Laban Movement Analysis Overview

By: Dzhingarov

The Laban Movement Analysis (commonly referred to as LMA) is a language and a method that visualizes, interprets, documents and describes various human movements. Most of the study is based on Rudolf Laban and then on the development that was done by Warren Lamb, Irmgard Bartenieff and Lisa Ullmann.

LMA includes various contributions from psychology, kinesiology, Labanotation and anatomy in order to create a tool that is useful for actors, dancers, occupational therapists, anthropology, leadership development, business consulting, athletes, musicians and a whole lot more.

We normally see the Laban Movement analysis being divided into the following categories:

  • Body – Total Body Connectivity, based on Bartenieff Fundamentals
  • Effort – Energetic Dynamics
  • Shape
  • Space

Body LMA

In the body category we see physical and structural human body characteristics that appear when moving. Most of the work that is done in this category appeared through the work of Laban but it was developed further, to the state it is at at the moment, by the collaborator/student Irmgard Bartenieff. This category has applications in somatic therapies, fitness, dance techniques, rehabilitation and much more.

Effort LMA

Effort, sometimes described as being dynamics, is one system that focuses on understanding subtle characteristics connected to movement and inner intention. Basically, think about the difference found in being angry and punching a person and reaching for one glass of water.

This part of LMA also brings in flow, which is responsible for motion ongoingness. Flow Effort is included in the practice and combined with everything else.

Shape LMA

The Body Laban Movement Analysis category is mostly focused on connections between space/body intent and the actual body. Basically, the focus is put on how the body will change its shape while moving. Shape LMA is normally a huge factor that is used and integrated into various other types of LMA.

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Space LMA

Sometimes referred to as Space Harmony, this is a huge part of the contribution made by Laban to the Laban Movement Analysis. This is one category that basically connects motion with spatial patterns, pathways, environment, and spatial tension lines. It should be known that this part of LMA is currently under development.