And on to Creekside …

In this the last post in our series celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, we take a look at items in the archive illustrating the development of the Laban Building at Creekside.

In 1997 an international architectural competition was launched to find an architect to design a new building for what was then the Laban Centre (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance). The Centre had been based at Laurie Grove in New Cross, SouthEast London since 1976. But the Centre had run out of space and needed world class facilities to match its world class status as the largest training school for contemporary dance in the world at that time. Out of a field of one hundred and twenty competing architects, six were shortlisted.

The Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron were chosen as the winners.

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Photograph of architectural model of the Laban Building at Creekside by Herzog & de Meuron, Scale 1:200, c1999. RefNo: LA/D/14/6

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Photograph of deconstructed architectural model of the Laban Building at Creekside by Herzog & de Meuron, Scale 1:200, c1999. RefNo: LA/D/14/6

A funding application was made to the Arts Council which provided half the funds needed to build on a brown field site in Deptford in Lewisham, an area rich in history. See a section of an historical  Ordnance Survey map, from the National Library of Scotland, of the area from 1898 here.

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Front cover of the Summary document,  Volume 1 of the Stage 3 Submission by the Laban Centre London, Lottery Bid No. 98-506, June 1999, RefNo: LA/D/6/3/13

The new building was planned to be a flagship ‘which will drive the regeneration of the Deptford Creekside locality. The new LCL [Laban Centre London] will provide cultural and community facilities of significant value to the residents of Deptford and the surrounding area.’ (Lottery Bid No. 98-506, Laban Centre London p.2)

The full application document included volumes on the design of the new building, arts and educational activities, public benefit, financial viability, management and marketing, along with weighty appendices including plans of the new building.

 

 

 

 

The funding bid was successful and work began on the new building in 2000.

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Laban Centre staff visiting the building site of the Laban Building at Creekside, c2000. Photographer unknown. RefNo: D4/2008/25/29/1

By October 2002 staff and students were able to move in.

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Photograph of members of Laban staff, including Reg Fitch and Anthony Bowne, in the new Laban Building at Creekside, c2002. Photographer unknown. RefNo: D4/2008/25/31/1

On 5 February 2003 our new building was offically opened by the Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

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Photograph of an invitation and programmes for the official opening celebration of the new Laban Building at Creekside, Deptford, SE London, February 2003. RefNo: LA/2004/49

Performances at the official opening ceremony were given in the new Bonnie Bird Theatre by Transitions Dance Company, CandoCo Dance Company, Ballett Frankfurt and The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs. Recordings of these performances can be viewed in the Laban Library and Archive.

On 11 October 2003, Laban, now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, won the prestigious Stirling Architecture Prize for its new building at Creekside. The Prize was announced at a glittering awards ceremony held at Explore@Bristol, the science centre.

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Photograph of an invitation and menu card for the Stirling Prize dinner held on 11 October 2003. RefNo: D4/2005/22/1/6

 And in 2005, Laban merged with Trinity College of Music to form Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the UK’s only conservatoire of music and contemporary dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Brinson: “if I have looked into dance I have looked into life”

“I thought to myself, if I have looked into dance I have looked into life”

Note written by Peter Brinson, D12/2003/16/42/7, c1990s

So wrote Peter Brinson in the 1990s, near the end of a career dedicated to dance. But who was Brinson and why is he important to the history of the Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance?

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Peter Brinson giving a speech at Graduation Day at the Laban Centre (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban). With Mirella Bartrip and Sir Walter Bodmer. Undated. Photographer: Tony Nandi. RefNo: D11/A/10/2/42/2/1

Brinson was born in Llandudno on 1920. After serving in the Second World War he took first-class honours at Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He then became Director of Research at the Film Centre in the early 1950s. It was around this time that he saw ‘The Green Table’, a ballet by Kurt Jooss, being performed at the Oxford Playhouse, and ‘Les Sylphides’ performed by what was then Sadlers Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, and became captivated by dance. He took two ballet classes a week for the next three years and regularly saw all the repertory of the Sadlers Wells Ballet thus building a knowledge of classical ballet. He began reviewing ballet performances for ‘The New Statesman’ , eventually becoming dance critic for ‘The Times’, the ‘Observer’, the ‘Sunday Times’ and the ‘Financial Times’ whilst also giving lectures on ballet and dance at Oxford, Cambridge and London universities. He also co-authored a book ‘The Choreographic Art’ with Peggy van Praagh which was the only book of its time to combine the history and practice of choreography [copies are available to view in the Laban Library and Archive]. He also wrote ‘Background to European Ballet’ which was the result of research funded by the Council of Europe and the British Council.

