Rudolf Van Laban
(15 December 1879 – 1 July 1958)
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Rudolf van Laban is considered as the pioneer of expressionist dance. He was born in Hungary in 1879 from a French-Hungarian father and English mother. He initially studied architect in Paris. During his stay in Paris, Laban became interested in the relationship between the moving human form and the space which surrounds it which lead him to move to Germany. In 1915, Laban established the Choreographic Institute in Zurich, which few years later he made the branches in Italy, France and other European Countries. His founding of Kinetographie Laban, a dance notation system, is one of the greatest contribution for the dance world. His theory of choreography and movement has been using as the foundations of modern dance. Laban also developed the art of movement choir, wherein large numbers of people move together in some choreographed manner.

Laban believed that dance should be accessible to everyone because it was a way for people to reconnect with their communities and nature. He also authored numerous books about dance. In 1928, he started Schrifttanz, one of the first dance magazines ever published. By 1930, Laban was not only the director of movement and dance for the Prussian Theatre in Berlin, but he also served as ballet master at the State Opera. Through a large number of “Laban Schools” who taught his work, he influenced a whole generation of dancers, including Mary Wigman and Kurt Jooss.