Monday, January 25, 2010

Eukinetics and Effort, Weighty Subject, Small Zeros [Effort; Central, Peripheral & Transverse]

Eukinetics and Effort, Weighty Subject, Small Zeros [Effort; Central, Peripheral & Transverse]
Submitted by Ann Hutchinson Guest et al. - February 20, 2001

[Following are excerpts from discussions originally posted on LabanTalk and/or CMAPlus in January and February, 2001].

Discussion 1 - by Ann Hutchinson Guest, January 18, 2001

At the recent IMS course at ASU, which I found most rewarding and informative, there had not been time for me to explain, as requested, the differences between Laban's original presentation of dynamics in what he called Eukinetics and his later Effort development. I thought I would take this opportunity to set a comparison down on paper. As I mentioned in one of the Space Harmony sessions, we were taught mainly in German, so I will give the German terms with their English translations.


The factors being considered were: time - slow or quick; energy - strong or weak; and use of the body - central or peripheral, that is, located at or emanating from the body center or the peripheral parts. Combining these six possibilities produced:

Central - slow - strong = ziehen, to push
Central - slow - weak = schwach, feeble, slack
Central - quick - strong = stosz, punch
Central - quick - weak = schlottern, shiver, tremble

Peripheral - slow - strong = zug, pull
Peripheral - slow - weak = schwebern, float
Peripheral - quick - strong = schlag, hit, smack
Peripheral - quick - weak = flattern, flutter

Central movements involved the torso and its parts, hips, shoulders.
Peripheral parts were the extremities, the hands, feet and head.
For the arm the central part was the elbow, the hand the extremity.
For the hand the central part was the wrist, the `heel' of the hand, the finger tips the extremity.
This carried through for the legs as well, as much as physically possible.

It was interesting that Central European Dance should also involve this concept of central movement. Stylistically there were often central and peripheral movement aspects taking place at the same time, particularly in grotesque displays.

The use of Spatially Central (near kinesphere) and Spatially Peripheral (far kinesphere) were investigated mainly in the Choreutics classes. There was some investigation of the mixture of a peripheral part of the body moving in a spatially central area (usually the hands and arms), and a physically central movement occurring spatially peripherally (usually the arms with some related involvement of the upper body).

Because Laban was working with practical work patterns during the war and with ordinary movements (not theatrical) it is understandable that he focussed on the path of the movement - direct, indirect - and dropped the central and peripheral concepts. This Kurt Jooss regretted, indeed Jooss continued to use central and peripheral in his teaching at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen.

In my development of signs for this material, I include central and peripheral for both the physical and spatial application, as well as the possibilities for going from central to peripheral, and vice versa for both body and space.

An aspect which was not originally covered but which I include is that of Focus, the possibility of outer or inner focus in directing body energy.

During the recent IMS sessions I had the opportunity to discuss in some depth the differences in point of view and understanding regarding the Effort/Shape work and the terminology used. When I have mulled this over more and clarified my thoughts, I plan to present what I see to be the basis of the differences, in the hope that this valuable material will then be crystal clear to everyone.

Best wishes to all and special thanks to Peggy Hackney, Janice Meaden and Ed Groff for their enlightening sessions.

Discussion 2 - by Ann Hutchinson Guest, January 26, 2001

I recently sent a presentation on Eukinetics, as it was taught at the Jooss-Leeder School in the late thirties. Here are a couple of corrections:

The German word for central-slow-strong should be drucken (umlaut on the u.)

Peripheral-slow-strong should be ziehen, to pull. Zug is the noun for ziehen.