Brinson’s dance lectures for the Oxford University Extramural Department developed into lecture demonstrations where he would take dancers with him to demonstrate ballet technique and dance excerpts from classical ballets. Around this time Brinson was asked by the newly formed Gulbenkian Foundation, a charity focused on fostering knowledge and raising the quality of life of people throughout the fields of the arts, charity, science and education, to look at how the Foundation might help dance in the UK. He suggested that a small touring unit be formed that would tour nationally taking ballet into the towns and villages of the UK. He was invited to apply, successfully, for a grant for such a unit, and thus ‘Ballet for All’ was born in 1964.

 

Ballet for All developed a formula whereby a ballet master, six dancers, two pianists and two actor-narrators could both entertain and instruct, with scripts written by Peter Brinson in the form of ballet-plays. The dancers were seconded from the Royal Ballet Touring Company.

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Front page of a ballet-play script by Peter Brinson for Ballet for All,  Oct 1973. [RefNo: D12/2003/16/81/1]

Ballet for All proved to be very popular and Brinson continued to lead it into the early 1970s. Its influence continues today as most major dance companies have educational units that are considered a crucial part of their work.

Following a brief spell as Director at the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1968-69, Brinson was offered the job of Director of the Gulbenkian Foundation in London which he took on in 1972 and held until 1982. It was here that he began his campaign for recognition of and help for the arts. He set up and chaired an inquiry into Dance Education and Training in Great Britain (published in 1980), which assembled for the first time, detailed statistics and laid out a national plan for dance. It was as a result of this inquiry that Europe’s first Dance Department, at the University of Surrey, was established in 1981.

Whilst still at the Gulbenkian Foundation, Brinson became the Chairman of the Dance Board at the  Council for National Academic Awards from 1975-1984, which validated the pioneering BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at the Laban Centre (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban). During this time he also sat on the validation panels at London Contemporary Dance School, Middlesex Polytechnic (now University) and other centres.

In 1982 he left the Gulbenkian Foundation to join the Laban Centre (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban), a decision that Brinson writes about in a piece held in his collection in the Laban Archive – see below:

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‘Something very new’ written by Peter Brinson, 1984, p. 1 [RefNo: D12/2003/16/41/4]

 At the Laban Centre Peter Brinson launched the one year Community Dance and Movement Course  (later validated as the Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dance) and became Head of Postgraduate Studies. He initiated the Sociology of Dance and Politics of Dance courses at undergraduate, MA and research levels and continued as a consultant at the Centre until his death in 1995. On his death, Peter Brinson’s papers were given to the Laban Library and Archive as the Peter Brinson Collection. The Collection can be accessed via the archive catalogue .

Brinson’s influence was in no way limited to the UK. As his reputation grew over the course of his career he was invited to speak at innumerable international conferences and to carry out research projects and write reports on dance for governments all over the world. He wrote many articles and papers and published many books over the course of his life – some of which are available in the Laban Library and Archive.

la-d-12-6-1Photograph of Peter Brinson and Simone Michelle, members of staff at the Laban Centre,  at a Laban Centre staff party, 1991. Photographer: ?Marion North. RefNo: LA/D/12/6/1

As Shirley McKechnie writes, when describing Peter Brinson,

“…he had the soul of an artist, the intellect of a philosopher, the astute mind of a politician, the tongue of a diplomat and the manner of a man of the world.”

