‘Laban movement analysis leads to the freedom of the artist’ - Martine Kaisserlian

MARTINE KAISSERLIAN - World renowned Contemporary dancer, teacher, and choreographer
After many years of training in France, Martine gained a scholarship from the British Council of Arts for the LABAN Centre in London, which made it possible for her to meet and work with great masters such as  Merce Cunningham, Aaron Osborne as well as Karin Waehner,  and many others. Constantly trying to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these techniques, Martine Kaisserlian developed a work based on fluidity, sensitivity and awareness of the body. She speaks to Abhijit Ganguly during a workshop organized by Rhythmosaic school & dance institute which is affiliated to OFFJAZZ DANCE ACADEMY (Centre de formation professionnelle et d’études supérieures en danse Nice France).

What is movement analysis?

Movement analysis has to do with the body awareness. Dancers are really concerned with the body is the first person to have a direct interest in it. But it can be also part of a therapy for children, disabled adults, through psychosomatic education. The body is the tool for the dancer, and the principal nonverbal communication through movement, gesture and expression.

Movement analysis is like a window opened on the gesture, a lecture of the body for any kind of dance. It came with the first theories and studies led by François Delsarte, Emile Jaques Dalcroze and Rudolf Laban. All of them having new considerations of the dancing body, giving a large part of the torso and the spine, the rhythm, the space, the weight and flow. When Laban began with movement studies, he considered all movements, not only dance: we were in the 1930’s with different gymnastic methods, “a natural movement in a healthy body” (they danced nude in countries and expressed themselves in collective dances with freedom in an open space).

Actually, we use the fundamentals of these methods in contemporary dance: bare feet, free movements, use of the weight through gravity, the dancer is the center of the space, torso and spine being the main points of the movement, all including the relationship or non relationship to music, into a flow which characterizes the dynamic of the dance.
What are the benefits of Laban movement analysis?

Laban studies are based upon two main directions: movement analysis leading to fundamentals for modern dance and labanotation which is a notation system which helps to have written choreographies.

I would not say that only Laban movement analysis is enough, but it is very precise and opened to every kind of context. I studied at Laban Centre and I always use the Laban studies for movement in the teaching, as well as in the transmission of choreography. But in order to have a wider approach, I also had experiences through Feldenkrais, Alexander, Body Mind Centering etc. These techniques are necessary to build a real dialogue between the inside, interiority, and the movement which the dancer gives us to watch.

The body awareness has to deal with space, levels, music and rhythm, gravity, flow, but also with the tension and release of the muscles, the breathing, all to access to a dance with no effort, expressive and leading to the freedom of the artist. 

Does it help in connecting and communicating with the audience better?

We can read the « text » on the bodies. It is also this aspect which is the most important for therapists. For the dance, the group becomes stronger and the audience receives their real involvement.

Can it be applied to Indian dance?

It can be a serious support for increasing the quality, the dynamic, the control of the body, the inside energy and to have a real pleasure to dance, to share with the audience. With Rhythmosaic school and the institute, we try to cross our professional experiences to bring something new.

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