The factors being considered were: time - slow or quick; energy - strong or weak; and use of the body - central or peripheral, that is, located at or emanating from the body center or the peripheral parts. Combining these six possibilities produced:

Central - slow - strong = drucken, to push
Central - slow - weak = schwach, feeble, slack.
Central - quick - strong = stosz, punch
Central - quick - weak = schlottern, shiver, tremble

Peripheral - slow - strong = ziehen, to pull
Peripheral - slow - weak = schwebern, float
Peripheral - quick - strong = schlag, hit, smack
Peripheral - quick - weak = flattern, flutter

Discussion 3 - by Peggy Hackney, January 26, 2001

Just a quick note to respond to Ann Hutchinson's Eukinetics in comparison with Effort letter:

Our whole Integrated Movement Studies faculty team and participant group loved having Ann visit us for our January session on the Arizona State University campus (this was the January session for our University of Utah Intensive Program). Ann is a wonderful reservoir of wisdom and a joy to be with!

It is great to have historical clarity around the concepts that we teach in our Laban work, so I will add my memories and thoughts to the community pot. Ann has been concerned for quite a while about the use of the term "Weight Effort" in the United States. When I was trained in Effort/Shape by Irmgard in the mid-late 1960s, she called it the "Force Effort" (which I thought was strange, because it defined both poles of the factor in terms of one pole). Then when Cecily Dell wrote her Primer for Movement Description, she called it the "Weight Effort" and the term seems to have remained until the present time.

Under the "Weight Effort" we (the Integrated Movement Studies Certificate faculty) currently teach the Active Weight Effort qualities of Strong and Light. We teach also the Passive Weight Effort qualities of Heavy and Limp (these symbols have a tiny zero at the end of each of them--my memory of the history of this was that Janis Pforsich and I were experimenting with symbols and we decided that when a person is "Passive" in weight use, that person is using zero active weight Effort. I believe that this happened in the early 1970s). We also include the Weight Sensing qualities that underlie both Active Strength and Lightness. (Again, my memory of the symbol that Janis Pforsich and I decided to use came from turning the "relaxed" symbol that Ann Hutchinson had in her dynamics symbols. We chose this because to "sense the weight" one has to be slightly relaxed. This symbol also came around the early 1970s). I think that all of our concern with delineating the Weight Efforts that were not totally Active (i.e., not either Strong or Light) came from the need to analyze and record what was going on in dance style (and still is) in terms of the use of Passive Weight and Weight Sensing as a major part of "Style." Looking at Twyla Tharpe probably had some influence here.

My understanding of Ann's approach to "Strong" and "Weak" is that these words, for her, have more to do the amount (the quantity) of muscular energy involvement. Since I always approach Effort qualities in terms of an "inner attitude towards using my energy," I am not so much concerned with the quantity of energy used, but rather with the 'feeling-tone, the texture" of the movement--my "intention in weight." The quantity can be dealt with by adding a plus or minus to the Effort symbol.

In relation to the terms "Central" and "Peripheral"--I remember teaching a class on "Direct and Indirect Space Effort" at the State University of Purchase in the early 1970s, and Kurt Jooss watched me teach the class. He really liked the class, and said something like, "We always used to call those aspects that you were teaching, Central and Peripheral."

My memory is that the Effort/Shape faculty at the Dance Notation Bureau taught Effort of Direct and Indirect in the way we do now even in the 1960s. But we began clarifying the multiple meanings of these terms in terms of Space and Body in the early 1970s--and that all of us teaching, whether at LIMS or elsewhere had come to agreement on their usage by the late 1970s. I specifically remember teaching at a Bill Evans summer workshop in Seattle in 1977 that "Central, Peripheral, and Transverse" were Spatial terms and that we would distinguish those terms from where in the Body movement began by using the more body level terms of "Core, Proximal, Mid-limb, Distal" for movement initiation. Then in 1981 at the LIMS Conference at Hampshire College, we decided to call them "Central, Peripheral, and Transverse Approach to Kinesphere" (as opposed to "Spatial Tension," which was what we had been teaching).

So...those are my memories. Anyone else want to put in yours?

