Playing with Principles

This Playing with Principles 10-class series builds on the 11 Bartenieff Fundamental principles. Each class develops the idea in the title drawing from movement principles and aspects of the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System.

You will need some experience of the 11 BF Principles to do these classes.
You will need enough space to lie on the floor. You can do these classes in any order although there is a developmental progression of complexity in the order they are presented here, with the later classes engaging with more of the Space Harmony material from LBMS.


This class considers preparation from Breath sensing, Weight sensing, and Flow sensing to then develop an inner to outer relationship of these with space. Access to innersphere is found through exploring inner dimensions, in which finding the width, depth and length of breath moves the skeleton, and offers an inner preparation for movement of limbs, using more space around you and travelling in the space. Preparation might be simply the beginning of any movement that determines something of its continuation. Preparation can also be for something particular. We explore both in this class.


This class focusses on the Bartenieff Fundamentals of Sagittal Pelvic Shift & Lateral Pelvic Shift, and uses the principles of Weight support to explore propulsion. There is Developmental Pattern support using largely the Upper-Lower pattern.


This class explores suspension through the theme of Mobility and Stability, drawing primarily from Free and Bound Flow in relationship to other Effort Elements. Familiar movement sequences are explored through changing the inner intent and opens opportunity for dynamic variation. Balance and suspension is made and broken through Flow in playful ways.

Phrasing flow

This class delves into the topic of Phrasing to consider how flow sensing and Flow Effort might be deployed as the initiation, main action or resolution/recovery of a movement. We explore the ideas of release for initiation and recovery into passive weight by using flow as flux, continuity or progression. This micro-analysis of body level phrasing invites increased breath support and awareness of patterns.

Patterns of crawling

This class explores the Developmental Patterns of support through crawling. Travelling on hands and feet/knees/shins can be organised through different kinds of coordination.

Scatter Gather

This class visits two larger ideas of Scatter and Gather, found in some of Laban’s writing, as the doorway to embody these ideas from Breath support, Radial Symmetry or Core-Distal connectivity. The dynamic qualities of these inviting plenty of Inner Shaping.

Thresholds of spiralling

This class uses Developmental Pattern support of Upper Lower, Body Half and Cross Lateral with the principle of Body Level Phrasing to explore spiralling. Particular attention is paid to small spirals, as a way to sustain the enquiry of rotation on the threshold before it becomes too much – too dizzy, too nauseous etc to continue. Spiralling stimulates the vestibular system and this class honours its resilience and sensitivity.

Voyages in the kinesphere

This class explores Laban’s ideas of Space Harmony in a gentle way to explore personal space, new directions, pathways, and being off-balance. It introduces the icosahedron and 3 planes, the inner supporting structure of the icosahedron. Mapping the form of the icosahedron onto the kinesphere becomes a doorways for new movement experience and sensation. This class supports sensing the space within the body, supporting kinetic chains to re-organise and re-balance as a tensegrity structure. Going towards and away – spatial and personal.

Diagonals forever

This class gives a brief overview of Laban’s Diagonal Scale and opens an enquiry into the cross-lateral body connectivity it both requires and elicits. The kinesphere is explored through visualising dimensions, the cube and four diagonals. In addition, diagonals are used as a creative template and inspiration for personal movement exploration.

Informing practice

This class takes you through a process of working with Movement Principles to support your own movement practice. Building from the principle of Core Support, you are guided to consider how you might use the tools and concepts acquired through these classes to develop a movement exploration and sequence to prepare for or recover from some activity in your life (for your work, recreation, interaction with others – it doesn’t matter). You’ll need a pen/pencil and paper for this class to make notes.

Buy access to 10 Playing with Principles classes

£80 for 1 year’s access to do classes any time, as many times as you wish.

Please note that this payment plan will automatically renew after a year unless you cancel the subscription.

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