Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Laban Movement Analysis

Our seminar speaker, Margot Apostolos, mentioned Laban in her discussion of gesture and dance. Along these lines, I took a closer look at Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). What's interesting about Laban Movement Analysis is that unlike our earlier posts on classifying gesture into iconic gestures, emblems, etc., this approach relies more on understanding movement as a continually changing, but orderly and intentionally sequenced series of gesture elements. In particular, this approach looks not only at the elements of the gesture (i.e. Shape) but also the way in which the elements are put together (i.e. Effort).

Thus, two gestures that very similar in structure (an example on Wikipedia is punching someone in anger versus reaching for a glass) can be differentiated by the intensity or Effort of the gesture.

In contrast to simply categorizing gestures, I think that this form of gesture analysis also leaves plenty of room for emotion as a driving tool for gesture, which is something that both the animators and dancer at our seminar presentation stressed.

Synthesis and Acquisition of Laban Movement Analysis Qualitative Parameters for Communicative Gestures
Liwei Zhao, Norman I. Badler


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