Discussion 4 - by Jimmyle Listenbee, January 26, 2001

Re: weighty subject

Many thanks to Peggy Hackney and Ann Hutchinson Guest for publicly discussing their most interesting and informative delvings into history and semantics of the force/weight factor. I use "Force" when working with general education students, who easily comprehend this idea of active use of the self (intention and weight-mass) from "lightly" to "strongly" on a continuum. "Weight" confused my students - too many other contextual connotations - so I stopped using the term about 12 years ago, except when teaching certification program admission prerequisites. I don't remember if I picked up the "Force" terminology from studying with Irmgard Bartenieff, Suzanne Youngerman, Didi Levy and other certification faculty at LIMS in 1980, or came to it through classroom trial and error. To my mind, this conception helps clarify Ann Hutchinson Guest's initial queries last year about "weight" in LMA. [See Ann Guest's June 6, 2000 posting in the Theory Bulletin Board's Effort thread.] I also use the "passive" or "negative" small zero to modify effort factors of space and time.

Discussion 5 - by Rachelle Tsachor, January 26, 2001

Thanks to Ann and Peggy for the wonderful dialogue about the development of our concepts.

In response to Peggy's comments on the various terms for weight effort and force, I wonder how these historical concepts relate to our development as humans, as we often question movement from a developmental perspective.

I wonder if the BMC concept, that I am only beginning to learn, of the order of action (as I understood it: Yielding precedes Pushing, which precedes Reaching which precedes Pulling), might in some way help us organize the concepts of weight Peggy and Ann describe historically in a developmental perspective. Does weight sensing/passive weight/heavy (as yielding) develop into strong/ active weight (perhaps as pushing, developmentally), perhaps develop into rarifying the weight/lightness for Reaching and integrating all qualities for pulling?

Discussion 6 - by Peggy Hackney, January 27, 2001

[Responding to Jimmyle Listenbee's comments in Comment 4]

Thanks for your input on the "weighty subject." So it doesn't bother you that the term "Force" already has an implication toward the "Strength" end of the Effort factor? Somehow this really bothers me. I can, naturally, understand why the term "Weight" has many different associations in our crazy thinness -obsessed culture.

Discussion 7 - by Peggy Hackney, January 27, 2001

[Responding to Rachelle Tsachor's comments in Comment 5]

Yes! Let's continue with this dialog in relation to the Developmental aspect of the Weight Factor. Probably the Kestenberg Profilers also have some approach from the Developmental side. I'll give it more thought from this perspective and respond later.

Discussion 8 - by Ellen Goldman, January 28, 2001

[Responding to Peggy Hackney's comments in Comment 3]

Thanks for the wonderful material. We addressed some of this about Ann's approach in her earlier e-mail. I am wondering where Lamb its in here, as in the 50's I believe he was using the strong/light parameter, and/or increasing - decreasing pressure.

I also remember a course in the '70's with Isa Bergson, where she taught central and peripheral guidance. She related this to direct and indirect, and said it preceded it. She also mentioned that the German trained people did not like the specific nature of effort as Laban began to pin point it in England. They felt it took away individual performance style.

I was happy for the history on "Approach to Kinesphere" as I always liked spatial tension. Kestenberg felt it was effort flow projected outward. It also goes with the BMC lymphatic system defense. (See p. 52 in Geometry of Movement.)

Discussion 9 - by Peggy Hackney, January 29, 2001

[Responding to Ellen Goldman's comments in Comment 8]

About Kinesphere--yes, I think the aspects of boundary and the psychological issues around boundary are interesting from the aspects of BMC potential Lymph involvement and from the Flow Effort outward and inward flow permeability aspects ("letting the inside out," "letting the outside in," "keeping the inside in" and keeping the outside out).

Discussion 10 - by Hilary Bryan and Jimmyle Listenbee, January 30, 2001

[In this discussion Hilary Bryan responds to what Jimmyle Listenbee said in Comment 4; Jimmyle then responds to Hilary. Jimmyle's replies are shown in uppercase.]

