Glossary

 Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is a theoretical and experiential system for the observation, description, prescription, performance, and interpretation of human movement. LMA was developed by Rudolf Laban (1879-1958). Laban was a scientist, teacher, artist, social activist, visionary, and dancer.

Combined with Irmgard Bartenieff’s (1890 – 1981) contributions to the Body category (specifically the Bartenieff Fundamentals), the LMA/BF work is a living system that continues to evolve. LMA is separated into four categories: Body, Effort, Shape, and Space (BESS). The many components of each category can be studied and anaylzed individually. Ultimately, however, it is the relationship of the various elements, the way they are phrased and their relationship to the larger context, that provide a proper map for the meaning making process.

Below is a list of some of the most common terms used in LMA listed in alphabetical order. Each term is also identified for its appropriate BESS category. LMA words are always capitalized to differentiate between LMA concepts and everyday English.

 

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Glossary

Action Drive: (Effort Category) An Effort Drive that includes Weight, Space, and Time but has no Flow.  It is task oriented–not concerned with the emotions or feelingful state of the movement.

Active Weight: See Weight

Advancing: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards a forward direction–associated with the Sagittal Dimension.

Approach to Kinesphere: (Space Category)  Describes how the Kinesphere is revealed through spatial tension.  It can be Central, Peripheral, or Transverse.

Arc-Like: (Shape Category) A specific aspect of Directional Mode of Shape Change.  Describes a movement that bridges to the environment and generally moves from one joint in an arc.

Awake State: (Effort Category)  One of the six Effort States, a combination of Space and Time.

Ball: (Shape Category) One of the Basic Shape Forms that is round and spherical in shape.

Bartenieff Fundamentals: (Body Category) “Bartenieff Fundamentals is an approach to basic body training that deals with patterning connections in the body according to principles of efficient movement functioning within a context which encourages personal expression and full psychophysical involvement.”  (Peggy Hackney, Making Connections)

Basic Shape Forms: (Shape Category) Describes what forms the body makes whether it’s a Ball, Wall, Pin, Pyramid, or Screw or a combination of one of the five.  (AKA: Still Forms)

Basic Six: (Body Category) Femoral Flexion (Thigh Lift), Sagittal Pelvic Shift, Lateral Pelvic Shift, Body Half, Diagonal Knee Reach (Knee Drop), Arm Circles.  These six exercises were developed by Irmgard Bartenieff to addresses specific needs. She noticed that most people lacked the ability to support from the internal core of the body in order to connect the lower and the upper for fluid muscular sequencing, weight shifts, and full 3-dimensional movement. All Basic Six exercises are in supine position, although Irmgard also worked with many prone positions.

Body: One of the four main categories of LMA.  This category includes the system known as Bartenieff Fundamentals.  It also looks at body part relationships, phrasing, initiations, etc.

Body Attitude: (Body Category) Describes an individual’s postural “home base” by considering what elements of BESS are consistently maintained in the body.

Body Half: (Body Category) The fifth Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. This pattern organizes the body to be able to work with one side stable while the other side is mobile.

Body Part Phrasing: (Body Category) Described how movement spreads through the body, whether it is Sequential, Simultaneous, or Successive.

Bound Flow: (Effort Category) The condensing side of the Flow Factor.  Bound Flow “keeps the inside out and the outside in.”  It is contained, controlled, boundaries, clarity, rigid, etc.

Breath: (Body Category) The first Pattern of Total Body Connectivity.  Breath is about being and oneness–it allows quietness and simplicity.  It is the foundation of life, rhythm, and movement.

Carving: (Shape Category) A Mode of Shape Change that is environment motivated—molds with the environment. It is co-create, adaptive, 3-dimensional, uses rotary function. Both mover and environment (space, other person, etc) are changed in Carving movement.

Central Approach to Kinesphere: (Space Category) Organizes energy and reveals the Kinesphere by radiating out fromThe first Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. Breath is a base brain place that allows for quietness and simplicity into self, community, and the world. Breath dealing with a sense of being and oneness and is the foundation of life, movement, and rhythm. and coming back into center.

Context: the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event,situation, etc.

Core Distal: (Body Category) The second Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. Core Distal is based on the naval radiation reflex–connecting all six limbs to the core.  It is the first pattern of differentiation, providing a sense of me and other.

Cross Lateral: (Body Category) The sixth Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. Cross Lateral recognizes the connection between arm to opposite leg, utilizing diagonals through the body.  It is the most complex of all the patterns making three dimensional movement possible.

Cross of Axis: (Space Category) The connecting point of the Vertical, Sagittal, and Horizontal Dimensions.

Crystalline Forms: (Space Category) Laban described a complex system of geometry based on Platonic solids and the structure of the human body.  Specific forms, such as the Cube and the Icosahedron served as the basis for geometrical observations of where movement is being done in terms of emphasis  of directions, places in space, planar movement, etc.

Cube: (Space Category) One of the Crystalline Forms, and the infrastructure for the Diagonal Scale.

Diagonal: (Space Category) Has two Directions. Each Direction has 3 equal spatial pulls (when revealed through the Cube).

Diameter:  (Space Category) Contains 2 Directions that create a line which dissects a Plane.  When dealing with the cardinal Planes of the Icosahedron, each Direction has 2 unequal spatial pulls.

Dimension: (Space Category) Each Dimension has 2 Directions. Each Direction has one spatial pull.  The three cardinal Dimensions are Vertical, Sagittal, and Horizontal.

Directional: (Shape Category)  A Mode of Shape Change that is environment motivated—through bridging or connecting to the environment. Can be Arc-like or Spoke-like.

Directions: (Space Category) Rays that radiate out from center into space.

Direct Space: (Effort Category) The condensing side of the Space Effort Factor.  Direct Space is linear, pinpointed, single-focused, honed in, laser-like, etc.

Dream State: (Effort Category) One of the six Effort States, a combination of Flow and Weight.

Drives: (Effort Category) A combination of three Effort Factors–often described by “what’s missing.”  The four Drives are: Action Drive, Passion Drive, Spell Drive, and Vision Drive.  Drive are more dramatic than States.

Effort: One of the four main categories of LMA.  Effort can be described as the dynamics, qualitative use of energy, texture, color, emotions, inner attitude, etc. There is an ongoing (Flow) sense of self (Weight) in relation to the environment (Space) over time (Time).

Effort Element/Qualities: (Effort Category) Describes one of the polar ends of each of the four Effort Factors.  The eight Effort Elements are Free and Bound Flow, Light and Strong Weight, Indirect and Direct Space, and Sustained and Quick/Sudden Time.

Effort (Motion) Factor: (Effort Category) Flow, Weight, Time, Space. Each motion factor is a continuum between the polarities which are Effort Elements/Qualities. (Check out the LMA Effort Bank for great resources to help understand and teach Effort!)

Enclosing: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards a sidewards direction that involves a narrowing of the body–associated with the Horiztonal Dimension.

Flow: (Effort Category)  One of the four Effort Factors.  Flow is the baseline of Effort.  It is about continuity, ongoingness, and progression.  Flow often deals with feeling–how one controls or releases their emotions.  Flow can be Free or Bound.

Free Flow: (Effort Category) The indulgent side of the Flow Factor.  Free Flow “lets the inside out and the outside in.”  It is abandoned, released, outpouring, open hearted, out of control, etc.

Head Tail: (Body Category) The third Pattern of Total Body Connectivity.

Heavy: (Effort Category) An Element of Passive Weight, Heavy Weight is a complete collapse or giving into gravity’s pull.

Horizontal Dimension: (Space Category) One of the cardinal Dimensions with the Directions and Spatial Pulls of Side Right and Side Left.

Horizontal Plane: (Space Category) contains both the Horizontal and the Sagittal Dimensions.  When working in the Icosahedron, the Horizontal Dimension has more pull than the Sagittal.

Icosahedron: (Space Category)  One of the crystalline forms used in LMA and the inner structure of the Transverse, Axis, and Girdle Scales. The three cardinal planes provide the inner structure of this crystalline form. These planes are rectangular rather than square giving one Dimension primary influence of the secondary. (The rectangular shape better aligns with the human form).

Indirect Space: (Effort Category) The indulging side of the Space Effort Factor.  Indirect Space is expansive, flexible, meandering, “seeing all the possibilities,” etc.

Kinesphere: (Space Category) The 3-Dimensional volume of space that I can access with my body without shifting my weight to change my stance.

Kinetic Chains:  (Body Category) A group of muscles that work together, either simultaneously or consecutively, to produce movement or give support.

