Thursday, August 26, 2010


Submitted by Charlotte Wile - August 26, 2010

Written by Ellen Goldman, Ann Hutchinson Guest, Peggy Hackney, Richard Haisma, Tara Stepenberg, and Charlotte Wile

[Following is a compilation of discussions originally posted on the CMAlist from June 20, 2010 to July 6, 2010.]

Discussion #1 - From Richard Haisma, June 20, 2010

Hello Labanistas & Barteniephiles,

Recently in analyzing some of my choreography and in teaching a class or two on the subject I found the need for symbols for the four classic Laban types of Initiation, that is, Core, Proximal, Mid-limb and Distal, which as far as I know do not presently exist as such. Anybody up for creating some? I've started the ball rolling here in the attached files [shown below]. One disadvantage of what I've created thus far is probably that some of these simply require too many strokes. If people get interested I'll shepherd this thru, and maybe if we stay at it we can add to our Motif lore some more.

Discussion #2 - From Peggy Hackney, June 21, 2010

Hi, Richard,

I really like the way you invite the community to respond to your ideas! Thanks.

My first hit from your symbols is that the part of the symbol that you call a "half parentheses" is the "led by" bow. To make it an "initiated by" bow, we always darken the lowest part of the bow....I'll continue to ponder how to make less strokes.


Discussion #3 - From Richard Haisma, June 21, 2010

Hello Peggy (and Rachael) and LMA community,

Two issues seem to have arisen for me immediately:

1]   I am unfamiliar with the darkening of the lowest part of the "led by" bow to indicate "Initiated by."  I may very possibly be incorrect here, but I thought that the method we were using in the last 2005-07 Weekend program, under the guidance of Charlotte Wile, was as per the here attached examples that I have created [see below], that is, the initiation bow is simply at the beginning and always of short duration, while the led-by bow can be stretched and the body part which is doing the leading is then placed in the middle of that stretch of time. But I could be wrong, and I certainly don't want to misrepresent Charlotte. I guess then that my question would be: what problems arise if one uses the type of examples I have here included?  What advantages accrue if one darkens the lowest end of the bow to indicate initiation?

I unfortunately do not have the latest edition of Your Move but only that of the 1983 edition third printing of 1995, which, issuing forth not from a LIMS curriculum-orientation, does not deal with the 4 "classic" types of Initiation, and seems in any case, with its emphasis on "led-by",  not to have yet teased out in complete distinction the possible usages of "led-by" versus "initiation."  For example, in that book, on page 155, in Example 126a, what we might now refer to as the shoulder initiating an unspecified action is there referred to as "leading."  And there is no darkening anywhere to indicate initiation. (None of this is criticism, but rather just the search for sources for contemporary usage.)  Similarly, in the 2005 uncorrected preliminary draft of Charlotte Wile's "Moving About," which was used in the 2005-07 Weekend Program, I find no mention of Initiation or Led-by.

Has there already arisen in the LMA community a consensus that Initiation is indicated by darkening the lowest end of the bow?  What usage do  the Maryland Program, Janet Kaylo's in Vancouver and/or the NYC Modular Programs currently employ?

2]   regardless of whether one darkens the lower part of the bow to indicate initiation or not, what I am seeking is not just initiation in general but, because Core, Proximal, Mid-limb and Distal each produce such distinct results, signs for those specific clusters of initiations as well. I want to be able to indicate these clusters as Themes.

Discussion #4 - From Charlotte Wile, June 21, 2010

Hi Everyone:

"Initiation" is the impulse for movement (e.g., a breath), or the place in the body where the movement begins in time. In contrast, the body part that "leads" is the one that goes first in space. The body part that leads can be the same or different from the one that initiates. For example, when the arm reaches for something, the hand might both lead and initiate; or the hand could lead, and the shoulder or other body part could initiate. Similarly, in a jump in which the head leads, the initiation could be in the head, the feet, or another location.

Part leading is indicated with a curved vertical bow. An indication for initiation has not been standardized, but some notators use a bow that is thick at the bottom.

For ideas for proximal, mid-limb and distal indications, see examples 1e-1g in Ann Hutchinson Guest’s November 6, 2006 Theory Bulletin Board posting.