McKechnie, p. 46

Bibliography:

Brinson, Peter with Ralph, Richard. (1997). ‘Dance Memoirs’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research, Vol XV, No. 1. Summer 1997, pp 13-30

McKechnie, Shirley, (1997). ‘Voices from Austalia. A Tribute to Peter Brinson’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research, Vol XV, No. 1. Summer 1997, pp 31-48

Nugent, Ann, (1996). ‘In Memorium: Peter Brinson’, Dance Research Journal, 28/1 Spring 1996, pp 127-129

Ralph, Richard. (1997). ‘Peter Brinson’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research, Vol XV, No. 1. Summer 1997, pp 5-12

 

 

Bonnie Bird: ‘pioneer, educator and dancer’

In this the 70th anniversary year of the Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, we decided to delve into our history using items from the Laban Archive. In this blog post we take a look at the life and work of Bonnie Bird who played a crucial part in the development of what was then the Laban Centre.
Bird was born in Portland, Oregon and was educated at the Cornish School of Fine Arts in Seattle where she studied with Martha Graham. Graham invited her to join the Graham concert group in New York where she performed in many premieres over the period 1933-37. In 1937 she became head of the dance department at the Cornish School where she trained Merce Cunningham among many others, and where John Cage was an accompianist. She was amongst the first members of the dance faculty at the 92nd Street Y in New York and taught there from 1951-1963, establishing the Merry-Go-Rounders, a highly successful company that presented dance for children. She was a founder member and president of the American Dance Guild and the Congress on Research and Dance. In 1974 she began a long association with the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance (now the Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance), applying and developing her theories on dance training by helping to institute Britain’s first BA (Hons) degree in Dance Theatre studies, and subsequently Britain’s first MA and PhD degrees in Dance Studies. (TL, 2016)
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Bonnie Bird with participants at the Cage/Cunningham Residency held by the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in the Great Hall at Goldsmiths’ College, July 1980. Photographer: Peter Sayers. [RefNo: LA/D/12/4/1/44, Laban Library and Archive]

Bonnie Bird proposed the foundation of a postgraduate course for dancers who had already completed a minimum of three years full-time professional training and which would entail students becoming members of a professional repertory company  – thus  Transitions Dance Company was born. The name ‘Transitions’ was chosen ‘to indicate the fact that the company is the means by which the dancers bridge the gap between student life and professional dance’. (Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, p. 4)
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Bonnie Bird (centre) with members of the first season of Transitions Dance Company, including Sonia Rafferty (1st on the left) and Anthony Bowne, Administrative Director of the company (6th from the right), 1983-1984. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: D24/1/J/1, Laban Library and Archive]

Thirty-three years later, Transitions Dance Company is still going strong.
In 1985 Bird set up the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund to encourage new young choreographers. She used her 70th birthday year to tour the world, raising money for the Fund.
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John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Marion North at a celebration for Bonnie Bird’s 70th birthday, in New York, 1984. Photographer unknown [poss. Bonnie Bird]. [RefNo: D5/2007/35/2/49, Laban Library and Archive]

The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund  (BBCF) has influenced many internationally renowned choreographers including Lea Anderson, Matthew Bourne and Rosemary Lee.
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Bonnie Bird, Matthew Bourne and Gillian Lynne at the Bonnie Bird Choreography Awards, 1989. Matthew Bourne was one of the recipients of the award that year. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: LA/D/12/1/2, Laban Library and Archive]

The BBCF continues in its work today, with recipients of the 2015 awards being Botis Seva and Yami ‘Rowdy’ Lofvenberg.
 In 1989 Bonnie Bird offically retired and the theatre at the Laban Centre (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) was named after her.
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 Speech for the dedication of the Studio Theatre at the Laban Centre, Laurie Grove, to Bonnie Bird, 1989. (RefNo: D5/2007/35/8, Laban Library and Archive)

 

Bonnie Bird remained Artistic Director at the Centre until her death in 1995. The Bonnie Bird Theatre at the Laban Building, Creekside, London has the following dedication on its wall:
‘this theatre space celebrates bonnie bird; pioneer, educator and dancer whose spirit animates the commitment to developing dance artists of the future’.
Bibliography:
Laban Centre for Movement and Dance. (1993). Transitions Dance Company tenth anniversary year 1983-1993. London, England: Laban Centre for Movement and Dance
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Faculty of Dance. [TL] (2016, November 3). Bonnie Bird. Retrieved from http://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/about-us/our-history/bonnie-bird

 

Archives can be very INSPIRATIONAL

Annie French, a part-time student in her final year on the BA in Creative Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) specialising in textile design, spent a day looking at archive material with Jane Fowler, the Laban Archivist, earlier this year. Inspired by Rudolf Laban life story and dance notation scores she created these beautifully designed and embroidered epaulets which reflect the movement score of a ‘forward ocho’, which is an Argentine Tango step .

