Virtual Space Harmony:
The Value of Rudolf Laban's Theory of Space Harmony
as a Means to Navigate a Virtual Stage Environment (VSE)

Jean Denney, C.M.A.,

Robb E. Lovell and John D. Mitchell

Institute for Studies in the Arts


This paper represents an introduction to current research into Virtual State Environment (VSE) and the choreographic process at the Institute for Studies in the Arts. The VSE allows a mover to control changes in sound, lights, video, and/or graphics within a defined area of the stage. The dancer causes these changes by moving within the stage space to or through predetermined triggers established in the field of two separate video cameras.
The research project introduces the choreographer to principles of Space Harmony as developed by movement theorist Rudolf Von Laban as a means of conceptualizing and articulating about space. Given this new understanding and vocabulary it is hoped that the dance maker will be more capable of creative dialogue with the VSE. The project will analyze the impact of the movement theory on the choreographic process and collaboration. This system is also being used as a tool for teaching the theoretical material.


History of the VSE
The Virtual Stage Environment (VSE) is a system that has been developing at the Institute for Studies in the Arts at Arizona State University since 1990. Robb Lovell, Computer Scientist and Dancer, working with Dance Professor Rob Kaplan created the system to recognize the presence of a mover either in motion or stillness and send MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data to external electronic instruments. Composer John Mitchell joined with Robb Lovell bringing his experience with MIDI converted hardware sensors, both photo-electronic and pressure-sensitive. These sensors accessed pre-programmed sequences of notes from both samplers and analog synthesizers. The VSE has evolved into a complete interactive system for controlling music, video, graphics and lighting instruments.
The current system is divided between two computer architectures, a sensing computer and controller computer. The sensing computer is an Indigo 2XL with a Galileo frame grabber which obtains color video at the sustained rate of 30 frames per second. The host sensing computer processes image information from all three color planes. The two monochrome cameras input color information (one band each of red or green) so that information from both cameras can be used. The controller computer is fixed to a single platform, a Macintosh based computer (Quadra 840AV) with extra serial ports, sample cell instruments, 48 megs of memory, and MIDI interfaces. Sample cell synthesizers (Digi-design) and Timepiece MIDI interface (Mark of the Unicorn) are prominent parts of the system. A MIDI visual programming language called MAX (Opcode) is essential in the control of events from the Macintosh. The Macintosh computer provides a means for converting image processed events into musical responses.

Rudolph von Laban
During the early twentieth century in central Europe there was concern for the physical health of the general population as it related to new socialist ideology. Many believed that the health of a nation and its economy depended on the health and happiness of each individual worker. There were many theorists postulating on various esoteric and practical issues about the relationship between the mind and the body. Much experimentation and credence was given to alternative associations for the development of somatic skills in the context of spiritual and physical health (Green).
Rudolph von Laban (1879-1958) was swept into the frenzy of free thinkers in Munich in 1910. He traveled back and forth between Austria, Germany and France as an illustrator, painter, sculptor, dancer/choreographer and ultimately as a theoretician on the phenomena of human movement (Preson-Dunlop). Having associated with many agents of new philosophical and aesthetic thought before and between World Wars, his personal goal developed toward the creation of a universal language of human movement, and, "…the succession of dance to the position music had held in nineteenth-century culture, as the primary art. And the primacy of dance was a part of Laban's great project to regenerate life as a whole (Green, 103)." He developed two languages, one of exactitude and one of association. These modes of communication seem to be at odds, yet they work together honoring the spectrum of perception used in movement observation.
Labanotation is a system of symbols, used like notation for music, that notate what part of the body moves where and when. Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) uses a language of association, one in which the phenomena of a movement event is considered along with the subjectivity of the observer. The mover/observer's personal biases often color the connotative language used to translate the experience of the body to that of the mind during verbal communication. It is these metaphors that the Laban language/system has dissected into more objective terms. The observer's choices of these objective terms are assessed and included as qualifications of the observation. Laban Movement Analysis is about the relationship of a context with content. Laban's theories of movement analysis became a system that consists of a web of relationships between patterns of mind, body, and mind/body. As one uses the system it becomes difficult to divide any particular movement observation from the event in its entirety including the observer's experience. A conversation with a Movement Analyst about a movement event is like a conversation with a Physicist about quantum mechanics. The phenomena of human movement allows for only the approximation of truth or patterns of probability. Movement is flux; change is the only constant.