Discussion #5 - From Peggy Hackney, June 21, 2010

Yes, I agree with the example that Charlotte included in "Initiation.doc" I could not open the link to the blogspot.


Discussion #6 - From Richard Haisma, June 21, 2010

Thank you, Charlotte,

Your two DNB references from 2006 are very interesting.

The suggestion you make for Reach Space seems very usable, and I will be incorporating that into my work immediately.

I do not wish to annoy people on the CMAlist who are not interested in this subject or feel this really ought to be happening instead on the DNB bulletin board.  The reasons why I'm pursuing this here is that I think it involves LMA theory (or at least history)  as well as Motif Notation. For instance,  Ann Guest writes in that November 6, 2006 posting that:

Kurt Jooss always regretted that Laban, in codifying his Effort analysis, had dropped the factor of central and peripheral use of space and of the body, which had been part of Eukinetics, the quality of movement explored as part of his modern dance training. Because Laban's focus during the war was on the practical, everyday movements, the expressive content of central and peripheral were not needed. Instead he established the use of space in terms of direct and indirect.

Well, that is very interesting.  Does anyone out there in Labanland know any more about this particular history of central-peripheral space and/or body usage having been part of Eukinetics, or where one could find out more about this?  Three questions arise for me:

1]    Have we coming through the LIMS  LMA curriculum not picked up this Central-Peripheral category  that Jooss lamented the loss of with the Space Harmony category of Approach to the Kinesphere, both as Pathway and Spatial Tension, and adding Transverse?  

2]    Why did Jooss regret that Laban had dropped the central and peripheral use of space and of the body when the category they had been in had been that of Eukinetics which category is about quality and not  quantitative spatial or physical usage?

3]   The technique and theory of Alwin Nikolais seems to teach Space rather like what Jooss was describing. If Nikolais got his space-time-energy analysis from Hanya Holm and she got it from Wigman, for whom it may have been in the early stages of creation similar to Jooss' understanding of it, is this why the Nikolais technique and theory, while having contributed so much that is creative and still useful, remains much less rich or fundamental than LMA in terms of its analysis of Space?

Anyway, be all that as it may, while I do understand the logic of Ann Guest's "Physically Central and Peripheral", using those signs to indicate Core, Proximal, Mid-limb and Distal Initiations would seem to present some difficulties, if only again the question of too many strokes.

Here is how am attempting to apply Ann Guest's essentially elegant and efficient signs to the LMA category of Initiations. Obviously this is way too unwieldy. 

Discussion #7 - From Charlotte Wile, June 23, 2010

Hi Richard and everyone,

In the examples below I try out some ways to use Ann’s signs.  Keep in mind that these are just experiments that may or may not work. Also, please note that my usage is somewhat different from Ann’s in her November 6, 2006 Theory BB posting.

Ex. 1. Any distal body part does any movement.
Ex. 2. Any movement initiated by any distal body part.
Ex. 3. Any movement led by any distal body part.   
Ex. 4. Any distal body part goes forward.
Ex. 5. A forward movement initiated by a distal body part.
Ex. 6. The whole body does any movement initiated by any distal body part.
Ex. 7. A distal body part initiates movement that goes forward, then upward.
Ex. 8. The right arm does a movement that is initiated proximally and led distally.
Ex. 9. Do a distal initiation. (The same as example 2, except in example 9 the focus is just on initiating, whereas in example 2 the focus is on the movement that is initiated as well as the part that initiates.


Discussion #8 - From Richard Haisma, June 23, 2010

Hi Charlotte and Everyone:

Thank you for your expertise, so clearly demonstrated by the elegance and efficiency of your examples. For myself,  however, having to internalize an entirely different system of describing Central and Peripheral as regards to parts of the body means that when thinking of our LMA category of Initiations I will always be having to translate thru that other system. In the LIMS LMA system no one ever speaks, as here below with the Ann Guest citation from the 11-06-06 DNB posting of body parts having a central and peripheral aspect. At least, I've never heard anyone speak of the shoulder as the central part of the arm, or the hip as the central part of the leg. In addition what I personally am seeking is a quick indication to signal we are dealing with the 4 types of Initiation in the LMA curriculum and/or one of those subsets. I wouldn't want for this category to have to translate to myself as in: "oh yeah,  Proximal Initiation means that we're really dealing with the central part of the arm or leg."  It would be like traveling in a foreign country constantly translating the currency into dollars.

