When I first became interested in getting an undergraduate degree in Dance, I was looking forward most to being able to discuss movement and dance in a more intelligent and descriptive manner (especially contemporary choreography that can so easily slip out from under the more codified vernacular grasp.) I had no idea it would happen in a class called “Analysis” until I was already in it and the learning was already happening! Of all the knowledge I’ve gained in the class, the content in the Laban Movement Analysis unit has definitely been the most exciting, applicable, and relevant for me.
Acting as assistant to or rehearsal director for are my favorite and ideal roles, and the ways in which LMA can be utilized in those types of scenarios are in abundance. Part of what LMA does is establish a common language to talk about concepts that can be hard to describe or define, especially in regards to the effort qualities. In cleaning choreography and trying to make everyone look the same, being able to start a discussion about the dancer’s intentions and question how they are approaching the movement will be made infinitely easier if we can pull from a set of words that mostly mean the same thing to everyone in the process. Being clear about dimensions and planes can also help establish continuity. Often times, the directions that bodies and body parts are going need to be explored because discussing the “facing” isn’t specific enough.
Another scenario where I would like to further explore the application of LMA concepts would be in improvisational scenarios. I think there are many tasks and scores inherently written inside of the Body, Effort, and Space concepts. They can establish common ground and provide ample inspiration while appropriately limiting and channeling the choices allotted to the mover in a creative and cohesive way.
For example, when improv-ing in a trio with two other LMA nerds, our unspoken task became complimenting and contrasting one another by employing opposing effort qualities (see graph.) If I noticed Erin using free flow, I would perhaps mirror her movement but with a bound flow effort layered on top. If Biag was utilizing sudden time effort, I would attempt to reference his movement but in a sustained way. It was an amazing experience of constant but legible inspiration coming from other bodies, but in a way that left me with ample room to interpret. After the score was over, we began talking about all the ways in which this score could be pulled out–same quality but different movement, opposing qualities between upper and lower body, introducing contact when qualities were different from one another while remaining kinesthetically attuned to one another, etc. While this has value in a purely improvisational sense, it would also be extremely conducive to setting scores and tasks in a compositional or choreographic sense. There would be themes and salience to the movement happening, but it wouldn’t be obvious necessarily what they were.
As Analysis is a required class for this major, it exists as a baseline of communication for every dancer in this department but I can’t imagine how individuals out in the dance world get on without it in process and discussion of movement. If you’re interested in finding out more about LMA, check out this link!