LABAN ANALYSIS Reviews, Consultation, Research, Publication

  Body Connectivity

BARTENIEFF FUNDAMENTALS: ‘BASIC 6’ (Brief Summary, 2004, J.S. Longstaff)

For details see:

  1. Bartenieff, I., & Lewis, D. (1980). Body Movement; Coping with the Environment. New York: Gordon and Breach (especially pp. 229-262).
  2. Hackney, P. (1998). Making Connections - Total Body Integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.
  3. Hamburg, J. (1990). Movement efficiency coaching. Movement and Dance Magazine of the Laban Guild, 79 (May), 51-53.
Breath Preparation
Purpose : “Movement rides on the flow of the breath”. Be aware of “subtle inner shape changes in the cavities (mouth, chest, abdomen) . . . and fine gradations . . . that occur in different configurations of limbs . . . [and] subtleties in phrasing.”(Bartenieff & Lewis, 1980, p. 232).
Action: In-breath; subtle concaving torso shape change (+inflating muscle pressure)
Out-breath; convexing(+ deflating muscle pressure)

Sounds move up the body and bring awareness of shape changes:
  1. feel shape changes with sounds;
  2. 2nd - feel shape changes without sounds.
&nsbp; ooooo (you; U) lowest spine / pelvis
&nsbp; oh (O) lumbar spine / navel
&nsbp; aah (a) thorax spine / lower ribs
&nsbp; eeh (say; A) thorax-cervical / sternum
&nsbp; iiih (meet; E) base of skull / front of throat


Rocking Preparation
Purpose: To bring awareness and encouragement to movement relationships amongst heels, pelvis, spine, and head;
reciprocal actions of hamstrings vs. iliopsoas-heels connected to pelvic floor & sitz-bones
  1. Gentle rocking motion (legs bent or straight; heels on floor);
  2. Initiate from the heels (hamstrings) or the core (psoas)
  3. ankles flex - pelvis rocks back
  4. ankles extend - pelvis rocks forward
Initiation: from the heels or the core (iliopsoas)


THIGH LIFT (hip flexion)
Purpose: To flex the hip most efficiently with iliopsoas without superficial muscles.
Encourage deep folding in inguinal area during hip flexion.
Awareness of subtle pelvic tilt.
Use hamstrings for grounding in ‘standing’ leg.
Use of reciprocal crossed-extensor-reflex between hamstrings and ilioposas.
Use of breath abdominal ‘hollowing’ to promote iliopsoas initiation.
Action: Pre-Thigh-Lift: On back, legs extended along floor.
  1. With breath stimulating ilioposas, leg flexes till foot is on floor
  2. On extension, hamstrings push heels away from sitz-bones (ischium)
  3. Two legs can alternate flex-extend in a crossed-extensor-reflex.
Thigh-lift: On back, legs bent, feet flat on floor
  1. With breath stimulating ilioposas, leg flexes till foot is off floor
  2. On extension, hamstrings push heels down into floor (away from ischium)
  3. Two legs can alternate flex-extend in a crossed-extensor-reflex.
Initiation: from core, breath, encouraging iliopsoas

Purpose: Mobilise forward & backward transfers of weight.
Use of hamstrings to shift pelvis forward from the pelvic floor
Connection between heels and sitz-bones.
Action: On back, legs bent, feet on floor
  1. Breath stimulating ilioposas, preparation of torso concaving / convexing
  2. Initiate with exhale, abdominal hollowing (psoas)
  3. pelvic floor (sitz-bones) up & towards heels (hamstrings)
  4. Inguinal area opens with hip extension
  5. Inhale, sitz-bones reach down & towards heels,
  6. lumbar lengthens, hips flex, Inguinal area folds

Purpose: Mobilise lateral transfers of weight without any twisting or lifting the hip
Use pelvic floor, together with hamstrings, to flex and abduct/adduct at hip.
Action: On back, legs bent, feet on floor
  1. Initiate with exhale, hollowing,
  2. hamstrings lift pelvis into small forward shift
  3. Initiate from pelvic floor; lateral shift of greater trocanters in a straight line
  4. Lower pelvis to floor (as in pelvic forward shift)
  5. Repeat, bringing the pelvis back to centre.
  6. Repeat other side.

Purpose: Awareness of the vertical mid-line of the body
Stabilise one half of the body, supporting mobility in the other half.
Action: Lie in ‘big X’ position
  1. Initiate with exhale, hollowing for core support
  2. Supporting side lengthens, stabilises body (without twisting or rocking)
  3. simultaneously mobile side shrinks - head & elbow towards knee
  4. Reverse stable & mobile body sides

Purpose: Awareness of lower-body twisting against upper-body
Awareness of pelvic floor and iliopsoas as connecting upper to lower
Action: On back, knees bent, feet flat on floor.
  1. Weight shifts to edges of feet, both knees reach to the side,
  2. pelvis slightly twists
  3. Opposite shoulder reaches in diagonally opposite direction along floor
  4. Initiate with exhale (hollowing - psoas) pulling pelvis & knees back to upright
  5. Reverse to other side.

Purpose: Awareness of arm-shoulder-scapula-latissimus connecting to lower body
Awareness of full 3-dimensional gradated rotation in shoulder joints
Integration of head-eyes with arm movement
Narrowing and widening across sternum
Action: Arm Circle: On back, knees bent, feet flat on floor.
  1. Arm reaches in a circle, over the head, narrowing, over pelvis, to the side
  2. ‘Distal steering’ of hand encourages continual gradated rotation throughout
  3. Track the hand with head-eyes
  4. Sternum-chest narrows, lifts, widens etc. together with arm circle
  5. Repeat with other arm
Action: Arm Circle with diagonal sit-up: On back, knees bent, feet flat on floor.
  1. Same as arm circle, except full sit-up (slightly twisted torso) as arm circles
  2. Both arms participate in the circle
  3. Lower from sit-up on other diagonal, arms leading down diagonal to floor