Also, if we were to adopt what you have here below suggested we essentially end up with a specific body part followed by an action stroke and then an initiation bow with a tick in it one way or another. (see my attached) [shown below] I may not always want to specifically indicate a shoulder or the central part of the arm or the distal end of the leg. I would like the ability to indicate, for example, simply "Mid-limb" and let occur all that that term implies. Admittedly the first signs I offered are clunky, and I certainly respect your experience and ability to "cut to the chase" so to speak in finding a sign that will be simple, efficient and within the Notational heritage. I just can't quite wrap my head around this Central-Peripheral use of body parts. Maybe tho more talking might convince me.


Discussion #9 - From Peggy Hackney, June 23, 2010

Hi, Charlotte and Richard and anyone else who is interested,

Thanks so much, Charlotte for your clear symbols using Ann's suggested symbols. I can understand Richard's reticence to give up the terms "Core, Proximal, Mid-limb, Distal" when referencing Initiation (for the reason listed below).

I remember somewhere in the mid 1970s that in the "Effort/Shape" side of the work (Now LMA) we wanted to begin using Body terms for "Initiation" (those terms mentioned above). This meant we stopped the practice, which was current at that time, of using "Central" and "Peripheral" for both the Approach to the Spatial Kinesphere AND for the Body Initiation terms. It was at that point that we also noticed (duh!) that there were Proximal and Mid-Limb initiations as well.

In relation to history, however, I remember teaching a class in Direct and Indirect Space Effort at the State Univ. of New York at Purchase somewhere in the early 1970s. Kurt Jooss happened to be at the school, and watched my class. He remarked that originally what we now call "Direct" was linked with "Central," and what we now call "Indirect" was linked with "Peripheral." I feel this is another case of how the system is getting more differentiated.

Any other memories from anyone out there...or suggestions for new symbols?



Discussion #10 - From Richard Haisma, June 24, 2010

Hi Peggy, Charlotte, and Labanistas,

The history of the LMA system you have shared here I find not only personally very interesting but also invaluable. A book ought to be written devoted only to  how the system developed and grew over the past century. Such a book should include not only the reasons for the changes and modifications  but also the meaning of those changes for ourselves as analysts and for what we are analyzing in movement. Yes, as you say, the system seems to have become more differentiated, and  "in the name of what" ought to be a question pasted to our foreheads.

Specifically, tho, that in the mid-70s a shift was made from Central-Peripheral as Body language to the 4 different types of Initiation we have now, well, was that not accompanied with any written theory about it?  Why, for example, at that time did we not arrive at Ear, Armpit, Calf or Big Toe types of Initiation?  One can initiate anywhere after all.  I am not being facetious, since the answer to the question is clearly that Core, Proximal, Mid-limb and Distal all yield such specific results in movement and results which also happen frequently to be such clear connectors or entrances to the other categories of the system such as Effort, Shape and Space. Oughtn't we have this kind of history and evolution of theory made explicit in a text?  I feel we need a lot more unearthing of just the kind of story and history that, Peggy, you have shared with us here.

I do wish we could hear from more people about this little question of symbols for Core, Proximal, Mid-limb and Distal Initiations. Seems not to be exciting imaginations the way the Major Theme symbols did 2 years ago. For me personally when I teach Initiations I feel I am closest to Laban's feeling for the mystical in movement, since, guiding the students as I do with the idea of a pristine zero from which the Initiation should issue, something coming out of nothing, and from exactly where, gets one pretty close to the PEQ, the Primordial Existential Question, that physicists and cosmologists are now creating lengthy blogs about, that is, "Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"  Recently Diane Sawyer on national news interviewed Stephen Hawking. At the end of the interview she asked him if there was one question he wanted to ask of the universe, and he answered with the PEQ.  We as dancers and sentient movers probably on a daily, non-verbal basis experience better answers to that question than a thousand bloggers. The symbols, then, that we might find for such experiences function for me as magical talismans.