Labanotation: A detailed system of movement notation developed by Rudolf Laban.

Light Weight: (Effort Category) The indulging side of the Weight Factor (Active).  Light Weight is feather-like, buoyant, fragile, “defying gravity,” delicate,  etc.

Limp: (Effort Category) An Element of Passive Weight, Limp Weight is a partial collapse of one’s weight.

Mobile State: (Effort Category) One of the six Effort States, a combination of Flow and Time.

Modes of Shape Change: (Shape Category) Describes shape change that is either motivated by self or the environment. The modes of Shape Change are about creating relationship.

Motif Writing: Developed by Ann Hutchinson, is a system of notation that is
less detailed than Labanotation. Motif writing looks at action sequence, dynamics, shape/space.

Movement Choir: Dance for the masses. Large numbers of people move together in some choreographed manner that can include personal expression.

Octahedron: (Space Category) One of the Crystalline Forms, and the infrastructure for the Dimensional Scale.

Patterns of Total Body Connectivity (PTBC):  (Body Category) Six patterns of body organization that included Breath, Core Distal, Head Tail, Upper Lower, Body Half, and Cross Lateral. These six patterns are adult versions of baby developmental patterns and work in an overlapping progression where each preceding pattern supports the next.

Passion Drive: (Effort Category) An Effort Drive that includes Flow, Weight, and Time but has no Space.  It deals with the sensate awareness of feelings and timing.  It is not concerned with external/environmental/”otherness” factors.

Passive Weight: See Weight

Peripheral Approach to Kinesphere: (Space Category) Organizes energy and reveals the Kinesphere by revealing the edge of the Kinesphere and maintaining a sense of distance between the center and edge.

Pin: (Shape Category) One of the Basic Shape Forms that is long and linear in shape.

Phrasing:  Perceivable units of movement which are in some sense meaningful. They begin and end while containing a through line. (Peggy Hackney, Making Connections)

Plane: (Space Category) Contains 2 Dimensions to reveal a flat surface area that can be dissected through a Diameter.  The three cardinal Planes are Vertical, Sagittal, and Horizontal.

Pyramid: (Shape Category) One of the Basic Shape Forms that has a wide base of support and a pinnacle or point on the other end.

Quick Time: See Sudden Time

Remote State: (Effort Category) One of the six Effort States, a combination of Flow and Space.

Retreating: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards a backward direction–associated with the Sagittal Dimension.

Rising: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards an upward direction–associated with the Vertical Dimension.

Rhythm State: (Effort Category) One of the six Effort States, a combination of Weight and Time.

Sagittal Dimension: (Space Category) One of the cardinal Dimensions with the Directions and Spatial Pulls of Forward and Back.

Sagittal Plane: (Space Category) Contains both the Sagittal and the Vertical Dimensions.  When working in the Icosahedron, the Sagittal Dimension has more pull than the Vertical.

Scales:  (Space Category, aka “movement Scales”)  Specific movement sequences designed to reveal various crystalline forms and train for specific movement training that involves an integrated aspect of BESS.  Scales include the Dimensional, Diagonal, Axis, Gidle, and A and B. “Scales serve as models that provide structures for the exploration of potential and integration. Each scale explains dynamic relationship. There are constant shifts between bodily structure and spatial architecture.” -Ed Groff

Screw: (Shape Category) One of the Basic Shape Forms that is twisted and spiralsl in shape.

Sequential: (Body Category) An aspect of Body Part Phrasing where non-adjacent body parts move one after the other.  (Example:  Shoulder moves, then knee, then head, etc.)

Simultaneous: (Body Category) An aspect of Body Part Phrasing where all active body parts move at once.

Sinking: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards a downward direction–associated with the Vertical Dimension.

Shape: One of the four main categories of LMA.  Shape is about the form as well as the forming process.

Shape Flow: (Shape Category) A Mode of Shape Change that is “All about me”–shape change that is self motivated.

Shape Flow Support: (Shape Category)  The growing and shrinking of the internal Kinesphere. (Supports the inner architecture of the body in space)

Shape Qualities: (Shape Category) Describe “toward where” the body is changing shape. The baseline of Shape Qualities is Opening/Closing (also the most basic thing we can say about Shape). It is forming oriented (a process of “growing toward”) whereas Space is destination oriented.