Virtual Space Harmony

Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and Choreography
Metaphor has been a time honored tool of the artist. LMA language has the potential to bring two individuals' perception of a given metaphor closer to the same meaning. LMA is broken down into several fundamental principles that are in constant relation to one another given four areas of importance. These four areas are the analytical tools of the movement analyst and are referred to as BESS: 1) the Body, 2) a mover's inner attitude toward the movement or Effort, 3) the body and inner attitude together as they form in relation to space or Shape, 4) and where the movement event happens or Space. In other terms, this language combines and attempts to answer the what, why, how and where of a movement event. We might also say that LMA addresses the Sensing (Body), Feeling (Effort), Intuiting (Shape), and Thinking (Space) aspects of a movement event. For the observer LMA offers a framework in which to explore specific details and/or weave general tendencies together. For the mover LMA offers inexhaustible options for movement exploration, motivation, and manipulation of creative concepts. For the choreographer it offers a means of assessment and articulation about specific dance making needs and desires and a plethora of options for craft development.
Some fundamental guiding principles of the LMA system are oppositions or paradoxes like: Mobility/Stability, Exertion/Recuperation, Expanding/Condensing, Function/Expression, Gathering/Scattering, Initiation/Sequencing, Macro/Micro points of view, Kinesphere/Dynamosphere.
The most useful division for the context of this research in the fundamental division of the LMA system is into Kinesphere and Dynamosphere. Kinesphere is the combination of Body and Space. Specifically, it is a spatial structure, the volume around the mover's body into which they can reach and explore without changing their place (Dell, Crow, Bartenieff 5). If the mover does step, their Kinesphere goes with them. The Dynamosphere is the combination of Effort and Shape. This structure is built upon the mover's intuition, intention, expression and persuasion and is boundaried by empirical limits of smell, taste, touch or hearing (Laban 36).
Space Harmony theory resides in the realm of the Kinesphere. It is an area of LMA devoted to defining, organizing and experiencing space. The concepts and language of this portion of the system are directly applicable to communicating about virtual space, like that of the VSE. Laban's, "…vision was geometrical and physical as well as imaginative and organic (Green 103)," with Space Harmony the least metaphorical position of the system—abstract in concept and real in experience—it makes possible the congruence and/or consistency for dialogue with VSE. The definitions, associations and relationships of space have metaphorical and emotional meaning with layered with the other areas of the system. However, used in isolation Space Harmony lends itself to the hard language of the computer. This area of LMA answers questions about the where of an event and is primarily about the thinking part of the dance/movement process for the maker/performer.
At the Institute for Studies in the Arts the Virtual Stage Environment offers an opportunity for the choreographer to collaborate with a system based in exactitude. It provides a challenge to a mover's understanding of how much to manipulate the flux, relationship and constant change present during the creative process of dance making. The triggers of the system rely on the mover's precision in and understanding of the dance space, the invisible range of the video cameras. The first question and concern of the mover is about where. In LMA terms this means Space.
Kinesthetic expression, the raw physical material of choreography, converges with hardware and software of the computer differently than the process of choreographer to dancer. The collaboration between choreographer and computer requires that the computer respond with some flexibility during both the creative process and performance. The frustration for the dance maker collaborating with VSE comes from not knowing how this system works, what it does and how to make use of it. How does a choreographer make use of a VSE outside of simple movement initiated events? How can the dance maker begin a dialogue with the computer? The engineer works digitally and can track where a dancer moves, but not how a dancer moves. If, with the complexity and flux of movement performance, a dancer deflects from the computed given, all calculations must be re-worked or the performer is restricted to absolute consistency. Changes to the computer environment are often slow and create temptations for the choreographer to limit options or become exclusive in their creative process.
Choosing a place to begin is difficult. However, LMA questions the perception and definition of place, space, area, etc., and continually offers choices for the mover based on those definitions. Progression from the starting place for a choreographer/performer can develop on many levels given attention to any one section of the LMA system; Body, Effort, Shape or Space.