Discussion #11 - From Ann Hutchinson Guest, June 25, 2010

Greetings, all!

Having spent time this morning with Tina Curran and Susan Gingrasso on the subject of central and peripheral movement and symbols, maybe now I should share what we discussed with all of you.

First, to Kurt Jooss: I question whether what Peggy reported is what he actually said.  He was at the ICKL conference in Herisau, Switzerland, in the 1970s and talked then about his regrets that Laban had dropped the concepts of central and peripheral from his Effort analysis.  What we now understand as direct was never linked with central body movement, nor indirect linked with peripheral.  Central and peripheral said nothing about the path of the movement.  Movement paths belonged to Choreutics. Eukinetics included physically central and peripheral, not spatially central or peripheral.  The difference between and use of these two categories became part of the Language of Dance (LOD) movement analysis.

In teaching LOD, we explore the differences between physically central or peripheral, and spatially central or peripheral.  A peripheral part of the body may move in the central spatial area; think of the balletic finger-tips leading to bring the arms crossed in front of and near to the chest.  When an arm is bent, the elbow can act as a peripheral part of the body.  When the wrist is bent, the wrist can act and be expressive as a peripheral part. The wrist can have it's own central center, whether the arm is near the torso or far away.  The hand itself can move around it's center, as in undulating hand movements that do not include flowing out through the finger tips.  Different parts of the body have different possibilities, depending on their build.  Undulating arm movements that do not extend out through the hand and finger tips, can be seen and experienced as a central elbow movement.

Sigurd Leeder's teaching included Point of Interest, a particular spot on the body that became energized, alert as though a shaft of light had landed on that spot.  Often this spot became the initiating point for a subsequent movement.  Point of interest was initially to be included in the revised Your Move book, but Tina and I felt it was too subtle for the scope of that book.

To my knowledge, physically central and peripheral were always part of Euinetics.  Hanya Holm never taught a deep investigation into Choreutics and her more general survey of Choreutics is doubtless what Alwin Nikolais inherited.

I hope, Richard, that I have been able to fill in information on your particular questions and those of other people.  Because there are now so few people who can speak for the early days, I am happy to contribute what I can, even if I only go back to the 1930s.

Warm greetings to all and much appreciation to Peggy and Charlotte,


Discussion #12 - From Tara Stepenberg, June 26, 2010

Thank you, Ann.

Always, always good to hear from you and lean from your historical perspective - enjoyed moving with your examples - makes sense in my body.

Enjoyment for your day


Discussion #13 - From Peggy Hackney, June 26, 2010

Dear Ann,

It is always wonderful to hear your historical remembrances! Thanks for taking the time to write! Hope you and Ivor are having an excellent summer.

Janice and I are in salt lake city for our IMS Certificate Program.



Discussion #14 - From Richard Haisma, June 26, 2010

Thank you very much, Ann. Your perspective is much appreciated, and what you have shared opens doors on our history I did not know existed.

I will want to explore these ideas further.


Discussion #15 - From Ann Hutchinson Guest, June 27, 2010

Hi, Charlotte and everyone,

Thank you for setting forth these signs.  I have one BIG question!  How long does an initiation last?  Is it not brief?  Soon no longer in effect? Shouldn't the initiation signs be shorter?

A part leading can be of longer or shorter duration, it can continue to the end of the movement, or terminate sooner; the length of the curved vertical bow indicates this timing.

Let me know your thoughts, experiences.


Discussion #16 - From Charlotte Wile, June 29, 2010

Hi Ann and Everyone:

The timing of the initiation bow is a sticky, but important issue. Here are some thoughts about it.

The timing of initiation was discussed in the minutes for the May 25, 2000 DNB theory meeting, pages 7-8.  The relevant section is given below.
Years ago Jane Marriet wanted to be able to show a movement happening first in time and not first in space like leading/guiding. The example demonstrated was a Bartenieff knee drop.

