – those under-acknowledged practitioners who have and continue to contribute to the canon of ‘Laban studies’ today, with an emphasis on a feminist perspective. 

We invite contributions which include, but not limited to, the following:


  • Practice sessions exploring Irmgard Bartenieff’s work and legacy – Bartenieff Fundamentals and beyond 
  • Education/pedagogy 
  • Therapy and health 
  • Coaching /business consulting 
  • Creative arts  
  • Performer training and performance 

We welcome workshops, performances, papers, moving papers/demonstrations, snapshots of practice, key conversations/groups, provocations.


  • Bartenieff – new frontiers of practice – sharing research/applications/processes of Bartenieff’s work beyond the framework of LBMS 
  • Laban’s unacknowledged contributors/developers: gathering voices, sharing embodied approaches to LBMS with emphasis on a feminist perspective 

We welcome workshops, performances, papers, moving papers/demonstrations, snapshots of practice, key conversations/groups, provocations.


How to get involved

  • If you would like to present at the Forum, click here
  • If you would like to be involved in the editorial work of the proceedings, click here
  • If your organization would like to be a partner of the Forum, click here
  • If you would like to sponsor the Forum, click here
  • If you would like to be a volunteer, click here


Registration for the participants/delegates opens on Dec 12, 2022

Related Posts