Leeds University Library

Rudolf Laban Collections

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Special Collections has two archives of material related to the choreographer, teacher, and educator Rudolf Laban (1879–1958).

Laban was born in Bratislava in 1879, and from 1910 to 1936 he taught and researched movement and dance in Switzerland and Germany.

After one of his dance works was banned under the Nazi regime, Laban escaped Germany in 1938 and spent his last twenty years in England and Wales. Laban no longer worked as a choreographer but continued his teaching and research into dance and movement. With industrialists, he pioneered a new approach to working in factories based on his ideas of movement.

His work laid the foundations for Laban Movement Analysis and Labanotation.

You can find out more about Laban

Laban Archives in the John Hodgson Collection

The John Hodgson Collection includes materials relating to Laban or to his students, archives about the historical context of Laban’s life and work, and documents from Hodgson‘s research trips.

John Hodgson was a lecturer in theatre studies at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield. He began collecting archives relating to Laban in 1964 and continued until his death in 1997.

The collection is arranged into archival documents, photographs and artworks, journals, audio cassettes, books and index cards.

The collection contains:

  • correspondence between Laban, his family and friends
  • programmes and flyers advertising his works
  • articles by and about Laban and publications referring to dance
  • original artworks by Laban
  • photographs of him, his family and associates
  • Hodgson’s research notes and indexes
  • Transcripts and tapes of Hodgson’s interviews with Laban’s friends and pupils

Laban Archives compiled by Dick McCaw

The Laban Collection contains archives collected by Dick McCaw, a senior lecturer in drama and theatre.

There are journals and other publications relating to Laban Movement Analysis and oral history recordings with teachers of the technique and its practitioners.

The collection also includes some notebooks, correspondence and other archives of Geraldine Stephenson, a dance teacher, tutored by Laban.

Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture

The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture includes a file entitled Laban, Dance and Movement. This contains two papers by Roderyk Lange on movement and dance in which he refers to Laban’s theory of movement.