Guest Blog: Update from the New NYU/ABT Ballet Pedagogy Program
November 29, 2001

One of the optional courses offered this spring explores Laban Movement Analysis and how it can be applied in the classroom, building upon an introduction to LMA class held in the fall.

During the weekly 1.5-hour class, we watch a clip of a dance that our instructor, Frederick Curry, has selected and analyze it with a Laban lens, based on either Body, Effort, Shape, or Space qualities. So far, we have focused on Body. As a group, we talk about the piece until we agree upon the different traits (such as symmetrical vs. asymmetrical emphasis or upper vs. lower body emphasis) that are showcased.

Then, we each create our own dance phrase using those specific movement qualities. It’s fascinating to see how a roomful of people interpret the same movement directions. Not only that, it’s clearly a unique way to engage students while using the exercise as a launching pad for dance creation.

If you’re curious, the first dance we looked at was African. It involved body isolations of the head, shoulders, and torso as the dancers performed in a kneeling position for much of the piece. The following week we watched a segment of “May B” by Compagnie Maguy Marin, which uses vocalization rather than music. I strongly suggest you look it up on YouTube for a very unique piece of work that is sure to open up discussion and ideas of using voice in your own dance making.

And, on a complete a side note, if you are interested in the ABT/NYU program for next fall, it turns out that the deadline has been extended because the article (see the cover feature in January 09 Dance Teacher) came out after applications were due. You can contact Mary Jo Ziesel directly at [email protected] or call (212) 477-3030, ext. 3205 for more details.

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