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Salazar Sutil, N (2013)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Languages: English
Types: Article
This article explores the somewhat neglected theory of topological movement developed by the Hungarian artist and researcher Rudolf Laban. The piece begins with an examination of Laban’s understanding of space in relation of the notion of the kinesphere. I argue that Laban’s idea of space is essentially derived from a rationalization of outer movement (geometry), which enables him to break movement down into analytical units, and rearrange these into a meaningful syntax, a language (dance, mime, or theatre). I then go on to explain Laban’s idea of a synthesis between outer movement, and another sphere of movement known as dynamospheric (which refers to more fundamental inner forces that involve psychological and emotional dynamics). Crucially, these dynamic forms are modelled by Laban through the use of topological surfaces. I further support my analysis by an investigation of Laban’s unpublished book Effort and Recovery, and also by taking a videographic approach to a number of important filmic studies of topological movement observation. The article concludes with the idea that Laban’s graphic approach to movement analysis can be further enhanced, particularly within the study of topological dynamics, with the help of vision technologies such as film, video, and computer animation. I briefly discuss William Forsythe’s reinterpretation of Laban’s analysis via moving-image technologies, before concluding with a short description of a video study entitled Labanimations, which I carried out recently with video artist Sebastian Melo, and in which I reexamine Laban’s artwork through video techniques such as long exposure photography and slit scan.
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    • Goodridge, Janet. 1999. Rhythm and timing of movement in performance: drama, dance and ceremony. London, Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
    • Laban, Rudolf. 1971. The Mastery of Movement. Revised and enlarged by Lisa Ulmann. London: Macdonald and Evans.
    • ---. 1966. Choreutics. Edited by Lisa Ulmann. London: Macdonald and Evans.
    • ---. 1953. 'Topological Explanations, Qualitative Aspects'. Unpublished manuscript available from the Laban Archive, National Resource Centre for Dance (University of Surrey).
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    • Longstaff, J.S. 2004. 'Laban's seven-link movable chain'. http://www.labananalyses.org/laban_analysis_reviews/laban_analysis_notation/space_harmony_choreutics /lemniscates/Labans_7_link_movable_chain.htm Accessed October 1st, 2012.
    • ---. 2000. 'Re-evaluating Rudolf Laban's choreutics'. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 91, 191-210.
    • ---. 1996. Cognitive structures of kinesthetic space; Reevaluating Rudolf Laban's choreutics in the context of
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    • McCaw, Dick (ed.). 2011. The Laban Sourcebook. London: Routledge.
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    • Newlove, Jean and John Dalby.2003. Laban for All. London: Nick Hern Books.
    • Preston-Dunlop, Valerie. 1998. Rudolf Laban: an Extraordinary Life. London: Dance Books.
    • Rosen, Steven. 2006 Topologies of the Flesh: a Multidimensional Exploration of the Lifeworld. Ohio: Ohio University Press.
    • Salazar-Sutil, Nicolas. 2012. 'Laban's choreosophical model: Movement visualisation analysis and the graphic media approach to dance studies ' Dance Research 30.2: 147-168 Edinburgh University Press.
    • Shick, Paul Louis. 2007. Topology: point set and geometric. New York: Wiley.
    • Field forces as impediments to a performance. 1925, about. Film. Directed by Kurt Lewin. 9:04 mins. Available at http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/library/data/lit39546?
    • Living Architecture: Rudolf Laban and the Geometry of Dance. (2008). Written by Valerie PrestonDunlop and Anna Carlisle. Directed by Becky Edmunds. Film. DWE Trust.
    • One Flat Thing, Reproduced. 2009. Film. Choreography by William Forsythe. 16:09 mins. Available at http://vimeo.com/39875376
    • Solid Sense, Laban's Geometry of Dance. Directed by Nicolas Salazar Sutil. Choreography by Sarah Rogers and Lucille Teppa. Presented at PATS Studio, University of Surrey, June 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=564SIU16XjQ
    • Video 1, Canister 2: Art of Movement Studio, Addlestone, Surrey. c. 1955. 1:52 mins. Film footage of Laban building an octahedron, and practising the dimensional scale. Digital Dance Archives http://www.dance-archives.ac.uk/media/12387
    • Video 1, Canister 3: Art of Movement Studio, Addlestone, Surrey. c. 1955. 3:35 mins. Film footage of Laban teaching the use of a seven-link movable chain or movement indicator. Digital Dance Archives http://www.dance-archives.ac.uk/media/12388
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