Explore the LODC

Language of Dance and
Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest

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 believes in the value of the arts, specifically dance, as a universal language. We are striving to create socially just learning environments that are reflective of the various community's demographics and that affirm and practice the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, self care and access through the various roles and responsibilities we have in all our work. Find our full DEI statement here.
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

Top Stories

LOD Teacher Trainer Dr. Teresa Heiland's new pedagogy textbook, Leaping into Dance Literacy through the Language of Dance®, is building some exciting buzz.

"...The focus on “playful learning” for all ages and populations, education of the whole person, and community building all seem particularly relevant to the world today and the needs of our students."
Read More

Revisiting LOD was refreshingly fun this fall and winter!

LOD Teacher Trainer Beth Megill brought our community this 3 session remote review course beginning in October and our LOD family from around the world zoomed on in for it.
Read More

Kick off 2024 with our Fab LODC Memberships

Our membership program is an excellent way to support and grow your use of the Language of Dance with access to Members-Only resources, discounts, and more!
Read More

Movement Alphabet ©1983

Developed and created by Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest, 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

Leah Bass-Baylis


About Leah

Cory-Jeanne Houck-Cox


About Cory-Jeanne

Shana Habel


About Shana

Nicholas Leichter

DEI Director

About Nicholas

Allegra Romita

Vice Chair

About Allegra

Rick Southerland

Development Director

About Rick

Corazón Tierra

Marketing Director

About Corazón

Please email info@lodcusa.org if you wish to contact one of our Teacher Trainers.

Dr. Tina Curran


Kerry DiLeonardo


Susan Gingrasso


Dr. Teresa L. Heiland

North Carolina

Jimmyle Listenbee


Beth Megill


Michael Richter


Heidi Wiess

picture of Ann Hutchinson Guest

Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest MBE

About Ann

Dr. Tina Curran

Advisory Council

About Tina

Heidi Wiess

Advisory Council

About Heidi

  • 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

LOD Benefits

Language of Dance helps to:

  • Inspire and organize ideas for dance-making and composition
  • Prepare improvisation and technique classes
  • Teach technique and coach performers
  • Notate choreography
  • Research dance and conduct thorough movement analysis
  • Connect with choreographers across the country and world
  • Organize community dances and games to connect participants
  • Develop creative, critical thinking, and problem solving skills

Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest and
LODC Origins

The Language of Dance® Approach grew out of Dr. 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 Dr. Tina Curran, co-Founder of the Language of Dance Center (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 Dr. Tina Curran and Heidi Wiess enabled Guest and others to raise the profile of this innovative and pioneering approach to teaching dance.

In 2022, Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest was appointed an Official Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her services to dance.