Conference Morsel: Body and Shape Concepts
Date: April 29, 2014
(An excerpt from the interest session “Laban Movement Theory: Body and Shape Concepts for the Choral Rehearsal,” presented by Lisa A. Billingham during the 2014 ACDA Northwestern Division Conference)
Rudolf Laban (1879-1958) spent the majority of his life observing styles of human movement. As a child, Laban, the son of an Austro-Hungarian military officer, traveled extensively with his father, and became interested in the movement profile of various cultures. Laban Movement Theory (LMT) and his notational systems are used to this day. As a Certified Laban Movement Analyst, the presenter provided a brief history of Laban and how to become Certified through Integrated Movement Studies. During the session, audience members and a demonstration choir actively participated in physical movements to reinforce the LMT concepts that were presented.
This session focused on the Body Connectivity and Space* aspects of LMT. Participants actively gained insights on ways to promote buoyant posture and enliven the choral rehearsal by exploring the musculoskeletal connections across the body. These connections prove useful in promotion healthy singing.
Session participants experienced the Defense Scale, often learned in martial arts training. These pairings of Openings and Closings travel through all three planes (vertical, horizontal and saggital) to create dynamic movement potential. The principles of the Defense Scale were applied to the demonstration choir to hear audible differences in their tone. The choir was also encouraged to explore the potential of dynamic contrast by using rubber bands to stretch as they sang. The choir was encouraged to trace the space in front as well as in back of them, to enhance their sense of importance as member of the ensemble. The session featured Vivace, a demonstration choir from Cascade High School (Everett, WA) under the direction of Laurie Cappello.
(*Laban divisions of his theory are always capitalized.)