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Detail of the epaulets.
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Annie gives us some more background information on her project and how she came to be inspired by Rudolf Laban;

‘In year 4, I was inspired by music and movement through a local dance class that I was attending.  Having two left feet my actual dancing did not improve but I was fascinated by the energy that could be created by dance.  Looking at the work of Michael Kinder (1917-2009), a visual artist who applied mathematical rules to his work, made me think about the rules of dance. Not having a background in dance, it was by chance that I asked a colleague Anjie Taylor who is the Artistic Director of Qdos Creates, a charity that offers community workshops and performances.  She trained in dance using Labanotation in Yorkshire, Anjie recommend some books, and I was hooked.

As part of a study tour to New York earlier this year, to visit various design studios, I made an appointment to visit the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) where they opened up their archive for me to look at some of the original dance scores, old photographs of Rudolf Laban and his students. They also introduced me to the work of Jean Kirsten, a visual artist who has been creating work in conjunction with the Laban Guild. They also loved the initial samples of embroidery that I had been working on, which they have kindly shown on their face book page.

Having researched Laban’s family background and his journey to the UK, and finding out that the Art of Movement School was started in Manchester, was enough for me to be so inspired by his work to use my research for my final piece of work last year.  The idea came from his Father being in the military, and wanting his son to have a career in the military.  Using notation, I machine embroidered the designs into epaulets and used typical military colours which hopefully express this.’

Here are a couple of photos from Annie’s studio work. Photographs by Aly Jackson.

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The final artwork was exhibited in the 2016 Unit X exhibition in Manchester and is now on display within the library & archive here at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

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Overlapping with Annie’s display the Laban archive hung three introduction panels ‘Treasures from the archive’, aimed at new students and staff  providing a tempting snap shot of the fantastic collections the Laban archive holds for their use.

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It seems that Annie got a lot out of her visits to a number of archives; working with their archivists and their collections. She says she is planning to write her dissertation on how the use of archive material can inspire artists to create art.

Having  Annie’s new piece of work and the archive panels on show at same time created a satisfying duality. The old inspiring the new and the new animating the old. Thank you Annie.

Marion North: ‘vision, persuasiveness and sheer determination’

Marion North, former Principal of the Laban Centre, was born in Hull and studied at Homerton Teacher Training College, before undertaking postgraduate study at the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester in the 1950s.

 

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Marion North’s letter of acceptance on to a postgraduate course at the Art of Movement Studio, 16 April 1951. [RefNo: D4/2007/39/5/68]

After completing her studies, Marion joined the Art of Movement Studio’s faculty, where she specialised in the detailed observation of human behavioural movement. She became apprenticed to Rudolf Laban, developing a test for assessment of personality through the analysis of physical behaviour and pioneering creative movement in the workplace as recreational activity for industrial workers.

 

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Notes on  ‘Vision Drives’ by Marion North, c1950s [RefNo: D4/2007/39/5/34]

Marion left the Art of Movement Studio in 1958, the year that Rudolf Laban died.  She became Head of Dance at Sidney Webb College, London from 1962-72 and then Head of the Dance Department, Goldsmith’s College from 1972-80. She became Principal of Laban in 1973. Under her leadership, Laban offered Britain’s first BA (Hons) Dance Theatre (1977), the first MA in Dance Studies (1980), the first MA in Dance Movement Therapy in collaboration with Hahnemann University, Philadelphia (1995) and the first MA Scenography [Dance] (1999).

Under Marion the Laban Centre became an international institution, particpating in international events as well as hosting choreographers and dancers from around the world to teach, work and inspire students at the Centre.

 

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Laban Centre students performing at Ninian Park, Cardiff in front of Pope John Paul II, 2 June 1982. Photographer: ?Marion North [RefNo: LA/D/12/4/10/1/2]

 

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Photograph of a workshop at the Laban Centre with choreographer Jacob Marley, 1989. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: LA/D/12/4/11/2/1]

Marion invited Bonnie Bird from the US to come and teach at the Laban Centre. Marion and Bonnie had first met at the Dance Notation Bureau in New York in 1970-71. They struck up a partnership ‘which was to have a dominating influence on the Laban Centre.’ (Willson, p. 179). Bonnie Bird came to work full-time at the Laban Centre in 1974.

