chapter  Chapter 7
6 Pages

Mass movement

Laban’s movement choirs and community dance
WithJessica Berson

In the choreography for the choirs, large numbers of dancers were divided into several smaller groups, arranged in organic clusters rather than in the rows and columns typical in classical ballet. Although groups within the choir moved together in clearly choreographed phrases–as opposed to a solely improvised approach–individuals within the groups performed the movement with different qualitative emphases. Laban’s movement choirs were easily turned towards a Nazi vision of ‘community dance’ because of the continuity of his belief in dance as a conduit for cosmic unity and communal integrity with beliefs central to the Nazi regime. The movement choirs carry the memory of a discomforting continuum between a vision of community dance as made up of individuals moving together to achieve a ‘mystical sense of unity’ and one of orderly masses turning towards an all-powerful leader.