Life forms

70 years ago this month the Art of Movement Studio (AMS), later to become the Laban Centre and then the Dance Faculty at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music of Dance,  first opened its doors to the public. To celebrate, each blog posting this year will highlight an aspect of our history. To start off, we are celebrating the life of June Petit, an alumnus.

Life Forms: Celebrating the life of June Petit 1930-2015.

June taught PE at a college in Norwich before becoming in 1958, a student at the Art of Movement Studio (AMS). We have some lovely photographs of June dancing in the archive collection.

June attended many dance courses before she officially started at the Art of Movement Studio.

Lisa Ullmann, Summer School, Ashridge, 1955.

Ref: LC/A/7/4/4

She took this photograph of Lisa Ullmann whilst attending a summer school at Ashridge in 1955.

Below is a sound bite from an interview we recorded in 2012 and is held in our archive collection.  She talks about meeting Rudolf Laban and of his inspirational qualities, her abilities as a dancer, the problems of having narrow hips and being told off for messing around in Lisa Ullmann’s classes.

She explains how physically and mentally she was ‘stretched’ by the experiences of being taught by Lisa Ullmann and Sylvia Bodmer.


The students were encouraged to explore many art forms not just dance, providing them with a diverse interdisciplinary approach to their studies. At this point the course at the AMS was a teacher training course. After finishing her course she went on to teach movement at Central School of Speech and Drama; Woodberry Down School, North London; Brighton and Hove High School and Mayfield School, East Sussex. June continued for the rest of her life to be inspired by dance, art and everything creative.

Pottery form made by June Petit, 2012.

Pottery form made by June Petit, 2012.

This is an expressive pottery form, made by June in 2012, depicting the energy and life forces that emanate from the landscape.  She made this piece when she lived in Lewes, East Sussex, inspired by the local landscape – the chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters.