Collection Scope and Content Summary
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine
Title: Rudolf Laban icosahedron
Laban, Rudolf von
Identifier/Call Number: MS.P.027
0.2 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1939
Abstract: The collection comprises one 6 1/2" x
7" paper sculpture cutout created by choreographic notation expert Rudolf von Laban to form
a human figure within a 20-sided geometric shape (an icosahedron).
Language of Material:
The collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by
the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish,
please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Rudolf Laban icosahedron. MS-P027. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine
Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information
about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder
descriptions, and box/folder locations.
Processed by Ryan Hildebrand and Audrey Pearson, 2007.
Rudolf Laban was born December 15, 1879, in Bratislava, Slovakia. After studying
architecture at the École des beaux arts in Paris, Laban moved to Munich at age 30 and began
his research on Bewegungskunst, or the movement arts. In 1915 Laban established the
Choreographic Institute in Zürich and later founded branches in Italy, France, and Europe.
His greatest contribution to dance was his 1928 publication of Kinetographie Laban, a dance
notation system that came to be called Labanotation. It is still used as one of the primary
notation systems for movement in dance. In 1930 Laban became the director of the Allied
State Theatres in Berlin but left in 1938 for Great Britain, where he turned to the study of
human movement in the workplace. In 1947 he published a book related to his research
entitled Effort. He continued to teach and do research in Britain until his death in
Collection Scope and Content Summary
The collection comprises one 6 1/2" x 7" paper sculpture cutout created by choreographic
notation expert Laban to form a human figure within a 20-sided geometric shape (an
icosahedron). It is painted red, black and gold.
The icosahedron is a cubelike structure made up of 20 equilateral triangles whose
boundaries form a sphere comprised of 12 corner points. The icosahedron can be visualized as
a type of scaffolding to measure the boundaries of one's kinesphere, or area around the body
whose periphery can be reached by easily extending one's limbs without stepping away from a
specific place of origin. The scupture is laid in a paper folder inscribed by Laban "To Mr.
Vahl-Rubin with Kindest regards. Laban. (England), 6th July 39." Both items are housed in a
red, cloth-covered folding case.
The idea of using the icosahedron as the scaffolding of the kinesphere in practicing
movement arose spontaneously from the study of movement and dance and is based on the
inherent laws of natural movement, which gradually came to light in Laban's professional
activity as a dancer and dance-teacher. The sculpture illustrates Laban's theory of space
harmony in which clusters of atoms are bound together by simple forces that create an
unusual stability when the cluster has the exact number of atoms needed to form a regular
icosahedron. Part of Laban's system of Choreutics, the theory of the icosahedron supported
Laban's view of human movement as a continuous creation of fragments of crystalline forms.
This led him to classify movements as Plato had classified regular solids.
This is the only known icosahedron created by Laban.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Dance -- Archives
Paper sculpture -- 20th century.
Online Archive of California
Laban, Rudolf von -- Archives