Space Harmony
Principles of Space Harmony are indicators of the structure of space and its impact on the body in movement patterns. Space is not static but full of tensions, pulls or energies that exist for the mover because of the experience and specificity of the movement itself. The word 'harmony' is appropriate as the concepts of this theory follow a Newtonian logic, that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. As Laban observed human movement and applied his general principles to space he saw a parallel between the structure of human movement and structures in nature, specifically landscapes and crystalline forms (Laban 9). The common designs were geometric. Laban moved in each of these crystalline, geometric forms and defined human movement potentials and limits for each. He developed exercises that related to each crystalline form progressively. These were to be practiced with the addition of the other layers of the system, namely Body, Effort and Shape. These exercises are called Scales. As the mover practices, they experience not only space, but the full potential of physical, emotional and spiritual expression. When scales are performed in their fullest the movement experiences a sense of harmony and energetic efficiency that allows them to literally be supported and motivated by space.
Scales are organized by dimensions, planes and diagonals. For each of these specific areas in space there are affinities of Body, Effort and Shape. For our purposes, Space has been the main focus. Scales are progressive building from simple to more complex structures and experiences in general space. While LMA shares the language of geometry, some definitions have special meaning within this system.
Labanotation symbols for spatial directions provide a score for the mover, a visual aid that is tangible. The matrix of Space Harmony is built first upon the dimensions, then the planes (vertical, saggital, horizontal), and diagonals. While there exists an infinite number of rays or directions in space that pass through the body center, the three primary pulls of the dimensions relate to geometry and boundary human movement.
Movement patterns progress passing first through the center of the mover (Dimensional and Diagonal Scales), then deflect from the diagonals around the mover's center, also the center of the crystalline form (Axis, Transverse Scales) or move along the periphery of the crystalline form (Primary, Girdle Scales) (Dale, Crow, Bartenieff 5-15).
The mover displaces space and in so doing leaves a trace form that reveals a movement pattern indigenous to each crystalline form (Laban 26). Trace forms are visualized by the student of Space Harmony in an effort to be specific and consistent about where they are in space and how they are in space. Not only is the design of the trace form different in each crystalline form but changes in the relationship of Body, Effort and Shape can be recognized by comparing one structure's movement to another.
The 27 Directional Symbols:
Black is low, Dotted is middle and Striped is high.
Rectangle is place middle, triangle is side, slanted box is diagonal or
point of horizontal plane, sectioned rectangle is either forward or backward.
The symbols point out directions by their shape and indicate level by their shading designs.

Directional Symbols of the Cube: slanted symbols indicate diagonals

Directional Symbols of the Icosahedron:
(note there are no diagonals)
The first line - points of the sagittal plane.
The second line - points of the horizontal plane.
The third line - points of the vertical plane.

The first Scale is the Dimensional Scale which moves along each of the three dimensions: up/down along the vertical dimension; side open/side across along the horizontal dimension; forward/backward along the sagittal dimension. The trace form creates a cross axes of the dimensions that when connected creates the crystalline form of the octahedron with eight sides.

The second experience in Space Harmony theory is cycling in the planes. While not a Scale, the experience is the first and smallest deflection from the pure dimension. The vertical plane is created by a primary tension pulling in the vertical dimension with a secondary tension pulling in the horizontal. These unequal pulls create a surface like that of a door. Likewise in the horizontal plane the horizontal dimension is primary and the sagittal dimension secondary creating a table surface. The sagittal plane is like a wheel with the sagittal dimension as primary and the vertical dimension as secondary. The twelve points of the planes are related to a more complex crystalline form and clarity of their whereabouts is fundamental

The second Scale is the Diagonal Scale. This Scale takes place inside the crystalline form of the Cube. The Cube represents a jump in this theory from one and two dimensional movement to three dimensional movement. The deflection from one pure dimension becomes an equal combination of movement into all three dimensions simultaneously. The Cube's infrastructure is the cross axes of four diagonals that radiate through the center of the Kinesphere. It has six surfaces or sides. The Scale is characterized by movement along each of these diagonals that returns to and re-initiates from center. For example, the diagonal from right-forward-high to left-low-back first combines the side open-forward-high directions of the horizontal, saggital, and vertical dimensions in equal proportions then shifts to the exact and equal opposing end of the same combination of dimensions along the diagonal.

The remaining Scales are all built upon the four diagonals. The Axis, Transverse, Primary, and Girdle Scales all move within the Icosahedron. The Icosahedron is supported by the cross axes of the planes and has twenty surfaces. The movement is complex with the Axis and Transverse Scales having transverse pathways (in between the periphery and the center of the Kinesphere) and the Primary and Girdle Scales having peripheral pathways. Qualitative aspects of the movement along these paths can very by way of an experience of the tension the crystalline form generates: central (from the core of the body), transverse (around the body's center through the space) or peripheral (in relation from the body's core to the edge of the geometric form).

