About

About Us

The Language of Dance® Center (LODC) is an educational service organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of movement literacy. Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest, Tina Curran, and Heidi Wiess founded the LODC, Inc. in July 1997. It received its 501(c)3 non-profit status in March 1999.

Developed by Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest, the Language of Dance® Approach links movement exploration with Motif symbols to build an explicit foundation of movement knowledge.

The participant-centered programs of study:

  • Emphasize opportunities for self-expression
  • Develop creative and critical thinking skills
  • Encourage learners to play active roles in the generation of ideas and the construction of knowledge.
The vision of the Language of Dance Center is to use the Language of Dance® Approach to further the exploration and understanding of movement, beginning with basic movement concepts, to make dance literacy an integrated practice in all aspects of dance.
Its mission is to advance and promote Language of Dance® (LOD) nationally and internationally as an essential element to empower educators, professionals, and the general public in their study, practice, appreciation, and research in dance.
  • Educate teachers, professionals, students, and the general public in the LOD Approach
  • Support practices and research that promote the spread of comprehensive dance literacy
  • Communicate and exchange ideas about LOD
  • Develop materials to support the implementation of LOD
  • Certify students, educators, and professionals in the LOD Approach

Origins

The Language of Dance® Approach grew out of Ann Hutchinson Guest’s work with children at the New York City 92nd Street Y.M.H.A. in the 1950’s and later with adults in London’s Teacher Training College of the Royal Academy of Dance in the 1970’s.

Guest, the primary developer of Rudolf Laban’s (1879-1958) system of Kinetography, which she coined “Labanotation”, began to use the notation symbols in a freer, more exploratory way while teaching children at the 92nd Street Y. She discovered that the physical coordination and focus required by structured notation limited the children’s freedom to move and be creative. This experience inspired her to research and identify the prime actions universal to all movement forms.

After consulting many lists and sources including the “Seven Movements in Dance” as taught in the Cecchetti Classical Ballet Method, Laban’s list of basic actions, and the writings of Margaret H’Doubler, she codified her definition of the ABC’s of movement, the Movement Alphabet.

In England, the need for a freer use of the Labanotation symbols arose when Valerie Preston taught Laban’s Educational Dance to physical education teachers, one of whom suggested the name, Motif Writing. This led to Preston’s development of the usage and to the subsequent publication in 1967 of her books on the subject entitled Readers in Kinetography Laban, Series B, Motif Writing for Dance.

While teaching a course at the Teacher Training College of the Royal Academy of Dance in 1971, Guest returned to her exploratory and creative use of the motif symbols. She recognized the need for complex movements to be deconstructed to their most basic elements with the ability to be built back up again. During this time, she codified the Language of Dance® work and produced the textbook entitled Your Move - A New Approach to the Study of Movement and Dance published in 1983. The second edition (2007), co-authored by Tina Curran, Executive Director of the LODC USA, is Your Move: The Language of Dance® Approach to the Study of Movement and Dance, available from Taylor & Francis.

The establishment of the Language of Dance Centre in London (1967) and the Language of Dance® Center (USA) in Connecticut (1997) with Tina Curran and Heidi Weiss enabled Guest and others to raise the profile of this innovative and pioneering approach to teaching dance.

Movement Alphabet

The Movement Alphabet are the prime actions ('verbs') and concepts of which movement is comprised. Each Movement Alphabet symbol is a Motif, a representation of an entire constellation of ideas in a single concept for the mover to interpret in a myriad of ways.

Download full Movement Alphabet with accurate symbol proportions

Download a pdf showing Motif Notations.


Any Action

Stillness

Any Flexion

Any Extension

Any Rotation

Any Traveling

Any Direction

Support

A Spring

Balance

Falling

Destination

Motion Toward

Motion Away

Still Shape

Relating

People

Dr. Tina Curran

Executive Director

About Tina

Susan Gingrasso

Associate Director

About Susan

Rachel Wurman

Administrative Associate

About Rachel

picture of Ann Hutchinson Guest

Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest

President, Co-Founder

About Ann

Dr. Tina Curran

Treasurer, Co-Founder

About Tina

Heidi Wiess

LODC Certification Specialist, Founding Member
  • Jack Anderson
  • Bruce Marks
  • Jill Beck
  • Kevin McKenzie
  • Shelley C. Berg
  • Madeleine M. Nichols
  • George Dorris
  • Tamara Nijinsky
  • Sali Ann Kriegsman
  • Maria Pascher Tallchief
  • Joan Kunsch
  • Paul Taylor
  • Yasuko Takunaga

Benefits

Pedagogical

  • Learner-centered instruction develops creative and critical thinking skills.
  • Symbol aided problem solving through movement promotes confidence, self-expression, and reflection.
  • Construction of understanding by each learner to speed ownership of knowledge.

Experiential

  • Application of LOD conceptual framework promotes dance literacy.
  • Physical experience of Movement Alphabet concepts acquires deeper significance when linked with the actual movement symbol.
  • Motif Notation reinforces the body-mind experience of the Movement Alphabet concepts.