We welcomed Eva Giese-Wiesweg and her family to the Laban Archive this summer. Eva is the great-niece of Lisa Ullmann and she visited the Faculty of Dance to find out more about her heritage. We were happy to get out the hundreds of photographs we have in the archive of Lisa Ullmann, Laban-trained dancer, teacher and pioneer who helped to master-mind the founding of the Art of Movement Studio (now the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban) in 1946 and was a major supporter of, and constant companion of Rudolf Laban throughout the last twenty years of his life.
Ullmann, pictured above, had been a pupil of the Laban School of Lotte Wedekind in the 1920s and she went on to work with Kurt Jooss as a member of his staff at the Dance Department of his Folkwangschule Essen, in Germany. In 1934, she travelled to Dartington Hall in England with Ballets Jooss to teach at the Jooss-Leeder School. During this time, she became involved with her own movement choir, and conducted evening classes for the Worker’s Educational Association in Plymouth and for teachers at the University of Exeter. She stayed at Dartington Hall as a teacher until 1940. Working closely with Rudolf Laban after he came to England in 1938 she became more and more interested in the psychological and educational aspect of dance and movement. The Art of Movement Studio opened in 1946 and for 30 years a great number of teachers from schools and colleges studied there on secondment. A great number of her students had distinguished educational careers and played a major part in raising the status of dance to that of a degree subject not just a practical art.
To find out more about Lisa Ullmann, search for her on our Laban Archive catalogue and to see her many publications, our Laban Library catalogue.