Application of Laban Movement Analysis to a movement for actors training program : excerpts from a teaching collaboration
Kedzie Penfield and Judith Steel, two dance/movement lecturers in the acting programme of (respectively) Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh, Scotland) and the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia) will collaborate in a cross-cultural project to study, practice and refine the use of Laban Movement Analysis as it applies to the actor as performer and creative artist. Their specific focus is the American development of Laban's work which includes elements such as the use of shape- as a fourth category of movement quality and Bartenieff Fundamentals as a body training system. Reference to the British applications of Laban to this field will be reviewed in the context of history and the evolution of the system. Ms Penfield and Ms Steel, both certified movement analysts, will use their teaching of first and second year acting students at QMUC as their primary source to conduct their investigations of this area. Workshops and, it is hoped, papers or possibly a textbook will come from the co-teaching in the autumn semester of 2005. Investigations of such areas as best teaching practice, reflective work, engaging students in a creative process and movement/body level practice as research will have some focus in the recording and evaluating of this project. This is not seen as an exercise to prove that the American Laban development is better than such stalwarts of the trade as Grotowsky, Stanislavsky, Michael Chekov, etc., but rather to explore the particular contribution of the Laban/Bartenieff framework to the training of actors from the point of view of two different English speaking cultures. In this case the two cultures- are two higher education institutions in Scotland and Virginia respectively; conservatoire training courses to degree level which prepare individuals over the age of 18 for the acting profession (vocational work in the context of an academic structure).