Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Aaron Anderson


Rudolf Laban: Father of Modern dance, revolutionary within the field of movement studies, and inventor of Labanotation. His work is so universal it has been applied to dancing, acting, industrial work, and movement therapy. This thesis will specifically discuss the use of his system as it applies to actor training. However before that it is important for me as a teacher to understand the potential ideologies and historical implications that are associated with a theory or body of work before passing it on, lest we unknowingly propagate a system of thought that is associated with destructive ideologies. This becomes particularly significant in the case of Laban. From 1933 until 1936 Laban’s movement analysis and choreographic skills were an integral and leading part of the Reich Chamber of Culture’s division of dance. Many of his contemporaries labeled him a Nazi, and many scholars today struggle to extricate his work from the Nazi stain. If his work, as his contemporaries claimed, was fascist in nature and his work was uniquely expressive of the German volk, as Goebbels had instructed him it should be, then we as teachers have a moral obligation to be judicious in our applications of his system. Therefore in this thesis I will first examine the time Laban spent working for the Third Reich, and only after concluding that his actual system of understanding movement had little to do with the politics during that time of his life will I then go on to discuss how Laban Movement Analysis can be an integral tool for actor training, and discuss the ideologies that I, as a teacher, bring to the table.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012