[Hilary]: I think I can feel what it would be like to modify Space Effort with a small zero, but I'm not sure. Would you use a small zero on the Direct Space Effort symbol if you were slumped at your desk (after several hours of intense visual focus), staring at a point on the desk without actually "seeing" it?


[Hilary]: I suppose that would depend on the person: some folks might do that without any Space Effort at all.


[Hilary]: What example would you use for Indirect Space Effort with a small zero?


[Hilary]: What examples would you give for Time Effort with small zeros?


Discussion 11 - by Gill Wright Miller, January 30, 2001

[Responding to Jimmyle Listenbee's comments in Discussion 10]

Re: Small Zeros

I wonder if Jimmyle's understanding of the small zeros represents a consensus in the LMA community. When I was doing the Cert Program 92-94, some of the students had lengthy discussions about whether the notion of passive weight had parallels in "passive space," "passive flow," and/or "passive time." Several months later, Janis Pforsich asked me what I thought "passive time" would be. I gave her the example, clear as can be to me, that Bonnie Bainbridge seems to go into passive time when she is teaching long workshop classes. It's not that she dismisses all attention to time. It's that, like passive weight, she does not exhibit an attitude toward time/decision/initiation expressed from inner to outer, from self to kinesphere, visible to observers. Instead there is an *active* passivity, allowing the chronology of time to have import, consciously yielding to chronology. It feels to me akin to passive weight seeming to have some sort of *active* passivity or yielding to gravity. Jimmyle suggests, if I understand her correctly, the small zeros "urgent" would be "hurrying without decisiveness" and small zero "sustained" would be slow motion. Bonnie was doing neither of these.

Discussion 12 - by Thomas Casciero, January 30, 2001

[Responding to Gill Write Miller's comments in Discussion 11 and and Jimmyle Listenbee's comments in Discussion 11]

Having taught mime for many years and being a CMA, I believe that slow motion is simply even tempo movement. It is not a "passive" use of time, but a conscious use of time in even measured beats. It could take on an effort quality, such as light or strong, bound or free, indirect/direct, if the character or actor engaged in slow motion had a motivation or an inner attitude toward that even tempo.

As for "hurrying without decisiveness," that definition still strikes me as quick time effort. Hurrying implies a shift in psychology, which for me, is the basis of time effort. The difference between fast movement and quick time effort is that internal shift in perception of time. I can move my arm in a circle very fast without going into time effort. But as soon as my psychological relationship to time shifts, I am in time effort. Perhaps it is just semantics, but hurrying implies quickness to me.

I do believe that there is a passive use of space. People get "spaced out." That is, they are passive about the space. I am not sure I could pin the circle on either direct or indirect, perhaps for me it just goes on the effort staff with both.

Discussion 13 - by Gill Wright Miller, January 30, 2001

[responding to Jimmyle Listenbee's comments in Discussion 10]

My understanding of what could/should be represented by the small zeros is quite different, but, believe me here, there is nothing "official" about my understanding. I see countless possibilities for this system that are not yet well thought out and sometimes challenge what I perceive as limitations in the system as it current exists.

What it appears you are doing is moving from the Effort "attitude about x expressed outwardly in the kinesphere" to the range of misunderstandings the words "space," "time," "weight," and "flow" might imply to new students of the material; for example, something of the space around them, the chronological time, active vs. passive weight, or moving or not-moving. My experience tells me there is another layer of the effort dynamics that Laban didn't explicitly explore. I believe the effort dynamics of active and passive weight are both addressing the expression of weight, while non-expression is something else. In my individual opinion, passive weight can clearly be an expression of one's attitude toward weight in the outer kinesphere. It can also be non-intention about weight, and it falls on us as observers/movement analysts distinguish when it is one and when the other.

Discussion 14 - by Jimmyle Listenbee, January 30, 2001

[responding to Thomas Casciero's comments in Discussion 12]
Thanks, Tom I see & accept your point about hurrying having that inner push. "Fast" is a clearer conception. Living in California, I experience much mindless fast scurrying which goes by the name of hurry.

