Book Club: Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies – Contemporary Applications.

In this month’s Book Club meeting Holly Wallis is discussing “Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies: Contemporary Applications” by Colleen Wahl.

Please jump right in to share your thoughts about this book. We love to hear from you.


I will start by saying I LOVE THIS BOOK! It takes me back to my early training at Integrated Movement Studies in Toronto, Canada. I have to admit that my first experiences with Laban/Bartenieff Fundamentals were confusing. I had no idea how to apply these concepts to my professional practice, although I truly wanted to appreciate their value. How thrilled I was then to find a book about contemporary applications of this technique!

As I read through this book, I found myself drawn to the Bartenieff work, more than the Laban side of things. However, that is precisely why Bartenieff added to Laban’s work in the first place.

The six patterns of Total Body Connectivity are so readily applicable to Pilates teachers as it is easy to categorize exercises in this manner. Not to mention that the first pattern is Breath which any Pilates teacher can make sense of in our context.

The concept of Effort and Shape resonate with me the most from a movement perspective. Being able to think of Effort as something that can be readily altered by applying a different quality to it can help people choose how they can apply only the effort needed for a given task, without excessive exertion. I think we’ve all seen those clients that appear to be using every ounce of energy they can muster to accomplish the most simple of tasks. From another perspective, Shape is something I use often in my teaching, and maybe you do too, by way of shape-based images. I am encouraged now however to incorporate more of the idea of Space into my teaching, especially as it can so directly relate to the notion of two-way length that we talk about in Pilates.

A word of advice if you are planning to read this selection. Be patient and read slowly, perhaps just one section at a time so that you can figure out how to apply these concepts in your teaching or movement practice. The concepts can be complex and confusing, and all may not resonate with you. Hopefully this will be a start of further exploration into Laban and Bartenieff’s ideas about movement.

Please share how you currently or plan to incorporate these concepts in your work. It will be useful to hear other’s ideas of how this can be applied.

Until next time, keep reading!
Yours truly, ✍

Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
510-338-0962
holly@movementmonthly.com
www.reactivemovement.com
www.bodyharmonicsUS.com

© Movement Monthly 2019. All rights reserved.

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Do you have an idea for a future read? Please share your suggestions.

Join Holly on Monday, March 25 to discuss your thoughts and insights into our next selection.

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