WAEF 2023 LBMS Summit Program

21 Aug

WAEF 2023 LBMS Summit Program

LBMS Summit Programme outline (TBC upon submission content)


Day 1:Laban/Bartenieff Movement System – 21st Century developments, processes, applications, opportunities, and challenges. 

We will explore the rich global landscape of ‘Laban’ practice and the various processes and applications of the LBMS framework. The afternoon’s sessions will be particularly focused on contemporary issues arising from LBMS and the opportunities it offers, as well as an honest and bold approach to discussing its challenges and limitations for the 21st Century.

Laban’s work as a theatre artist is widely recognised. We encourage submissions which explore contemporary developments of Laban’s principles and how these can be used in creative practice, and/or to enhance performer training in arts contexts, which may include dance, drama, theatre, music. Submissions relating to how Laban’s principles are integrated in the health and wellbeing fields to benefit participants’ health and wellbeing are also welcomed.

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


LBMS in –

  • 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.


  • Opportunities and challenges for contemporary practitioners  

We welcome workshops, performances, papers, moving papers/demonstrations, snapshots of practice, key conversations/groups, provocations which illuminate opportunity and/or challenges in the LBMS for 21
st Century Practice. 



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.


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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