The origins of modern dance in Manchester
Monday 21st March 7.30pm
Professor Valerie Preston Dunlop
Rudolf Laban (left) with dancers
Born in Austria. Rudolf Laban (1879-1958) was one of the founders of European Modern Dance. In 1938 he fled from the Nazis and later established himself in Manchester where at the age of sixty, supported by Lisa Ullmann, he started a new phase in his career. He worked in industry, introducing work study methods to increase production through humane means, and greatly influenced the movement education culture in Britain opening, through Lisa Ullmann, The Art of Movement Studio in Manchester in 1946. He raised the status of dance as an art form, and his explorations into the theory and practice of dance and movement transformed the nature of dance scholarship. He established choreology, the discipline of dance analysis, and invented a system of dance notation, now known as Labanotation or Kinetography Laban. The Art of Movement Studio was renamed Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in 1975, and moved to new premises in New Cross, South East London. MERZ/LABAN Rudolph Laban and, fellow refuee from the Nazis; Kurt Schwitters, were also in contact during 1946/47, and were working on plans for a pioneer Modern Dance Opera project.
Valerie Preston-Dunlop is a consultant and researcher at Trinity Laban, a practical dance scholar and lecturer, and author of numerous books including the award winning Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinarty Life. She received her early training from Laban, Lisa Ullmann, Kurt Jooss and Albrecht Knust and after a short performing career went on to pioneered practice as part of her doctoral studies. Always an innovator, she introduced Motif Writing and developed Choreological Perspectives as a way of looking at dance and dance making from the practitioners view point. Her current research interests are sacred geometry in human movement, re-finding and re-creating Laban’s dance works of the 1920s, and devising interactive mapping methods for documenting creative procedures, in the first instance for William Forsythe’s multimedia dance theatre work The Loss of Small Detail.
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