Discussion 15 - by Karen Bradley, January 30, 2001

[responding to Gill Wright Miller's comments in Discussions 11 and 13, and Hilary Bryan's and Jimmyle Listenbee's comments in Discussion 10]

I think these are all good points--but the area I see most often when students are first learning effort is pre-efforts. The example Jimmyle used of passive indirect seems most like the pre-effort of flexible as described by Dr. Kestenberg. The staring off into space seems more passive to me. And I see differences between neutral weight, passive weight and the pre-efforts of vehement (pre-effort for strong) and gentle (pre-effort for light). They are all different and they all say different things about attitude.

Discussion 16 - by Martha Hart Eddy, January 30, 2001

[responding to Karen Bradley's comments in Discussion 15]

I agree that including a look at tension flow and pre-efforts often solves a lot of these issues. We might want to think about what the external phenomenon is that one might be passive toward to determine if true passivity exists. Gravity is an easy one, the others are harder.

Discussion 17 - by Jimmyle Listenbee, January 30, 2001

[responding to Karen Bradley's comments in Discussion 13 and and Martha Hart Eddy's comments in Discussion 16]

I agree with Karen Bradley and Martha Eddy that Kestenberg's conceptual framework holds a key to clarity in regard to the relationship among effort qualities fully actualized, in development, in regression and in negation.

Discussion 18 - by Gill Wright Miller, January 30, 2001

[responding to a correspondent whose comments are not included in this reprint]

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting Bonnie's Effort signature includes passive time. I was saying I had witnessed an example of what I believed to be passive time in a long workshop class with Bonnie.

Too, I am not suggesting . . .that gravity is a factor of Time, Space, or Flow. I haven't thought about passive space or passive flow -- I am thinking about them now because of Jimmyle's original post. But I have thought about passive time, and I believe time has a pull on us just like gravity has a pull on us. I'm not clear how to articulate it, since we are far more adept at articulating things we can see rather than things that we cannot, but I don't doubt that pull through chronological time and I believe I witnessed Bonnie actively deciding to be passive about it...rather than not considering it time.

I am sorry you feel that saying "active passivity" is tautology -- that it is a needless repetition. I wish I had better words for it. In the absence of a shared experience, I will try again. If you actively give into your weight, as in, say, letting your knees buckle in order to drop into gravity a few inches before catching yourself, would you call that an example of active passivity? That is what I mean. Attending to the choice and choosing passivity rather than choosing strong or light weight, or no weight intention at all.

I fully believe there is more to weight than the way we are thinking about it as

(1) pre-efforts
(2) the (Effort) light---strong continuum,
(3) the (passive) weak---heavy continuum, or
(4) the lack of intention all together.

The next question I am asking myself is whether passive weight is/can be/ought to be considered an Effort. If it is the expression of an inner attitude out in to the kinesphere and is observable as a dynamic expression, then I tend to think it should be. But then that reorganizes lots of stuff for me, including the concept of "passive time."

Discussion 19 - by Jimmyle Listenbee, January 31, 2001

[responding the Gill Wright Miller's comments in Discussion 18]

In the three extended workshops I've had the privilege of taking with Bonnie Cohen, I've experienced her frequent and masterful use of Spell Drive. Moshe Feldenkrais, another theoretical and pedagogical genius, also created extended hypnotic moods for my Amherst Training group through conscious use of effort excluding time. I must say, this discussion is so interesting, it puts a Spell On Me! I'm entranced by all the articulate thinking & just want to keep talking! Oh, well, back to action.

Discussion 20 - by Ruth Rootberg, January 31, 2001

I'm glad Jimmyle mentioned Spell Drive. After reading the many missives last night, I wondered why everyone was writing about an Effort in isolation. It seems that if one looked in context, there would be more timeless States seen and that a "passive time" would not be considered. Or, it is Spell Drive in one of its several possibilities, perhaps one that is not usually considered the hallmark of what one perceives as Timeless.