The Axis Scales connect the points of the planes through which each diagonal passes creating polar triangles, three points for each end of the diagonal. The Axis Scales run along the diagonal without the mover ever extending into the diagonal. A Transversal is the movement from a point of one plane to the point of another by passing through the missing plane. The tendency is to move toward the plane that is missing (Dell, Crow, Bartenieff 9-10). The pattern for the Axis and Transverse Scales is to move from Vertical to Sagittal to Horizontal planes. The Axis Scales, four in all, are each a cluster of six consecutive Transversals all deflected from the same diagonal.

The Transverse Scales (A and B) are loops of 12 consecutive transversals, that sequence in the same way, with other pairs of consecutive transversals deflected from the same diagonal in patterns that alternate between three of the four diagonals. The missing diagonal is called the volink of the Scale (Laban 161).

Girdles are essentially rings that use all the points of the planes within the Icosahedron that do not make up the polar triangles of a diagonal. They circle around the diagonal they deflect in the opposite direction. The Primary Scale combines the Axis and Girdle Scales that deflect the same diagonal. Both of these Scales move along the periphery of the Icosahedron, while the Axis and Transverse Scales meander within the Icosahedron.

Answering System Questions with LMA
These concrete, theoretical details give the mover both a conceptual and physical experience of invisible space. Within the VSE a trigger can be placed anywhere along the grid created by the two video cameras, X and Y. The intersection of X and Y creates Z. Already Space Harmony theory assists the choreographer. The intersecting grid of the video cameras is understood as the three dimensions with X as the horizontal dimension, Y as the sagittal dimension and Z as the vertical dimension.
Triggers can be placed anywhere inside the stage space. Applying Space Harmony concepts may lead to more purposeful and articulate placement of triggers rather than an arbitrary placement. Using LMA to analyze movement can determine in which geometric volume the movement is active. Whether improvisation or set choreography, an LMA analysis of general space gives the dance maker a starting point for understanding spatial dialogues with the VSE and options for progress or change.
Two types of triggers available in the VSE are presence and tracking. Presence triggers are areas of space, usually small, designed to respond only when the mover occludes the space they are fixed in. A tracking trigger follows a mover along a path, a larger, logical surface, in the stage space. The two kinds of triggers can be combined to cooperatively give feedback to the mover.
The crystalline forms and their theoretical relationship allow the mover to gain consistency by way of definition and specificity. The two different triggers have a relationship to this progression and the associated movement qualities affined with the Scales. Task oriented, reflexive, and reactive movement that is goal oriented or defensive most often occurs in Octahedron and/or Planes. More expressive movement, requiring intuition, persuasion, or coping, most often occurs in the Icosahedron. This is because there is a progression of geometric complexity requiring greater degrees of mind/body integration. When getting to a point in space is the focus of the event (Octahedron) a presence trigger might be more appropriate. When moving through the space and around center is important (Icosahedron) a tracking trigger might be most appropriate.
This is the kind of speculation our research is generating. The sophistication of each kind of trigger has been examined and tested challenging the LMA system, the VSE, and the dance makers.

Site Selection, Participants and Research
Our study involves the patient cooperation of four dance makers enrolled at Arizona State University. All are female, two are graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts program and two are undergraduate veterans of several choreography classes. The idea to study the collaboration between VSE and the choreographer grew out of a graduate residency in choreography awarded by the Institute to explore the VSE. The exploration and product was analyzed using LMA and initiated questions about the limits and uses of the VSE in general.
The residency made use of the Diagonal Scale as a means to test camera calibrations before each working session. The consistency of the mover as the result of applied theory became a logical link between the VSE and the mover's perception of virtual space. The presence triggers were placed accordingly and the mover could manipulate the triggers accurately. It occurred to those of us working on the project to test other Scales and theory as a means for dialogue that more efficiently bridged the gap between the metaphor of dance and the linear demands of the computer.
The current research grant from the Institute for Studies in the Arts is for one year and began in September of 1994. Our sessions started with traditional teaching of the Space Harmony theory. The execution of the theory was tested by performing Scales in the VSE using both triggered sound response and simultaneous graphic pictorials. These sessions were also video taped for a more comprehensive analysis. To date all four participants have completed the Dimensional Scale and Diagonal Scale and some have performed an Axis scale. Theory of Icosahedron has not been completed.
After the Scales of the Icosahedron have been performed and recorded, each participant will create a movement study or piece of choreography. The research team will analyze each dance maker's process, their use and execution of Space Harmony theory, and the work itself to see how it is they dialogue with the VSE toward their desired product. This paper discusses the discoveries and questions generated by the exploration of the Dimensional and Diagonal Scales. The testing of the Space Harmony theory uses only sound and graphic modes of response from the VSE. The dance makers can choose to manipulate sound, lights, graphics and/or video via the specifications of triggers as they begin their individual projects.