When the DNB was looking for a solution Ann came up with the symbol seen below for the initiation bow (about 1981). Vera Maletic was also using the same symbol but in a very different context (i.e. as impulse).
Ex. a. Current DNB usage of initiation bow with shoulder blade initiating.
Ex. b. Addressing the timing issue by placing the initiation as an up beat.
Ex. c. The squiggle indicates that something has to happen before the actual movement.
Ex. d. Using a bracket (an addition bow) to indicate timing.
Ex. e. Shoulder blade
Ex. f. Using a leading bow rather than an initiation bow.
Ex. g. Playing around with the use of an arrow to show initiation.
Ex. h. Similar idea to ex. g but written differently.
Ex. i. Using a zed caret to link the body part initiating to the movement (body part) it is modifying.
*Notators at the DNB have disagreed for many years on the ICKL ruling and continue to use the zed caret as a symbol with a different meaning than a "regular caret" (see last paragraph).
Ex. j. llene said that if we give the zed caret the meaning of leading into a movement then in this example the zed caret doesn't make sense.
Ex. k. Ann says that in this case this is the primary reason we need zed carets.
Ex. l. You have a very slow preparatory action into the step. In this case it is an unspecified, "natural" way to progress into the movement.
Ex. m. llene wrote this example from the ICKL proceedings and asked if this example would not be equally clear with a caret? It says to shift onto the knees. Valarie and Sandra both said that the shift was the key word. Ann asked how you would do it different without the caret? The response was that you would have to write right forward diagonal high direction symbols.

Ann says that the trouble with blackening one end (see ex. a.) looks too much like an accent. It is possible/probable that the initiation happens before the movement actually begins. You need to show where the movement originates, it may be an unseen part, it may not be that visible, moving in space. A lead by bow is basically a good sign for it, but it needs something else, llene said that the vertical bow is a problem as there are timing issues. Most everyone agreed that the initiating action is almost an upbeat. Valarie thought that we need some sort of pre-sign that could accommodate a body part in it. Patty said that initiating is still denoting movement, action.

The problem with the ICKL ruling on carets and zed carets is that there is NO difference between the meanings in context. The DNB for many years (Ann agrees) has used (and glossarized) the zed caret to link a gesture to a step, to link a head rotation to a facing, and today were exploring the idea of linking a body part to a movement to indicate initiation.

Several ideas for indicating the timing of an initiation were given in the May 25, 2000 excerpt above. Here is another idea:

Initiation is a momentary impetus that occurs at the beginning or just before the beginning of a given movement. (The idea of it occurring before the movement is discussed in the May 25 minutes.) It is assumed that the initiation occurs at or just before the dark end of the initiation bow.

The length of the initiation bow does not show the duration of the initiation. Rather, the length of the initiation bow shows the movement(s) to which the initiation applies.

For example, in 1a below, the arm movement forward is initiated by the shoulder. The initiation is a brief impetus that occurs at the beginning or just before the forward movement. This is followed by a separate upward arm movement. An initiation for the upward movement is not given (i.e., it is irrelevant or open to interpretation).

In 1b the arm goes forward, then upward. This whole phrase of movement is initiated in the shoulder. The initiation for the phrase occurs at the beginning or just before the arm goes forward.

In 1c the arm goes forward initiated by the shoulder. Then the arm goes upward initiated by the hand.

Discussion #17 - From Richard Haisma, July 3, 2010

Hello Charlotte,

Can you possibly tell me what problems or inadequacies you might anticipate to arise with the following?

Discussion #18 - From Charlotte Wile, July 3, 2010

Hi Richard,

To answer your question, I will refer to the posting I sent to the CMAlist on June 29 [Discussion #16].

I’m assuming that in your notation the length of the initiation bow shows the duration of the initiation. The advantage of this is that the indication of timing is visually clear. It is immediately apparent that the initiation is momentary.

However, as I see it, the disadvantage of having initiation bows always be short is that then they can each only refer to one movement. How could one write that a phrase of movements is initiated?

In [Discussion #16] I suggest one possible solution. Perhaps we could say the length of the initiation bow just shows which unit of movement(s) is being initiated. (The length would not stipulate the duration of the initiation.) This makes it possible to show initiation for a phrase of movements, as in my example 1b. Of course, the disadvantage of my idea is that the momentary character of the initiation is not visually apparent. To make the idea work, the fact that the initiation is momentary needs to be assumed. Or perhaps one could say the duration of the movement is represented by the short, thick bottom part of the bow.


