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, Dr. 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 Language of Dance Approach to Dance Pedagogy introduces literacy as an integral part of dance teaching and learning.

  • Using the LOD Movement Alphabet and corresponding Motif symbols links the physical experience of moving with cognitive and affective understanding. 
  • The LOD Literacy Processes of Sensing, Observing, Reflecting, Identifying, Interpreting, Notating, and Creating embedded in this pedagogy make possible the entire practice of exploring cognitive, social-emotional, and physical experiences of dancing in a concept-based teaching approach.
  • The Literacy Processes support learning and applying the Language of Dance Approach to dance technique; composition; history, culture, and context; and analysis.
  • This process of weaving movement exploration, meaning making, concept investigation, and notation with learners leads to engagement with language learning that is geared to serve every dancers' needs.
The Language of Dance Center is wholeheartedly committed to equity and inclusion. We are actively engaged in ongoing discussions and taking the steps to improve our policies, our coursework, and our publications, ensuring that Motif Notation and dance can be enjoyed by everyone.
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.
Our Mission, at the Language of Dance Center, is to empower educators, artists, researchers, and other professionals in their study and use of Motif Notation. We make dance experiences available to people of all ages, genders, cultural background, and abilities through the use of the inclusive Language of Dance Approach.
  • 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

Explore the LODC


Top Stories

New Product Alert! Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest's out-of-print Dancer's Glancer is back and better than ever.

The LODC is proud to announce our newest publication Dancer's Glancer 2nd Edition: A Quick Guide to Labanotation.
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Brand New 4th Ed. Movement Alphabet Posters Now Available

New and improved with even thicker symbols that can be seen from greater distances in the studio, we are proud to unveil our newest and most fabulous poster yet: the 4th Edition Movement Alphabet Posters, available in 2 great studio sizes.
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Brand new Benefits added for our Membership Program!

The LODC is revamping our membership program and adding a slew of exciting, new benefits!
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Announcing LOD Coaching Services!

The Language of Dance Center is proud to now offer Coaching Services. Book a session with one of our outstanding Language of DanceĀ® Certified Teacher Trainers for either an Asynchronous Score Check and Lesson Feedback OR for One-On-One Coaching.
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Movement Alphabet ©1983

The Movement Alphabet ©1983 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 notated material.

Any Action




Any Flexion

Any Rotation

Any Extension

Any Traveling

Any Direction



A Spring


Motion Toward

Motion Away


Still Shape


Susan Gingrasso

Executive Director

About Susan

Rachel A. Wurman

General Manager

About Rachel

Dr. Teresa L. Heiland

Interim President

About Teresa

Michael Richter

Interim Secretary

About Michael

Dr. Tina Curran


About Tina

Beth Megill

Interim Board Member

About Beth

Dr. Tina Curran


About Tina

Susan Gingrasso


About Susan

Dr. Teresa L. Heiland

North Carolina

About Teresa

Beth Megill


About Beth

Michael Richter


About Michael

picture of Ann Hutchinson Guest

Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest

Co-Founder, Advisory Council

About Ann

Dr. Tina Curran

Co-Founder, Advisory Council

About Tina

Heidi Wiess

Co-Founder, Advisory Council
  • 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



  • 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.


  • Application of LOD conceptual framework promotes dance literacy.
  • Physical experience of Movement Alphabet ©1983 concepts acquires deeper significance when linked with the actual movement symbol.
  • Motif Notation reinforces the body-mind experience of the Movement Alphabet concepts.


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 ©1983.

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.