All right, actors! Here's the deal. Our movement through space is a little bit like a fingerprint. You know how you can many times identify a loved one just by the way they move?
This is a great thing. It's also something that limits our ability to transform ourselves as we embody a character.
So, how do we change our "movement fingerprint" while still being present in our bodies and allowing ourselves to be a part of the performance?
That's where Laban's efforts come into play. Laban breaks down the way we move using three different areas of analysis: space, weight and time. Space can be either direct or indirect. Weight can be strong or light. Time can be sudden or sustained. When you put these all together, you end up with eight efforts that classify styles of movement, as well as something of the personality of the person making that movement.
Direct, strong, sudden--------punch (thrust)
Indirect, strong, sudden------slash
Direct, strong, sustained-----push
Indirect, strong, sustained---wring
Direct, light, sudden----------dab
Indirect, light, sudden--------flick
Direct, light, sustained-------glide
Indirect, light, sustained-----float
Most of us generally inhabit one or two of these efforts (one when we're happy, another when we're angry :)) at the most. The others are usually not as comfortable for us. But as we start experimenting with these different efforts, we can learn to use all of them. Using the efforts makes it possible for us to create wildly different physical performances, while still remaining true to our own unique and special quality that only we can bring to the table.
There's a lot more to be said about this one, so I think I may do a podcast on it in the future. Keep an eye out for it, and please leave your comments, questions and requests here for me. I want to know what's of the most interest to you. I look forward to it! :)