Discussion #19 - From Ellen Goldman, July 4, 2010

Charlotte, to me, the phrasing could be indicated also by the measure, and/or a phrasing bow on the other side of the score.  What do you think?  Ellen

Discussion #20 - From Charlotte Wile, July 4, 2010


Yes! Keeping the initiation bow short and adding a phrasing bow might be a solution. Is my example below what you mean? Of course that makes the notation more cumbersome. On the other hand, the short duration of the initiation is visually apparent.
I'm assuming when you say "measure" you are referring to bar lines. I don't think bar lines would work as well, since they can have various meanings. For example, bar lines might be used to denote measures in music that accompanies the movement. These measures may or may not coincide with a phrase of movement that is initiated. If you wanted to use bar lines to define the boundaries of initiated units, I think that would need to be glossarized.


Discussion #21 - From Ellen Goldman, July 4, 2010

Charlotte, I can see how you are kind of accenting the start of the bow, to show initiation.  I like the idea.  Works for me.  Ellen

Discussion #22 - From Charlotte Wile, July 4, 2010


I would love to take credit for the idea. However, I think Ann Guest came up with it many years ago (in 1981 to the May 25, 2000 DNB theory meeting minutes, p.7)


Discussion #23 - From Tara Stepenberg, July 4, 2010


I'm following this on the sidelines - curiosity - i thought that Richard's motif was indicating initiation and led by (which i did find a bit challenging to execute), as opposed to initiating with a phrasing bow.

Your help is appreciated (and i am enjoying the discussions)


Discussion #24 - From Charlotte Wile, July 4, 2010

Hi Tara,

I believe the phrasing bow, initiation bow, and part leading bow make different statements:
  • The phrasing bow is used to show that a series of consecutive symbols have, as Ann Guest says in Labanotation, 4th edition (p. 107), a “unity of thought.”
  • The initiation bow is used to show the impulse for movement (e.g., a breath), or the place in the body where the movement begins in time.
  • The part leading bow is used to indicate a body part that that goes first in space.
These bows can be used by themselves or in combination. Examples of various combinations have been presented in these discussions.

Richard's notation from his July 3 posting [Discussion #17] shown here in Ex. 1, makes statements about initiation and part leading. It does not say anything about “phrasing” as I have defined it above.

The notation in my June 29 posting [Discussion #16], shown here in Ex. 2, combined the idea of phrasing and initiation into one bow. It does not say anything about part leading.

The notation in my July 4, 2010 posting [Discussion #20], shown here in Ex. 3, made separate statements about phrasing and initiation. It does not say anything about part leading.

It is also possible, of course, to have notation which includes all three: phrasing, initiation, and part leading. You could also have notation that just tells about part leading. But I’m too tired to write examples now.
Discussion #25 - From Tara Stepenberg, July 5, 2010


I am "motifingly rusty" - so see that phrasing bows are on the left and body-part leading on the right - yes?

Tara S

Discussion #26 - From Richard Haisma, July 6, 2010

I made a summary diagram with questions. I abandoned my examples in favor of the simplicity of staying with yours with the right arm moving. Nothing dramatic here just clarifying questions.

[Double Click the diagram to make it larger]

Discussion #27 - From Charlotte Wile, July 6, 2010 
[Responding to Discussion #25]

Hi Tara and Everyone,

As I see it, the placement is optional. The initiation, phrasing, and part leading bows can be placed on either side, depending upon what makes the notation easiest to read.


Discussion #28 - From Charlotte Wile, July 6, 2010 
[Responding to Discussion #26]

Hi Richard,

It is quite difficult for me to talk about your comments without being able to physically demonstrate the movement. I will try to respond on line, but this really needs an in-person conversation.

Example 1b doesn’t say anything about part leading. The part that goes first in space would depend upon how you interpret the notation.

Re: 1c The terms “phrase” and “phrasing” have various meanings. Perhaps that is a topic for another conversation.  At any rate, just for the purpose of the “Initiation 4” discussion I used the term as meaning that the initiation bow in 1b ties the two direction signs into a “unity of thought.” When you say we get “a kind of phrasing” in 1c, I think you are talking about a different meaning of the term “phrasing”. This is not to say that it would necessarily be wrong to use the term in the way you are implying.  But it is not the way I was applying it or the meaning I gave the bow.

