Laban Centre Archive

Scope and Content

This is the administrative archive of Laban up until 31 July 2005. The archive documents and records the history of Laban from its early days as the Art of Movement Studio in the late 1940s up to its merger with Trinity College of Music to become Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The archive comprises administrative files, minutes, architectural plans, photographs, videos, correspondence, publicity material, course information and financial papers. The archive also includes sound tapes of a panel discussion and performance by John Cage and Merce Cunningham from a summer school residency at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in 1980.

Administrative / Biographical History

Laban began as the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester in 1948. The Studio moved to Addlestone in Surrey in 1953 where it was incorporated into the Laban Art of Movement Centre and remained there until 1975. The Centre then moved to New Cross, South East London and was renamed the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance. In 1997 it was rebranded as the Laban Centre, later becoming Laban. In 2003 it moved into its new location in Deptford, South East London. In 2005, Laban merged with Trinity College of Music to become Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.


The archive was catalogued in the late 1990s and this order has been retained. The catalogued has been migrated into CALM and is being recatalogued following ISAD(G) into the following series:

  • LA/A Art of Movement Studio records, 1948-1997
  • LA/B Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund Award records, 1985-2005
  • LA/C Dance Theatre Journal records, 1982-2003
  • LA/D Laban Centre records, 1950-2005
  • LA/E Laban Foundation records, 1984-1994

Access Information

Temporarily closed to the public.

Acquisition Information

The archive was transferred from the administrative offices of Laban into the Laban Archive.

Other Finding Aids

The collection can be searched on the Laban Archive catalogue.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Most items are held off-site.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Fowler, Archivist, Laban.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies can be made according to copyright law and depending on the condition of the documents. Please consult the Archivist.

Appraisal Information

Duplicates have been weeded.


The archive continues to receive accruals.

Related Material

Further administrative papers of Laban can be found in the Marion North Collection, the Bonnie Bird Collection and the Transitions Dance Company Collection, in the Laban Archive.


Willson, F.M.G. (1997) In Just Order Move: The progress of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance 1946-1996. London: The Athlone Press. This work used the Laban Centre Archive as one of its main sources.