A lot of the modern dance we teach here at the studio is based on the principles of Laban and Bartenieff, rather than some of the more well-known modern techniques like Graham or Horton. We want to introduce you to these two characters and some of the ideas they pioneered in order for you to have a better understanding of what you are walking into when you take a modern class with us!
Rudolf Laban was a Hungarian theoretician who created a notation system, called Labanotation, to describe human movement. He wanted to be able to break down movement to the simplest form possible. Each basic movement could then be layered with other basic movements to create a movement score, easily repeated by someone who knew how to read it. Labanotation is frequently used to record major dance works so that they can later be restaged, which has helped the dance community preserve many of its greatest works of art.
Irmgard Bartenieff was a student of Laban, and took his work and applied it on both dancers and those going through physical therapy, developing a system called the Bartenieff Fundamentals. This method uses Laban’s ideas about basic movement principles to reeducate the body to move in the most efficient way possible. In a dance application, these fundamental ideas are used to train dancers to work efficiently, allowing them to perform longer, avoid injury, and create clarity in the intent of their movement.
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