As I see it, 1b and the first half of 1d say the same thing. My point was that 1d (which was inspired by Ellen’s suggestion) visually shows the timing of the initiation better, while 1b is less cumbersome.

Your notation in 2a is confusing. I think the indication of timing for initiation bows should be consistent throughout a score. Either use the short bow or the longer bow. But don’t mix the two in the same score. If for some reason you want to use both versions of the bow, I think it would be prudent to explain how they are being used in a glossary. But I personally feel it is clearer to be as consistent as possible.

Also, in 2a the placement of the part leading bow says you start going forward, and then 1/3 of the way into that movement you start leading with the elbow. Just checking to be sure that is what you wanted to say.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Submitted by Charlotte Wile - August 19, 2010

Written by Oliver Bandel, Karen Bradley, Gretchen Dunn, Ellen Goldman, Peggy Hackney, Ben Lambert, Jeffrey-Scott Longstaff, and Charlotte Wile.

[Following is a compilation of discussions originally posted on the CMAlist from June 22, 2010 to July 6, 2010.]

Discussion #1 - From Ben Lambert, June 22, 2010

Friends, I'm a Mod 3 in the LIMS program. Preparing for my Certified Project on Dynamosphere. Karen Studd has told me that there was an interesting Dynamosphere list serve discussion with Carolyn Moore (among others). However, I haven't been able to find it using the list serve search function. If you have access to the written record I would be EXTREMELY grateful if you could forward it along to me. (Feel free to send me any other illuminating thoughts or suggested readings as well.)

All the best,
[Ben Lambert]

Discussion #2 - From Oliver Bandel, June 22, 2010

As you can see at the end of your mail, there is a webpage mentioned. If you go there and click on archive, you will come to the following page:

Discussion #3 -  From Jeffrey-Scott Longstaff, June 25, 2010

Hi Ben,

Oliver mentions the archive, but you probably noticed it only goes back as far as August 2004 (when the list serve was updated to include the automatic archive), so the huge quantity of CMA list discussions prior to that will not be in that archive.

Dynamosphere: the key text is in Laban's Choreutics (1966) – my memory is that 'shadow forms' comes into play here..... and that Laban experimented notating efforts with spatial direction signs together with a indication of this as "shadow" - i.e. an 'effort' (but I'd need to double check on that).

Keep in mind that the dynamosphere does NOT refer to effort-space affinities. It is a parallel 'sphere' in the sense of a 'formal space' whereby Effort relationships and transitions between efforts can be mapped.

Of course a kinesphere-dynamosphere affinity can be used, but the dynamosphere itself is the effort stuff, and can be performed with any kinespheric relationships (affinity, counter-affinity, or whatever).

Thus, "effort scales" might be 'mapped' in the dynamosphere.

The 'space' of the dynamosphere is a grid to express relationships, not the actual space of our 3-dimensional world.

This confusion of perceiving the dynamosphere as consisting of the effort-space affinities sometimes occurs.... hence my mention to try to clarify that. A good reading of choreutics makes it clear the the kinesphere and dynamosphere can relate, but also can be different.

Besides the parts in Laban's Choreutics... an author Alan Salter made some interesting uses of spatial representations of effort-sequences, these are also dynospheric... however I think these works are probably only available in England (Laban [Center] Library has them) - or perhaps Laban Guild in England.

Especially relative to effort represented as a dynamosphere: Alan Salter – "the curving air"

Of course Laban's use of the cube to display relations amongst the 8 basic effort actions is a well known Dynamosphere, as the 'space' shows how related (how much is shared) amongst different effort actions. (I'd recommend Laban & Lawrence book Effort for this to view this as an effort-cube – not called a dynamosphere there... but that is what it is).

Other 'dynamospheric' forms are in Marion North's Personality Assessment – I think in one of the appencides (??) she puts the effort-states (and other things?) in geometric relationships – these are great dynospheres (pardon my spelling) as they are not at all correlated with the space of the kinesphere (hence avoids the confusion of the dynamosphere representing effort-space affinities).