Effort/Space Affinities and Sound Feedback
One question that came out of the initial residency was what kind of sound sample to use. In the Laban system there exists affinities of Space and Effort. This theory provided design ideas for sound samples. Effort is a translation of the German word antrieb which literally means, "drive on." Effort is a section of the LMA system and refers to the mover's intention, the emotional motivation for the action. By affinity Laban means that there is a resonance between the place in Space and the mover's emotional motivation for the action or about the action (Laban 27, 31). Hours of observation yielded six simple Efforts. Like everything in the system, opposites (disaffinities) and odd combinations are also possible. Movement has two general tendencies, functional and expressive. Affinities of Effort and Space are the same regardless of whether the movement is functional or expressive. Efforts grow in their complexity within the LMA system in the same manner as Space. The complexity and phenomena of movement most often yields Effort combinations. Effort is most visible to the observer at the moment of change, when the mover's intention is made manifest through physical initiation and change in the Effort load, or, as in a recipe, an extra helping of one or more ingredients of Weight, Space, Time or Flow. Combinations of two Efforts are called States and combinations of three Efforts are called Drives (Dell 108-116).
Flow is thought of as a baseline for movement because as living beings we are in constant flux. Flow as an attitude can be either Free or Bound (Dell 13-20). It is difficult to remove flow from movement, so it is often referred to as flux when other Efforts are present with greater intensity or importance. While it is not ignored it may be de-emphasized as when performing the Diagonal Scale with Effort affinities.
Beginning with the Dimensions there most often occurs an attitude of lightness with the up of the vertical dimension and strength with down. Other less implicit terms are decreasing gravity and increasing gravity, respectively. There is an attitude of directness with side across movement of the horizontal dimension and one of indirectness with side open movement. Or the attitude is one of focused or multi-focused, perhaps omnidirectional. The attitude moving forward is one of sustainment with quickness back or deceleration and acceleration. Weight Effort is affined with the vertical Dimension, Space Effort with the horizontal Dimension, and Time Effort with the saggital Dimension.
In the Cube the Diagonal Scale is practiced with Effort affinities (Bartenieff 32-33, 58). Three Efforts combine along each Diagonal so that the mover's attitude becomes an Action Drive. The eight possible Effort combinations are called Basic Effort Actions. These Actions are paired along each of the four diagonals and are: Float/Punch, Glide/Slash, Dab/Wring, and Flick/Press. Each Basic Effort Action is an equal combination of the single Efforts as affined with each Dimension and combine in equal proportions to one another. For example, Float combines the lightness of the up in the vertical dimension with the indirectness of side open in the horizontal dimension with sustainment of forward in the sagittal dimension. The Diagonal Scale is traditionally practiced with these specific attitudes to encourage and direct an experience of the dynamics of the space. It is a layering of the Dyanmosphere on top of the Kinesphere. The other Scales all have Effort affinities that increase in complexity in an order like that governing Space Harmony theory (Dell, Crow, Bartenieff 17-18).

Tracking Triggers and Sound Feedback
In our research we decided to set sound samples for the Dimensions knowing that all of the progressions in Space Harmony geometry are based on the Dimensions. Likewise, the choice of trigger was scrutinized with this in mind. We chose to use a tracking trigger to explore the Dimensions, understanding them as a range of possible movement bounded by two extremes, high and low or light and strong, in the vertical. John Mitchell chose three different timbres for each of the Dimension and gave them a range of resonance using either time (duration) or pitch as the variable to indicate movement.
For the vertical Dimension a piano sample was used to track movement with a variation in pitch from low affined with strength at the deep end of the Dimension and high affined with the reach of the Dimension. A horn sample was used for the sagittal Dimension with a variation in duration as affined with the deceleration forward and acceleration backward. A string sample was used for the horizontal Dimension with variation in both pitch and duration with pizzicato as affined with directness of side across and low, bowed samples affined with indirectness of side open.

