(An informal monthly-ish gathering focused on Laban Movement Analysis. Attending: Peggy Hackney, Lisa Wymore, Brenton Cheng.)
- When teaching LMA, there are natural affinities between aspects of the system, such that teaching one of those aspects provides the doorway to the other aspect. For example, the Patterns of Total Body Connectivity (whole body movement patterns) can be revealed organically and naturally by starting with Shape Flow Support (shape change in the torso) and allowing the movement to grow. Similarly, working with Kinesphere can lead to Spiral Shape forms, as one changes from Far to Near Reach Kinesphere and vice versa; playing in Near Reach space often wakes up Head-Tail spinal work; and Head-Tail exploration can support a discovery of Indirect Space Effort, if attention is involved.
- Starting with Body or Effort often works well when teaching actors, whereas dancers often enjoy starting with Shape.
- In Peggy’s book, “Making Connections,” a rich set of images and meanings is associated with each Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. These associations were developed through a combination of personal exploration, developmental physiology, Body-Mind Centering™, and work with clients and students.
- What are LMA’s blind spots? Every descriptive system that attempts to be comprehensive names its compass points and accepts that there is territory in between the compass points that cannot be described in a singular way, but only by referencing the compass points around it. This is one kind of “blind spot”. The other kind occurs when a named concept is actually two concepts that have been coupled together. To say that “Shaping”, as taught in the LIMS certification program, always consists of 3D, voluminous movement and also shape-changing through the torso belies the fact that these two aspects of movement can occur independently of one another. In the IMS program, “Shaping” is not taught as a concept, but is instead decoupled into “Carving” and “Shape Flow Support”.
- LMA purports to offer a framework for external movement observation, which, supposedly with enough training, provides inter-observer reliability. But within the system, have we inadvertently included concepts which simply can’t and never will be observable from the outside in any consistent way, unless the observers have been trained together using the exact same definitions and movement examples? e.g. Space Effort is currently taught to describe where and how one has placed one’s attention, but is this truly knowable from the outside? And when we talk about being able to read the *intention* of the mover, have we slipped into projection, in such a way that we’ve eliminated the possibility of inter-observer reliability? As a movement observer, I highly value the rich set of subjective experiences that are awakened in me when I observe movement, and they support me immensely in my work. But I question whether they should be part of a system that aims for objective description. Perhaps we could subject each LMA quality to a litmus test — asking ourselves whether the quality is one that a motion capturing machine, now or ever, is likely to be able to discern. In other words, what LMA qualities will *never* be determinable using externally measurable criteria?