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Photograph of Bonnie Bird teaching in Taipei, with Transitions Dance Company, c1992. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: LA/D/12/5/2/3/1]

 

Marion was a Visiting Professor at numerous colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Greece, Japan and Taiwan. Her own studies included a longitudinal study of movement characteristics of babies to adolescence as well as the application of Rudolf Laban’s principles in industry.

 

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Announcement of a lecture given by Dr Marion North on ‘Observations of personality development as seen in the movement of babies’, 5 March 1982, at the Tavistock Centre, London. [RefNo: D4/2007/39/5/73]

Marion held a PhD in Psychology and Movement Study from the University of London. Marion North was awarded an OBE in 2000 and Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Salford in 2001.  She retired in 2003 having overseen the move of Laban (now the Faculty of Dance) into its new building at Deptford, South East London. In 2004, Marion  was awarded CBE as former Principal and Chief Executive of the Laban Centre.

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Marion North with students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance at her 85th birthday party, 2 November 2010. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: D4/2011/3/102]

Marion North died in 2012.

Anthony Bowne, who took over as Principal of the Laban Centre from Marion and led it into a new phase of its history as Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, summarised her legacy as follows:

‘Marion’s vision, persuasiveness and sheer determination have made an enormous contribution to developing the profile of contemporary dance education and training in this country. Her belief that creative work should be at the heart of every dance student’s experience continues to be a guiding principle in the development of all our dance courses and activities, and her conviction that Rudolf Laban’s work should form a significant dimension of studies here has secured us a unique place in the dance profession. Marion leaves us with a wonderful legacy, including our stunning building – her ultimate vision realized. We are now the guardians of this legacy, charged with responsibility to look always for innovative ways forward and creative solutions to the challenges facing us.’ [TL, 2016)

Bibliography:

Willson, F.M.G., 1997. In Just Order Move: The progress of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance 1946-1996, Athlone Press, London.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Faculty of Dance. [TL] (2016, August 1). Marion North. Retrieved from http://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/about-us/our-history/marion-north

 

 

 

The Laban Centre for Movement and Dance at Laurie Grove

The  Art of Movement Studio at Addlestone, run by Lisa Ullmann in the 1950s and 1960s had been focused on the training of teachers in the Art of Movement and in Modern Educational Dance. However, by the early 1970s, the British government decided that there was an over-production of teachers and therefore aimed to halve the numbers being trained by the year 1980 (Willson, p.78). As a result many colleges closed or merged with others. This change in government policy forced the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, as the Studio came to be known in 1975, to change direction. It came under the wing of Goldmsiths’ College in New Cross, London, eventually moving to the area in 1976 with Marion North at its helm.

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The site of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance at Laurie Grove, New Cross, London, 2016. Photographer: Sasi Del Bono.

North believed that a degree in dance should be accepted ‘as valid a preparation for life in careers unconnected with dance as is, say, a study of literature or of the social sciences.’ (Willson, p.180) She had a wide-ranging interest in Rudolf Laban’s ideas as well as experience with movement in industry, therapy and community work. She regularly visited America and was exposed to modern dance and movement study there. As a result, North wanted the Laban Centre to provide specialised training for those who were going to make careers as professional dancers, therapists and community workers, as well as those who wanted to pursue postgraduate research and work. (Willson, p.180).

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This is Rudolf Laban’s desk that he used at the Art of Movement Studio at Addlestone. It then became Marion North’s desk and is now based at the Laurie Grove site at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance [RefNo: LA/D/14/1]

Under North’s leadership, the Centre launched a three -year vocational Dance Theatre Diploma (now the BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance) and a one-year course in Dance Studies (now the Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies) in 1974-75.

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Front and back cover from a programme for a performance on 3 June 1977 by the first students to enrol in the three year Dance Theatre Diploma at what was then the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance [RefNo: LA/D/4/11/1/3]

In 1977, the Laban Centre had a BA Honours degree in Dance Theatre validated by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). This was the first time an institution in the UK and Europe sought validation for a degree in dance itself. In 1980, the  CNAA also validated an MA in Dance Studies offered at the Centre as well as the research degrees of MPhil and PhD.