Performing the Scales in the VSE Using Sound Feedback
The participants were taught the Dimensional Scale and theory in the Media Lab of the Institute. They were then introduced to the VSE and practiced their Scales triggering sound feedback. To ensure that the system would track movement accurately, each participant dressed in white to match the environment. A black glove was worn to give color contrast for field tracking. The Scale was performed with either the right or left hand leading the body through the space. The first exercise for Robb E. Lovell was to define the reach space of each participant for their respective heights are different. Each participant used the theory layered with changes in Body to determine their limits within the given Dimensions.
The sound feedback gave aural cues as to when each participant was out of their pre-determined range or outside of the spatially determined Dimension, for example moving forward into the sagittal plane while attempting to move only along the vertical dimensions. Sound feedback helped establish consistency in the performance of the Scale. The change in the sound sample encouraged an understanding that Effort is a continuum guided by space, and that gradual change was happening.
Each participant was asked to perform the Scale two times, once concentrating on spatial accuracy, the pull of the dimension, and a second time with an emphasis on Effort affinities by generating an attitude toward the space or allowing the space to affect their attitude.
Participants found it difficult to exist in a single Dimension as a three dimensional being full of movement potential. The experience was described as "One-pointed, clinical, dry, singular, ego-less and uncomfortable." As observer and analyst I saw that the Effort was diminished. My personal experience with the VSE showed diminished Effort and pre-occupation with Space (Denney). Perhaps the sound feedback was perceived as a correct or incorrect judgment for the proper execution of the Scale rather than an indicator of space. There was a definite decrease in Effort when the tracking trigger produced simultaneous graphics displays of the movement event.

Simultaneous Graphics Feedback
Another option within the VSE is to use a tracking trigger to literally draw the trace form of the movement event. Having seen the line drawings used as models of Space Harmony Scales (like those in this paper), the participants in this project were not limited to a visualization of the trace form in order to remember where to go when performing a Scale. After experiencing the Dimensional Scale using sound feedback we added the simultaneous graphics to produce the trace form for each event.
As researcher, I was delighted and amazed that the pictures the participants drew were the trace forms I had studied and visualized as a traditional student of LMA. The participants were not as pleased. Their reactions were mixed. There was satisfaction in performing, but more delight from the creation of a residual product that was not video. Rather their experience was transformed and interpreted by the computer. They were alarmed at the inaccuracy of their execution of the Scale. It was not perfect. There was an element of Laban philosophy that was missing in their self-assessment, one of appreciation for process and the approximation of something so mutable as movement.
As researcher I was curious to see if accuracy was greater with a concentration on Space or with the full embodiment of the Effort while performing the Scale. The results were similar regardless of the concentration during the performance of the Dimensional Scale, but the way the experience was described was different. Accuracy was only slightly better with a concentration on Space. Effort seemed to give more meaning to the experience which confirms the value of Laban's system in this context. While attention can be given to the Space, movement always also contains feeling and intuition, relationship to self and to environment. (Effort/Shape or Dynamosphere). The web of relationships of BESS is what gives meaning/metaphor to the movement for both the performer and observer. Experiencing Effort while also feeling Space provides movement that is active in both Kinesphere and Dynamosphere. This kind of conscious movement satisfies the expressive needs of the dancer/performer and the functional needs of the collaborating computer. There exists the potential for twofold accuracy, metaphorical and linear, personal and computed.

