Laban, Rudolf von

views updated

Rudolf von Laban (fôn läb´än), 1879–1958, Slovakian dancer, choreographer, and dance theorist. After studying in Paris and performing in N Africa, Germany, and Austria, he founded (1910) a dance school in Munich; Mary Wigman was one of his early students. He founded schools bearing his name all over Europe during the 1920s. In 1930 he was appointed director of the Allied State Theaters in Berlin, but was forced to leave after the Nazis came to power. In 1938, he emigrated to England, where he established (1946) the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester. There, he worked until his death on his system of notation, known as Kinetographic Laban or Labanotation, which evolved from a system of dance notation to a method of recording all body movement. It is so accurate that the system is now used to copyright dance scripts and to analyze movements in sports and industry. His work has been continued at the Dance Notation Bureau, in New York City. His writings include The Mastery of Movement on the Stage (1950), Principles of Dance and Movement Notation (1956), Effort: Economy in Body Movement (with F. C. Lawrence, 1974); A Life For Dance (1975).