About the Guild

For over sixty years members of the Laban Guild have been inspired by Laban's work in the fields of dance theatre, mastery of movement for actors, community dance, movement and dance therapy, personal growth and development, dance in education, dance notation and action profiling.

The Guild promotes publications, courses, conferences and other events to provide high quality experiences relevant to members in the dance and movement world of today. On a number of occasions members have taken part in large group works (movement choirs) in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, to display the sheer vitality of Laban's ideas.

Our membership consists of both amateur and professional people and includes dancers, teachers, academics, therapists, artists and psychologists.

All are welcome - from whatever background.

We are an open-minded outward looking organisation providing members with recreational enjoyment, skills, artistic experiences and knowledge and understanding of movement and dance.

Past presidents of the Laban Guild include Rudolf Laban, Lisa Ullmann, Sylvia Bodmer, Warren Lamb, Maggie Semple and Dr Geraldine Stephenson.

The Guild is

  • a member of the Movement and Dance Division of the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR)

  • the governing body for Laban-based Movement and Dance recognised by Sport England

  • an observer on the panel of the Council for Dance Education and Training

  • recognised by the Arts Council of England

Laban Guild Council

President Anna Carlisle
Vice Presidents Gordon Curl, Sheila McGivering,
Dr Geraldine Stephenson
Chair Maggie Killingbeck
Secretary Vanessa Downie
Treasurer Elizabeth Farquhar
Membership Secretary Janet Harrison
Editor Dr Clare Lidbury
Minuting Secretary Mary Cormack
Drama Darren Royston, Janet Harrison, Fumiaki Tanaka
Research & Development Maggie Killingbeck, Anna Carlisle, Cathy Washbrooke, Selina Martin
Youth Selina Martin, Sadie Hunt, Cathy Washbrooke, Linda McMillan
AGM/Conferences/Web/Marketing & Publicity Sadie Hunt, Vanessa Downie, Janet Harrison, Pam Anderton
Courses Officer/Training Committee Ann Ward, Janet Lunn, Sheila McGivering, Mel Horwood, Mary Ellen Coyte
Laban in Places/Workshops Selina Martin, Ann Ward, Pam Anderton

Movement, Dance and Drama

The Guild magazine is produced termly in January, May and September and is available to members as part of their subscription.

Copies of the current edition can be obtained at a cost of £4 or of back copies, if still available, at a cost of £3 from:

Jill Goff


Advertising space is available at the following rates:

Full colour A4 page - £150: half page - £80: quarter page - £45
B&W A4 page - £75: half page - £40: quarter page - £25
Classified adverts - 50 words at 20p per word
A5 flyer - £40: A4 flyer - £50

Please contact Pam Anderton



Rudolf Laban (1879-1958)

Laban began his career as a painter, architect and illustrator. He soon became a performer and choregrapher. His ideas have generated innovations in dance, acting, performance, in the study of non-verbal comunication, in ergonomics, in educational theory and child development, in personality assessment and psychotherapy. He also devised a revolutionary method of movement notation that continues to be used today.

Rudolf LabanLaban arrived in England in 1938 as a refugeee from nazi Germany. He had been one of the most distinguished figures in the evolution and development of Modern Dance in Central Europe. He taught and inspired Mary Wigman and Kurt Jooss, choreographed at Bayreuth and directed the Berlin Opera. His invention of the 'Movement Choir' embodied the notion of 'dance for all' anticipating the community dance movement by some 60 years.

Laban's work is profound, charged with ideas, open to development and can inform contemporary practice at any level of experience. William Forsythe manipulates Laban's choreutic forms in brilliantly original ways and at the Folkwangschule, the school headed by Pina Bausch, Laban's work informs pedagocical studies and choreutics is central to Jean Cebron's masterclasses.

Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life by Valerie Preston-Dunlop - published by Dance Books 1998
Article by Anna Carlisle - published in Animated Summer 1999
Photo from Gordon Curl's collection

The Work of Rudolf Laban

"Movement shows the difference between space and time, and simultaneously bridges it. Therefore movement is a suitable medium to penetrate more deeply into the nature of space, and to give a living experience to its unity with time." Rudolf Laban

Rudolf Laban found a fascination in observing people's movements in all aspects of life. His analysis of movement is based on anatomical, spatial and dynamic principles - what the body can do, how it does it, how it relates to space, and how the quality of movement affects function and communication.

The analysis is flexible, providing a means of observing, understanding and describing movement - both quantitatively and qualitatively - which can be applied to all forms of movement and areas of body movement research. Consequently, Laban's work has been applied in a number of fields:

dance creation, performance and teaching in both professional and community contexts; dance therapy and dance for special needs; psychology, anthropology and ethnology; acting and drama; dance, drama and gymnastics in education; industry and management.

Colleges and universities in Australia, Europe, South Africa, the USA, Canada and South America have courses of study in areas of Laban's work, with graduates who are teaching, choreographing, performing, practising therapy, notating, writing about dance and developing research.

Because Laban's interest in movement went beyond the dance studio and into many areas of life it was inevitable that his system of notation should be based on the universal laws of kinetics rather than on any particular dance genre or style. Laban's "Schrifftanz" (written dance) published in 1928, contained two innovations: the vertical staff to represent the body and the elongated symbols which show the exact duration of any action. Over time this system has continued to be developed and is one of the most comprehensive and significant systems of dance/movement notation today.

The many facets of Laban's work provide us with a wide range of intellectual, emotional, physical an artistic challenges.

Jan Nicol: Laban Guild Members Handbook

A selection of books for further reading:

Bohme, Fritz and Dafova, Marina (editor)
Rudolf von Laban und die entstehung des modernen tanzdramas
Edition Hentrich Berlin, 1996 (German language)

Davies, Eden
Beyond Dance: Laban's Legacy of Movemnt Analysis
London: Brechin Books, 2001

Goodridge, J
Rhythm and timing of movement in performance. Drama, dance and ceremony.
London: Jessica Kingsley, 1999

Hodgson, John and Preston-Dunlop, Valerie
Rudolf Laban: an introduction to his work and influence
Plymouth: Northcote House, 1990

Hodgson, John
Mastering Movement - the life and work of Rudolf Laban
Methuen, 2001

Launay, Isabelle
A la recherche d'une danse moderne: Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman
Paris: Edition Chiron, 1996 (French language)

Maletic, Vera
Body-space-expression: the development of Rudolf Laban's movement and dance concepts
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1987

Newlove, Jean
Laban for actors and dancers: Putting Laban's movement theory into practice
London: Nick Hearn Books, 1993

Preston-Dunlop, Valerie
Rudolf Laban: An extraordinary life
London: Dance Books, 1998

Willson, F M G
In just order move. The progress of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, 1946-1996
London: Athlone Press