Rudolf von Laban

Rudolf von Laban, whose parents were aristocrats, was of Hungarian and French descent. Laban was very interested in art and theater since he was a child.  He had the chance to live amongst different ethnic groups with his senior military officer father during his childhood, allowing him to observe the characteristics of life and movement of various ethnic groups. This experience planted the seeds for his movement analysis works in the future. Laban went to Paris to study architecture and philosophy in his youth; that was when he became interested in the relationship between body and space.

Laban Movement Analysis

Laban movement analysis is a method of capturing movements by writing. Laban has developed the basic principles of movement’s shape, sequence and dynamics. He developed the labanotation, a set of symbols used to describe, analyze, and record human movements, similar to musical notation. We use these symbols and analytical methods to describe how movements occur, what happens, when and where they occur, and sometimes why.

Labanotation

Contemporary Dance Maestros

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)

An American dance trailblazer, Duncan is known as the “mother of modern dance.” She believed that dance should be an expression of everyday activities and can express the most profound human thoughts and feelings. She advocated that dance should be based on natural rhythms and movements, and the interpretation of music should start from instinctual dance rhythms.

Martha Graham (1894-1991)

An American dancer, her style of dance is called “Graham Technique”, which emphasizes contraction and release. Graham’s style reshaped American modern dance and is still widely studied. Some modern artists were influenced by her unique modern dance.

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)

American dancer Merce Cunningham is known as the pioneer of postmodern dance. His works emphasized lines, space and rhythm of the limbs. Every element can be expressed, and the audience can decide how they communicate with the work presented. Cunningham attached great importance to the process of creation. The sequence of dance steps in his works is sometimes presented in random order.

Pina Bausch (1940-2009)

A German choreographer and representative of contemporary dance, Bausch created a dance theater style combining dance movements, music, stage set, and close relationship cultivated with dancers. Small sections of dialogues and movements made up many of her works.

Helen Lai (1951- )

Lai joined the City Contemporary Dance Company as a founding member in 1979. The creative elements in her works span different cultural and artistic fields. Her delicate and exquisite works are full of music and drama.  They point directly to the deepest part of the human soul.

Willy Tsao (1955- )

A dancer and choreographer from Hong Kong, Tsao is an influential figure in the Chinese modern dance scene. Establishing modern dance troupes in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing since 1979, Tsao has created more than 60 works.