The Laban Sourcebook  book cover
1st Edition

The Laban Sourcebook

Edited By

Dick McCaw

ISBN 9780415543323
Published July 22, 2011 by Routledge
400 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Rudolf Laban (1879 – 1958) was a pioneer in dance and movement, who found an extraordinary range of application for his ideas; from industry to drama, education and therapy.  Laban believed that you can understand about human beings by observing how they move, and devised two complimentary methods of notating the shape and quality of movements.

The Laban Sourcebook offers a comprehensive account of Laban’s writings. It includes extracts from his five books in English and from his four works in German, written in the 1920s and translated here for the first time. 

This book draws on archival research in England and Germany to chart the development of Laban’s groundbreaking ideas through a variety of documents, including letters, articles, transcripts of interviews, and his unpublished Effort and Recovery.   It covers:

  • The beginning of his career in Germany and Switzerland in the 1910s.
  • His astonishing rise to fame in Germany in the 1920s as a dance teacher, choreographer and creator of public dance events.
  • Following his move to England in 1938, the application of his ideas to drama, education, industry, and therapy.

Each extract has a short preface providing contextual background, and highlighting and explaining key terms. Passages have been selected and are introduced by many of the world’s leading Laban scholars.

Table of Contents

1. Preface by Sir Walter Bodmer

2. Introduction by Dick McCaw

3. Documents from 1913 – 1917

1920s and 1930s

4. The World of the Dancer, preface by Steffi Sachsenmaier

5. Gymnastics and Dance for Children, preface by Dick McCaw

6. Gymnastics and Dance, preface by Dick McCaw

7. Choreography, preface by Dick McCaw

8. Texts on Laban’s choreographies: Titan (1927) and Don Juan (1927)

9. Programme for the Laban Choreographic Institute and Laban’s address to the First Dancer’s Congress, preface by Vera Maletic

10. Texts on the Pageants of the Trades and Crafts in Vienna, June 1929

11. Notation, Roderyk Lange

12. Film Texts by Rudolf Laban, preface by Evelyn Dörr

13. Choreutics (1938 – 39), preface by Valerie Preston Dunlop

1940s and ’50s

14. ‘The Art of Movement in Education, Work and Recreation’, preface by Dick McCaw

15. Effort, preface by Warren Lamb

16. Answers to Ten Questions about Industrial Rhythm

17. Modern Educational Dance, preface by Anna Carlisle

18. The Mastery of Movement on the Stage, preface by Dick McCaw

19. Shadow Moves, preface by Marion North

20. Glossary of Movement Psychology

21. Effort and Recovery, preface by Dick McCaw

22. Texts on Movement Therapy, preface by Janet Kaylo

23. Harmony in Movement, preface by Carol Lynne Moore



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Dick McCaw is Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. He co-founded the Medieval Players theatre company in 1981 and he was Artistic Director of the International Workshop Festival from 1993-2001. He trained with Geraldine Stephenson, a former pupil and colleague of Rudolf Laban. He is the co-editor of eight DVD ROMs with Peter Hulton on theatre movement and practice, and is the author of a book on Warren Lamb.