bartenieff orange background "Studies of movement behavior in ethnic, cultural contexts can no longer be regarded simply as studies of 'foreign' behavior, but rather as explorations of the wide range of possibilities of our own 'human' behavior"
(Irmgard Bartenieff and Dori Lewis in Body Movement)

 

ethnic dance styles in Labanotation

 

 

Irmgard Bartenieff viewed dance as a way to study cultures, beginning at an early age when she learned German folk dances. When she came to the United States she used her love for folk dances working with children at a camp in Western Massachusetts, Camp Konkapot. Later in life she expanded her studies to include the dance of the Pacific (Hawaii, Polynesia, etc) and Tai Chi Chuan. She often taught at the University of Manoa in Hawaii, working with students from many cultures who learned about Bartenieff and Laban's theories in relation to their dance styles.  Throughout her career she not only described ethnic dance styles verbally, but also captured elements of the dances through Labanotation, as this example shows.

 

These images are from an album/scrapbook created by Bartenieff following a pageant she produced at Camp Konkapot in 1943

pageant program