Size of Kinesphere: (Space Category) Describes one’s Kinesphere as either small, medium, or large.  Often described as the “Reach Space.”

Space: One of the four main categories of LMA.  Space deals with both one’s personal space and their relationship to the space around as described by Spatial Pulls, Directions, and relationship to various Crystalline Forms.

Space Effort: (Effort Category) One of the four Effort Factors.  Space is about thinking, attention, intellect, ideas, and perception.  It is environment/other related, external.  Space can be either Indirect or Direct.

Spatial Pull: (Space Category) “An invisible line of inherent power (potential energy) which can be revealed in movement.”  (Peggy Hackney, Making Connections)

Spell Drive: (Effort Category) An Effort Drive that includes Flow, Weight, and Space but has no Time.   Spell Drive is about the self in relationship to other/environment, but with no concern for decision making or pacing.  Because of its “timelessness,” Spell drive has an “eternal” feel to it.

Spiral: See Screw and Transverse Spiraling

Spreading: (Shape Category) One of the Shape Qualities that describes a change towards a sidewards direction that involves a widening of the body–associated with the Horiztonal Dimension.

Spoke-Like: (Shape Category)  A specific aspect of Directional Mode of Shape Change.  Describes a movement that bridges to the environment and generally unfolds from multiple joints in a direct line.

Stable State: (Effort Category) One of the six Effort States, a combination of Weight and Space.

States: (Effort Category)  A combination of 2 specific Effort Factors.  The six States are: Awake State, Dream State, Mobile State, Remote State, Rhythm State, and Stable State.

Strong Weight: (Effort Category) The condensing side of the Weight Factor (Active).  Strong Weight is powerful, grounded, immovable, “confirming one’s relationship to gravity,” etc.

Successive: (Body Category) An aspect of Body Part Phrasing where adjacent body parts move one after the other.  (Example: A body roll.)

Sudden Time: (Effort Category) The condensing side of the Time Factor.  Quick Time is rushed, hurried, “now, now now!!!”, etc.

Sustained Time: (Effort Category) The indulging side of the Time Factor.  Sustained Time is about lingering, stretching out the moment, as if to say “not yet,” waiting for the perfect time to act, etc.

Time: (Effort Category) One of the four Effort Factors.  Time is about intution, decision meaking, and knowing the right moment to act.  It requires a reinvestment in the moment. Time can be either Sustained or Quick/Sudden.

Tetahedron:  See Pyramid

Transversal: (Space Category) Moving from the corner of one plan, to the corner of another, passing through the third. (3 unequal spatial pulls).

Transverse Approach to Kinesphere: (Space Category) Organizes energy and reveals the Kinesphere by cutting or sweeping through the Kinesphere between the center and the edge. Transversals can be described as Flat (Horizontal emphasis), Steep (Vertical emphasis), or Suspended (Sagittal emphasis).

Transverse Spiraling: (Space Category) A change in 3 unequal spatial pulls.

Upper Lower: (Body Category) The fourth Pattern of Total Body Connectivity. This pattern recognizes the connection and distinction between the upper and lower body, particularly weight shift of the lower body and access to space with the upper body.

Vertical Dimension: (Space Category) One of the cardinal Dimensions with the Directions and Spatial Pulls of Up and Down.

Vertical Plane: (Space Category) Contains both the Vertical and the Horizontal Dimensions.  When working in the Icosahedron, the Vertical Dimension has more pull than the Horizontal.

Vision Drive: (Effort Category) An Effort Drive that includes Flow, Space, and Time but has no Weight. Because there is no weight, Vision Drive is not about personal intention.  It is about attention, thinking, and awareness in timing.  Vision Drive lends itself to planning, organizing, fact-finding, etc.

Wall: (Shape Category) One of the Basic Shape Forms that is flat and wide in shape.

Weight: (Effort Category) One of the four Effort Factors. Weight is about sensing, Intention, me/myself/my physicality, presence, and my relationship to earth/gravity.  Weight can be described as Active (overcoming gravity’s pull, with either a Light or Strong approach), Passive (giving into gravity’s pull with Limpness or completely “giving in” with Heaviness), or Weight Sensing (between Active and Passive Weight–relaxing and releasing into your weight to “sense it)”.

Weight Sensing: See Weight

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