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07 Oct

WAEF 2023 LBMS Summit Program D3

LBMS Summit Programme outline (TBC upon submission content)


Day 3:  Integrating First and Third Person Views of Movement 

While Laban’s work is associated with objective movement recording and analysis, he was equally aware of the need for a first person understanding of movement as experienced by the individual and the group.  He called the first person, somatic view the “bodily perspective,” writing that “Although in analysis we look at movement from the standpoint of an outside observer, we should try to feel it sympathetically from within.  A mind trained to assist bodily perspective would give us a completely new outlook on movement and therefore on life.” (Laban, 1966: 90). 

Laban’s Movement Analysis framework offers a scientific approach to the study of movement. As a methodology itself, LMA offers a dual approach in that the movement practice is both the subject of enquiry and source of data, as well as the method of data collection. Through analysis of the parameters of Body, Effort, Space and Shape, the movement analyst observes the mover for empirical evidence of these parameters and how they interrelate, giving information about a mover’s ‘preferences’ in movement, or specifically about a particular area the mover or analyst want to address.  

Information/data gleaned from observation/s can be recorded on a ‘coding sheet’ where the analyst and mover can ‘make sense’ of the movement for therapeutic, performance, or educative purposes. Alongside this method, Labanotation /Motif symbols and combinations of them arranged on a score communicate in detail the various components of movement (direction, level, phrasing, dynamics etc.) for recording and observation purposes. This has approach to Laban’s work has dominated the field of Laban studies, and whilst the framework offers a useful tool for movement analysis, it fails to comprehend, or record the more elusive and ineffable aspects of human movement. 

However, whilst the legacy of Laban’s work allows us to analyse, dissect and understand movement phenomenon in great detail, what has been absent from the canon is the acknowledgment of the ‘ineffable’, more somatic, subtle and energetic aspects of the body which are illuminated in movement practice. That is, the somatic-spiritual aspects of Laban’s thinking which underpins his notion of ‘movement harmony’ and more generally, his insistence on movement experience and analysis from a “bodily perspective” and “a new awareness and practice of this faculty” (Laban, 1966: 91). 

In archived notes, manuscripts and drawings, Laban asserts that subtle energies can be brought to notice via physical movement practice, can be ‘awakened’, enlivening the individual in their ‘soul’ life in the subtle body, or “ghost function” as he calls it (Laban, n.d., L/E/5/37). In published texts he refers to “the “dream-side of life” (Laban. 1971: 3), ‘inner life’ of the mover and “life hidden beneath external appearances” (Laban, 1980: 143), and “the land of silence”, “the realm of the soul” (Laban, 1975: 89). He alludes to the subtle-somatic in comments such as “dance-like thinking and feeling brings about a consciousness of one’s innermost self” whereby “the physical self disappears” and the “fleeting pathway of the dancer is filled with ethical spirit” (Laban, 1975: 178). In various published and unpublished texts, Laban repeatedly refers to the unconscious as being both the site of and gateway towards such soma-spiritual faculties. He goes further and suggests that it is in art, and specifically the art of movement as an embodied art form, which illuminates subtle energy and is our “highest representative of our capacity to dream” (Laban, 1971: 6) and which comes from the realm of the unconscious.  Practice of these ideas offers an understanding of movement which is not solely in the corporeal, analysable domain and illuminates and grants meaning to physical movement. 

During this day, we invite papers, presentations, and workshops that approach movement objectively, subjectively, physically, metaphysically, spiritually, and approaches that comingle these perspectives. Our aim is to invite conversations that explore movement experience from the outside in and the inside out, ideas and practices that challenge the dichotomy of object and subject. 

AM/PM activities TBD on submissions content to ensure a diverse mix / intermingling of ideas and approaches in-keeping with the days’ aims of integration and synthesis. 

  • Movement analysis – what can we (not) see  
  • Movement tracking, sensing, recording and integrating: methods for making ‘sense’ of movement experience/s 
  • Methods and processes of observation and movement ‘witnessing’ 
  • Languaging/ naming movement 
  • The mover/observer relationship 
  • Movement Pattern Analysis
    – e
    mbodied decision making
    – building teams of diverse decision makers 
  • Somatic approaches to movement analysis 
  • Choreutic and Eukinetic pathways to body-mind-spirit-soul-soma 
  • What can a somatic-spiritual approach Laban’s work offer the movement analyst and contemporary practitioner of LBMS // vice versa 

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

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