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Draft rationale for the MA in Dance Studies introduced at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in the early 1980s [RefNo: LA/D/2/4/35/1/1 pp 114-115]

The number of students enrolling at the Laban Centre increased by 50% in the late 1970s, putting pressure on the already limited space at Laurie Grove in New Cross. The site had been a former primary school which had  a church, St James’,  next door. Agreement was reached whereby the Centre could lease the Church and convert it for its use. The conversion was opened by Sir Roy Shaw, Secretary-General of the Arts Council, in 1984 and comprised ‘eight dance studios, a wardrobe complex, an audio editing room, a video editing studio, an administrative complex, an exhibition foyer, music rooms, staff tutorial rooms and the Centre’s considerable dance library and archives.’ (Brinson, p. 35) Other building works completed the whole Centre in 1989 when it was opened by Sir John Drummond, the then controller of BBC Radio 3.

 

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Photographs of the newly furbished library and archive (top left), pilates studio (top right), atrium (bottom left) and costumes studio (bottom right) at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, Laurie Grove, 1984. Photographer: Tony Nandi [RefNo: LA/D/12/6/4]

 

By the second half of the 1980s there were 250 full-time students and a teaching staff of around 30. (Willson, p. 206)

1982 saw the introduction of the Advanced Performance Course (now the MA Dance Performance) with the formation of Transitions Dance Company spearheaded by Bonnie Bird. The late 1980s and all of the 1990s saw the Centre continue in its ascent, providing more courses validated now by City University including MA Dance Movement Therapy,  MA Dance Management & Development and MA Scenography Dance. In the year 2000 the achievements of Marion North and the Laban Centre were recognised and Marion North was awarded the OBE.

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Laban Centre luminaries Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Marion North, Mirella Bartrip and Bonnie Bird, 1992. Photographer: Tony Nandi. [RefNo: D11/A/13/26/4/1]

Marion was not alone however in carrying out the transformation of the Centre and moving it rapidly forward. Other names like Bonnie Bird and Peter Binson  figure heavily  and we shall be looking at their input in subsequent posts. But our next post will look in more detail at Marion North and her achievements.

 

Bibliography:

Brinson, Peter, 1993, Years of change: 21 years of the Laban Centre, Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, London

Willson, F.M.G., 1997, In Just Order Move: The progress of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance 1946-1996, The Athlone Press, London

 

 

Summer visitors to the Laban Archive

So far this summer the Laban Archive has had a bumper crop of visitors from the United States!

Firstly we welcomed Mark Bocek, Media Specialist at the Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle.

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Mark Bocek consulting the Bonnie Bird Collection in the Laban Archive

Mark has been researching the life and work of Bonnie Bird, an alumna of Cornish College who was one of the original dancers in the Martha Graham Dance Company back in 1930. Bonnie Bird’s career included heading the Cornish College Dance Department from 1937-1940 where she taught Merce Cunningham and worked with John Cage; helping found the American Dance Guild, the Dance Notation Bureau, and the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), and working with youth dance education and special dance education for disabled children. And then at a time of life when most people would be considering settling down to a comfortable retirement, Bird was coaxed over to the UK by Marion North in 1974 to help the Laban Centre found  Britain’s first BA (Hons) degree in Dance Theatre studies, and subsequently Britain’s first MA and PhD degrees in Dance Studies, as well as setting up Transitions Dance Company, Britain’s foremost professional training company for young dancers. No wonder we have named our theatre after her!

Read more about Mark’s research into Bonnie Bird on his Cornish News post

And then we welcomed Professor Stacy Reischman Fletcher, Interim Director, School of Music, Professor and Chair, Department of Dance at the University of Southern Mississippi. Stacy brought four of her dance students with her to view items from the Laban Collection in the Laban Archive.

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Dance students from the University of Southern Mississippi with Jane Fowler, Archivist at the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban

They also had a tour of the building by Ralph Cox, Head of the Laban Library and Archive and a talk by Mirella Bartrip, Director of Dance, on the postgraduate courses we offer. And they came back in the evening to see our first year BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance students perform. We hope to see all of them back soon!