Personal papers, notation scores, photographs, flyers, dance theatre programmes, drawings, articles, notebooks, press cuttings, correspondence, lectures, oral history interviews, videos, transcripts, manuscripts and official records of Rudolf Laban and his associates in Germany in the 1920s-1930s and in England in the 1930s-1950s.
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 1701 LC
- Dates of Creation1918-2001
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish German
- Physical Description28 boxes
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Rudolf Laban was a teacher, philosopher, dancer, choreographer, author, experimentor and the father of modern dance. He raised the status of dance as an art form and transformed the nature of dance scholarship. He established the discipline of dance analysis and invented a system of dance notation called Labanotation. He defined the idea of community dance and valued its contribution to man's wellbeing. He set out to reform the role of dance education, emphasising his belief that dance should be for all. He also laid the technical basis for professional movement and dance therapy and for the expressive movement training of actors. Laban was born in Bratislava but lived in many places throughout Europe during his life. He arrived in Britain in 1938 as a refugee from Nazi Germany and by 1948 had set up the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester. The Studio moved to Addlestone in Surrey in 1953, eventually becoming the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in 1975 and moving to New Cross, London. Rudolf Laban died in 1958. Laban the institution moved into its new building in Deptford, London in 2003 and merged with Trinity College of Music in 2005. An entry for Rudolf Laban can be found in the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,' Oxford University Press, 2004.
The Collection was originally catalogued whilst being sorted in preparation for being copied on to microfiche. As a result it was catalogued at item level only. The Collection is now being recatalogued according to ISAD(G) and sorted into the following series:
- A Photographs of Rudolf Laban and his associates, c1879-1958
- B Papers of and relating to Rudolf Laban and his associates, 1875-2000
- C Papers and publications of the Art of Movement Studio and the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, c1947-1996
- D Papers and publications of the Laban Art of Movement Guild, c1940-1985
- E Audio material, 1980-2004
- F Moving image material, 1980-1989
- G Slides, c1930-1965
Temporarily closed to the public.
Received from Dr Valerie Preston-Dunlop.
Other Finding Aids
The photographs in this Collection have been catalogued on to the Laban Archive catalogue. A card index is available in the Laban Library and Archive for the paper part of the Collection.
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
Microfiche is produced for the first two-thirds of the paper part of this Collection. Some items are on CD-R, VHS and DVD-R.
Description compiled by Jane Fowler, Archivist, Laban.
Conditions Governing Use
Photocopies can be made according to copyright law and depending on the condition of items. Please consult the Archivist.
Duplicate items have been weeded.
The Laban Collection was compiled by Dr Valerie Preston-Dunlop in the 1980s specifically for the use of students at Laban and dance researchers in the UK. It consists mainly of copies of material held by private individuals and public archive bodies in Europe. Some items are original.
This Collection is added to selectively on an irregular basis.
Location of Originals
The original items are held at various public and private archives throughout Europe. Where possible this information is included on the archive catalogue and the card index.
The following work uses the Laban Collection extensively: Preston-Dunlop, Valerie (1998). Rudolf Laban: An extraordinary life. London: Dance Books.