The words "thrashing" and "flailing" conjure up the spaceless Passion Drive for me, and are quite different from going in a million places all at once, which sounds as if it has attention to Space.

I find that although the discussion is interesting, it does not take the place of everyone being able to view the same action and then discuss it. If the website is to be enhanced, I would love to see a "continuing ed" component where a small video clip was accessible, and then a discussion could follow.

Discussion 21 - by Tomas Casciero, February 2, 2001

[responding to a correspondent whose comments are not included in this reprint]

I agree that there may not be a difference between neutralization and passivity in some cases. In regard to space, I believe that there is a difference between being aware of the space and choosing consciously or unconsciously not to attend to it (neutral) and being totally unaware of it (being passive in regard to space).

Discussion 22 - by Patrick Suzeau, February 2, 2001

[responding to Tomas Casciero's comments in Discussion 21]

I really enjoy receiving all those wonderful messages but this one perplexes me. As an observer of movement, is there a perceptible difference between choosing, consciously or not, not to attend space (thus in my book not about space at all ) and being totally unaware of it ( also not about space...I think)....? If there is a visible difference I would love to learn about it.

Discussion 23 - by Ann Hutchinson Guest, Feb 4, 2001

[responding to Peggy Hackney's comments in Discussion 3 and Ellen Goldman's comments in Discussion 8]

I am picking up (belatedly) on the discussions carried forward by Peggy Hackney and Ellen Goldman on whether Direct and Indirect are the same as Central and Peripheral. It was so interesting to hear that Jooss thought they were when he observed Peggy teaching and that Isa Bergson also related the two. I have asked a couple of other people who know both analyses and they do not agree. Nor do I!

My guess is that the direct, indirect movements which Jooss was observing may have been closer to the central-peripheral movements with which he was familiar, what took place may have been less obviously different. An indirect movement involving the torso may have looked central and a direct movement near the edge of the kinesphere may have look peripheral. It is also a question of whether one is talking about physically or spatially central or peripheral. Spatially they can be much. I am also thinking, Peggy, that he may also have wanted to be pleasant. I only know that when I was with him in Essen-Werden he bemoaned the fact that Laban had dropped Central and Peripheral as he felt they were so important.

Isa was certainly a product of the Folkwang Hochschule and hence familiar with Jooss' teaching; how familiar she became with Laban's Effort development, I do not know.

To me (and I still have a lot to learn, as I found out so enjoyably in Tempe in January!) Direct and Indirect (alias Flexible) deal with the path of the movement which can be done by virtually any part of the body. They have particular expressive qualities as well as functional.
A movement spatially central can be direct or indirect; spatially peripheral can also be direct or indirect.

Physically central involves the center of the body, often the torso or a part of it. The movement may stay central or move out to be more peripheral. Physically peripheral movements involve the extremities; for the leg it can also be the knee or ankle as well as the foot. For the arm the elbow can also be used peripherally. These things all need in-person demonstration and discussion!

I am not sure to what extent the present "Core, Proximal, Mid-limb, Distal" cover the same thing. I am also not sure how representation of these ideas in symbols relate, whether the same meaning is being expressed.

Discussion 24 - by Tomas Casciero, February 6, 2001

[responding to Patrick Suzeau's comments in Discussion 22]

I do think there is a difference between neutral and "spaced out." On an everyday basis, I observe that most people are aware of the space as they move through it, are active in it, etc. Even if they do not have an inner attitude that is specifically "direct" or "indirect," they have some awareness of the space. If they did not, they would have difficulty moving about at all.

My understanding of Space Effort is that it is an "active" inner attitude towards one's attention to space, not just a general awareness of space. There is a heightened investment in attending in a direct, pinpointed way or a flexible, multi-focused manner. To be neutral is to be aware, but not invested.

On the other hand, "spaced out" is a lack of awareness of the space. It seems to be the ultimate passivity in regard to space. People who are "spaced out" do tend to have trouble navigating, hurt themselves or others, etc.