Using Marion's effort-ocathedron representing relations amongst the 6 Effort States, I expanded this to create an interesting 'dynamosphere' made from a truncated octahedron

This can represent relationships between - 4 Effort drives (action, vision, spell, passion) - 4 Effort factors (weight, space, time, flow) - 6 Effort states (stable, mobile, dream, awake, near, remote) the 6 square surfaces of the truncated octahedron each are one of the 6 Effort states. The 8 hexagon surfaces of the truncated octahedron are either one of the 4 Effort factors, or one of the 4 Effort drives.

Notice that in a "network" either the vertices (points) can be named, or just as well, the surfaces can be named (and these two options are identical... since naming the 6 vertices of an octahedron is identical to naming the 6 surfaces of a cube – since the octahedron and cube are dual polyhedron).

In this Effort-factor-state-drive dynamosphere the placement of each factor, state, or drive shows its relation with each of the others. For example "Weight" is on the opposite side of the polyhedron as is Vision drive (since vision has no weight). Dream state is on the opposite side as Awake state. Flow directly touches the 3 states and 3 drives that include flow... Action Drive directly touches the 3 effort factors and 3 states that are included within action drive...

I attached 3 jpeg images [below] to show how to make this dynamosphere. [Click the images to make them larger].


It often occurred to me that a persons 'effort profile' could be 'mapped' on a dynamosphere like this one, to show their preferences for factors, states, and drives... and visually display a person's effort preferences as a dynamo-sphere...

Of course... like the kinesphere, ...the possible variations of the dynamospheric networks are endless.

Hope this is interesting.

Take a look at the jpegs..... and I'm curious if this is useful. (ps. one of the images is of the polyhedra layed flat - so it looks strange - but try to 'fold' everything back into 3-D as needed!)

pps.... just making such a sphere..... is an exercise in understanding all the efforts!

Jeffrey Longstaff

Discussion #4 - From Peggy Hackney, June 25, 2010

Hi, Jeffrey and Ben, et al...

I agree with Jeffrey and have, in the past, had many discussions with him about this. I prefer to use the less form-specific term -- "realm" to describe what Jeffrey calls this "parallel 'sphere". So I refer to it as the "Dynamosrealm," or more clearly the Realm of Dynamic Energy/Effort.


Discussion #5 - From Karen Bradley, June 25, 2010


Thanks so much for responding to Ben's question in such a full and meaningful way. You and he are kindred spirits and should hang out ;)

Karen B.

Discussion #6 - From Ellen Goldman, July 4, 2010

Jeffrey; I am sure you are aware of Haresh Lalavani's mapping of the whole Laban System on the tesseract, the cube, moving through space. He has worked with whole families of polyhedra, and has also mapped the Indian hand mudras on one. It is also a flatted form. Eager to see your photos.


Discussion #7 - From Oliver Bandel, July 4, 2010
[Responding to Discussion #6]

Can you provide a link to Lalavani's work? Is there something online?


Discussion #8 - From Oliver Bandel, July 4, 2010
[Responding to Discussion #3]

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 02:12:58AM -0700, Jeffrey-Scott Longstaff wrote: “Oliver mentions the archive, but you probably noticed it only goes back as far as August 2004 (when the list serve was updated to include the automatic archive), so the huge quantity of CMA list discussions prior to that will not be in that archive [...]”

Oh, I looked too hasty on Ben's email...
...he already mentioned that he looked at the archive with the search function.

If the discussion is older, I may have it in my mail-backups, but to find them might be a problem, because I'm handling the old backups rather messy... ;)

But I may look for them during the next days.

Would be nice to have a keyword for which I could look (thread subject).

I could maybe also provide the old cmalist mails as one big text file to interested people. But I'm not aware, if I had subscribed the list continuously.

The effort mapping to the "Truncatedoctahedron" and the pics you provided, were very interesting!


Discussion #9 - From Gretchen Dunn, July 4, 2010

The spelling is Lalvani:

Discussion #10 - From Oliver Bandel, July 6, 2010
[Responding to Discussion #9]

Ok, thank you.

But I could not find the Laban-Mappings to the hypercube from him.