Dimensional Scale Diagonal Scale
front view side view

Discoveries and System Problems with the Diagonal and Axis Scales
The participants are progressing through the performance of the Scales at different rates. All of the participants have performed the Diagonal Scale which is traditionally performed with Action Drives. It is a much more dynamic experience for the mover than the Dimensional Scale. The trace form for the Diagonal Scale is not modeled in traditional literature. Our participants used both sound feedback and simultaneous graphics in the performance of the Diagonal Scale.
The trace form looks like a blossom, a lily. There was a greater fascination with this trace form perhaps because there is no model to compare it to. There remained some humorous disappointment about the accuracy with comments like, "I'm not very deep," meaning they did not fulfill the range of the sagittal dimension, a wiggly sense of Glide or a consistent little hook on a Flick. There was recognition of personal preference for dimensions and/or individual Effort Action Drives. The inaccuracy of the right-forward-high diagonal was labeled good. Why? Part of the Action Drive Float is an indirect attitude toward Space so it would make sense that the trace form meandered in that quadrant of the Scale. This kind of confirmation seemed to please the participants and confirm the differences in the Dimensional Scale and Diagonal Scale as growing from and affinity with function toward expression. It also confirmed the progressive nature of Space Harmony as moving toward complexity.
Two minor system problems emerged as the Diagonal Scale was performed. The three dimensional form of the body occludes the tracking of the black glove when the mover reaches into the right-back-low diagonal. This causes the graphic to jump. The other problem was sound feedback.
It became difficult to distinguish the different timbres and variables for each dimension as they combined in the diagonal with equal volume. It seems the timbre of the sample selections resonate in such a way as to give one sound dominance to the human listener. The changes in timbre and variation helped the mover hear, as before, where and when they had deviated from the prescribed theory, that is moved more in one dimension than the other two. This discovery became particularly important as one participant moved on to the Axis Scale.
Moving out of the crystalline form of the Cube and into the Icosahedron shifts the movement pattern so that the path and spatial tension change significantly. The first two Scales, Dimensional and Diagonal, have a pattern that can be described as stabile. The mover exerts from center and recuperates at center. In the Icosahedron the movement patterns evolve around center and are experienced as more mobile. The exertion and recuperation waves in varying patterns that deflect diagonals or that fall and fly through the planes.
The sound feedback is organized by tracking the dimension with extremes in duration or pitch. All three dimensions are tracked simultaneously therefore, the unequal pulls of the planes should yield a sound that is unequal, one sample louder or more dominant than the other. Again the changes in timbre with variations of pitch and duration were not as audible to the mover as in the other Scales. Perhaps this is not a problem.
The complexity of the crystalline form increases when moving in the Icosahedron specifically, therefore the sound feedback and graphic should be as equally as complex, even puzzling. In order to move along to more research in the Icosahedron specifically, different sound samples will be tested. The harmony of the sound feedback perhaps cannot be heard in isolation (a single Transversal) or is minimized in the Axis Scale. The full movement of the Icosahedron has not been tested/recorded. The "A" Scale and "B" Scale have not been heard, for example. This discovery presents a challenge to the system. Can the system provide sound feedback that both matches Space Harmony theory and is audible to the mover?


Rudolf Laban

This research is an exploration of the use of LMA as part of the choreographic process when collaborating with the VSE. This paper introduces Laban's theory of Space Harmony, the definitions of spatial structures, geometry, pathways, tensions and related Efforts, and its value in bridging the gap between the Dynamosphere and Kinesphere. The Dynamosphere, in this context, can represent the emotional, metaphorical world of dance making and performance that is in flux. The Kinesphere, in this context, can represent the linear, consistent data present in spatial structures and collected by the Virtual Stage environment. Both Kinesphere and Dynamosphere are in constant relationship. By entering one -sphere of the system, it is possible to construct the whole crystalline form.
We know through our research that the VSE does accurately track the where of the movement event, but can it track the how of the movement event? If the mover/observer uses Laban Movement Analysis as a tool in the process, the VSE does track how the mover is moving by integrating information through an LMA lens, relating Kinesphere to Dynamosphere. It would seem possible then that the informed dance maker could take the raw physical material of an improvisation, for example, analyze and relate it to principles of Space Harmony and direct, manipulate or otherwise design the triggers of the Virtual Stage Environment without sacrificing the flux of the movement event. This is what is meant by Virtual Space Harmony.

Works Cited

Bartenieff, Irmgard with Dori Lewis. Body Movement: Coping with the Environment. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1980.

Dell, Cecily, revised by Aileen Crow and Irmgard Bartenieff. Space Harmony: Basic Terms. New York: Dance Notation Bureau Press, 1977.

Dell, Cecily. A Primer for Movement Description: Using Effort-Shape and Supplementary Concepts. New York: Dance Notation Bureau Press, 1977 revised.

Denney, Jean. "felix culpa: vERTICAL hOLD, A Laban Analysis of a Choreographic Project," diss., Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies (NYC), 1994.

Green, Martin. Mountain of Truth. Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1986.

Laban, Rudolf. Choreutics. Annotated and edited by Lisa Ullmann. London: Macdonald & Evans, 1966.

Preston-Dunlap, Valerie. "The Making of Modern Dance: Part I Rudolf Laban; The Seminal Years in Munich 1910-1914." Dance Theatre Journal 7:3.

Martin, Randy. Performance as a Political Act: The Embodied Self. New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1990.