Discussion 25 - by Peggy Hackney, February 9, 2001

I have just returned from a week away from my email, and have discovered this fascinating ongoing discussion about "Passivity." I agree with those of you who spoke about the importance of the force of Gravity as being important in the use of Passive Weight (which, by the way, I definitely feel is an Effort Quality). And, Gill, I am intrigued by your statement about the force of Time as an ongoing pull. This does seem to resonate with me.

And I agree with you that Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen does have the ability to consciously let time pass in a way that sometimes feels "Passive." This is slightly different from her equally masterful use of Sustainment. I feel that when she is in that luscious, lingering Sustained Effort, she is often inviting all of us participants in her workshops to experience our own Passion Drive (perhaps in Weight Sensing, Flow, and Sustainment). This is often preceded or followed by an explanation which is quite focused (Space Effort), very fluid (Flow Effort), and done from a weight sensing place (Weight Effort)--i.e., Spell Drive. Now that I am thinking about it in the terms of "Passive Time," that you mentioned, perhaps she is also using that sense (should we call this "Time Sensing"??) of inviting us simultaneously to let time just pull us. In a way, perhaps this is a four-effort combination, and that is why Bonnie's particular use of Spell Drive is so compelling. I think that this going back and forth between heightened Spell and Passion is a real draw as a contrast to our culture's emphasis and value on Vision Drive (Bound, Quick, Direct).

Bonnie, if you are out there reading this, what is your experience???

Now--I have also been thinking about the use of the terms "Passive Space" and "Space Sensing." I have spent quite a bit of time in the open spaces of the Southwest United States, and have been equally pulled by the force of Space (particularly in the Red Rock areas) as I feel pulled by the force of Time or Gravity. I have also noticed that a large percentage of the Native American population gives me the sense that they are often in Stable State (Weight Effort and Space Effort). I have been thinking that perhaps the ones I am seeing in my mind's eye (and here it would be great to have a video clip) are in Weight Sensing and Space Sensing. Has anyone else noticed people in this State? There is a sense of Presence in a different way from giving active Direct Focus with Strength (for instance).

Discussion 26 - by Ruth Rootberg, February 9, 2001

[responding to Peggy Hackney's comments in Discussion 25]

It occurs to me that Space holds a very special place in Laban's Theories. In the classic delineation of his work, BESS, we have a huge component which is Space. Then of course there is Space Effort, the subject of recent discussions. We come to it again in Body with Bartenieff's Spatial Intent. It is there indirectly in Shape with arc-like and spoke-like Directional movement.

So I'm wondering if this "passive" awareness of Space is really an Effort. Perhaps it signifies the awareness of the entire Kinesphere being at one's disposal, and thus is more about a dynamic between Inner/Outer and Reach Space.

Or perhaps it truly is an Effort. Perhaps it is the height of Indirect attending to the Space, where one takes in everything.

The kind of presence you describe after having observed Native Americans seems to appear when a person doesn't have as strong a differentiation between Inner and Outer as most Westerners see it. Irmgard wrote "Coping" with the Environment. To me that signifies it's me against everything around me, what do I do with all that "other?" If one's perspective is that we are all one with the world, then the edges of Inner and Outer seem to blend.

Another thought that's been rumbling around inside is: how conscious need we be of our inner attitude? Does the consciousness element have something to do with whether we are perceived as passive about an Effort factor or active?

Yes, I hear what you are saying about our heightened cultural difference between Inner and Outer, and it might be what is going on here in relation to "Space Sensing." Good point. The wholeness before differentiation (oneness) is often slightly/very different from the wholeness after differentiation (integration), and I think that we often forget that fact.

Discussion 27 - by Peggy Hackney, February 10, 2001

[responding to Ruth Rootberg's comments in Discussion 26]

Your question about consciousness is also interesting. In our Integrated Movement Studies Certificate Program, we teach that an Effort quality "need not be conscious to be operative." It does seem, however, that the "thinking" aspect of Space Effort often tips us toward the other way--i.e., responding the perceived consciousness.

Your email also reminds me again of how upset I was when Irmgard decided to name her book "Body Movement: Coping with the Environment." The working title had been, "The Art of Body Movement as a Key to Perception," which I definitely preferred.

Discussion 28 - by Martha Hart Eddy, February 10, 2001

Peggy, its great to hear more responses to my interest in the concrete phenomena that one might be passive toward. So far weight, time (thanks Gill) and space (e.g. the pull of big wide open spaces). What exactly does it mean to be passive toward time and space, other than to not be relating to them at all. With the added perspective of sensing time and space perhaps being passive just means "going for a ride with them" vs .engaging actively. This of course harkens back to being in a flow which then makes me want to look at all aspects of KMP to see if dealing with the subtleties of flow or pre-efforts might once again actually be what we are experiencing. Guess it's time to get together and really view these possibilities in movement. A Motus Humanus event?

I am still not convinced that Bonnie goes into passive time. We all know she has an exquisite sense of the completely timeless. I have forwarded this dialogue on to her for her comment.

Discussion 29 - by Rachelle Tsachor, February 6, 2001

[These are new comments that did not appear on LabanTalk or CMAPlus]

I would be interested in having the notators' perspective included in this discussion as well, as the comments about timelessness generating Spell Drive seem to make most sense to me. My training in notation encouraged me to notate what is clearly present, as opposed to trying to notate the absence of something (unless it is remarkable to the essence of the movement). This is how jumps are notated--simply by having nothing in the support column.

Discussion 30 - by Charlotte Wile, February 20, 2001

[These are new comments that did not appear on LabanTalk or CMAPlus]

In the above dialogue, several symbols were discussed but not depicted. For those who are not familiar with those indications, I thought it might be useful to show them here.

After reading Ann Guest's comments in Discussion 1, I e-mailed her to ask about the symbols she said she has developed for "peripheral" and "central." She wrote back that they are depicted in The Labanotator No. 40, 1985. Following are the symbols and their meanings as they are presented in that publication. (Additional information about Ann's ideas for indicating dynamics may also be found there. See also, Ann Hutchinson Guest and Valerie Preston-Dunlop, "What Exactly Do We Mean by Dynamics?", Dance Theatre Journal, Autumn/Winter, 1996, pp. 29-33.)

The signs for physically central or peripheral use a curved vertical bow (Ex. 1), which is derived from the sign that represents body aspects (Ex. 2). The signs for spatially central or peripheral use an angular bow (Ex. 3), which is derived from the sign that represents spatial aspects (Ex. 4) A double curved vertical bracket is used to indicate an inner state, feeling, or emotion (Ex. 5).

Physically central. The movement occurs in the centre of the body. It may be initiated in, or emanate from, the center of the body. (Ex. 6) Physically central does not mean only involving the torso, for example, a central movement can be attributed to a movement of the hand.

Physically peripheral. Use of the extremities of the body initiation. (Ex. 7)

Spatially central. Movement occurring in the area close to the body, near space. (Ex. 8)

Spatially peripheral. Movements which occur around the periphery of the kinesphere, movements for away from the central area around the body. (Ex. 9)

Central inner attitude. The feeling, the emotion is kept within. (Ex. 10)

Peripheral inner attitude. The feeling is on the surface - visible but without depth. (Ex. 11)

In Discussion 3 Peggy Hackney referred to the following:

The use of a zero - to indicate the Passive Weight Effort qualities of Limp (Ex. 12) and Heavy (Ex. 13)

Plus or minus signs - to show a quantity of Effort. (Ex. 14, 15)

The signs for weight sensing - for Lightness (Ex. 16) and for Strength (Ex. 17)

Approach to Kinesphere signs - Central (Ex. 18), Peripheral (Ex. 19), Transverse (Ex. 20)

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