Certification Program in
Laban Bartenieff Movement Studies

Certification Program

About the Certification Program

LIMS’ Certification Program in Laban Bartenieff Movement Studies is a professional post-Baccalaureate educational program leading to the internationally recognized title of Certified Movement Analyst (CMA). Building on the study of Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentalssm, certification program classes involve movement, discussion, observation of self and others, field trips, video observation, and documentation. Several projects are undertaken and assessed during the course of the training, including a final project encompassing theory, observation, movement experiences, and personal applications.

LIMS offers the Certification Program in two formats: Yearlong Format (half-days, four days/week from September to May) in New York City and Modular Format (a four-part, hybrid format with virtual instruction over Zoom and a week of full-days each module) in New York City and various partner sites around the globe. 

Certification Program

Goals of the Certification Program

1.) To understand LMA as a system of structural and dynamic concepts…

To understand LMA as a system of structural and dynamic concepts that both simplifies the understanding of the movement phenomenon and gives appreciation to the complexity of that event; to see analytically and holistically.

2.) To become articulate with the LMA vocabulary of movement description…

To become articulate with the LMA vocabulary of movement description in movement, symbols, writing and speaking. To appreciate the difference and the interrelationship between the movement vocabulary and the interpretive/subjective process.

3.) To understand the core Laban theoretical principles…

a. To understand the core Laban theoretical principles and selected concepts from Laban-trained professionals who have developed new perspectives and applications based on LMA.
b. To recognize theories within disciplines that relate to the Laban work.
c. To understand the Bartenieff Fundamentals, somatic work /repatterning that supports the body-level integration of movement studies.

4.) To understand one’s own movement preferences and repertoire…

a. To understand one’s own movement preferences and repertoire, and to ultimately demonstrate a broader range of movement possibilities.
b. To achieve an appreciation of the individuality of others and an ability to perceive and work with that in mind.
c. To reinforce the body/mind integration process.

5.) To gain an appreciation and understanding…

To gain an appreciation and understanding of the connection between the LMA framework and the expressive-emotional nature of human movement

6.) To experience opportunities that support creative work…

a. To experience opportunities that support creative work with the LMA material (ex: moving, choreographing, writing, teaching, and researching).
b. To learn how the objective tool of a movement framework can interact with and support the intuitive creative process.

7.) To use the LMA principles in various fields…

To use the LMA principles in various fields (ex: fitness, business, therapy, art, computer technology).

8.). To experience learning as an individualized process…

To experience learning as an individualized process that remains open and ongoing. To become comfortable with a kind of learning that may or may not have a definitive endpoint.

9.). To value the preliminary student level of development…

To value the preliminary student level of development, and anticipate an appreciation for self-directed learning once certification training is complete.

certification program

Why Choose LIMS?

People choose LIMS’ certification program for the following strengths.

Tradition and Academic Legacy

A traditioned yet evolving curriculum that balances theory and practice, providing a deep theoretical foundation in LBMS to prepare students for their future fields.

World Class Faculty

Top-notch instructors who are experts in their respective fields and have taught in the LIMS certification program for years.

Irmgard’s Legacy

The longest-running certification program in the field of Movement Studies, originally started by Irmgard Bartenieff, our founder and pioneer in the field.

Format Options

Flexible program formats and transfer options between formats to suit students’ needs.

LIMS Membership and Resources

LIMS’ students receive a free student membership during their studies with us, which offers numerous benefits. Students also have access to extensive resources provided to support students’ learning and research in the certification program.

ISMETA Approved

An approved training program allowing students to join ISMETA as a professional somatic movement educator upon graduation.

Certification Program

What is a CMA?

A CMA is a skilled movement professional trained and certified by the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS®). A CMA has a highly refined understanding of the patterns of movement through the LMA lenses of Body, Effort, Shape and Space.

As a Movement Specialist, a CMA uses his/her comprehensive knowledge to identify movement patterns, convey the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of any human movement, and prepare people in numerous fields for active participation in the world.

To become a CMA a candidate must successfully complete a rigorous 520 Hour theoretical and experiential graduate-level Certification Program in Laban Movement Studies at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS®) headquartered in New York City, or at an off-site LIMS®-affiliated program location.

A CMA uses the Laban Bartenieff System as a framework for structural, spatial, rhythmic, shape and dynamic components in human movement observation, synthesis, and analysis. From an LMA/BF perspective, a CMA possesses an acute understanding of a specific movement event and its complexity and context. A CMA:

  • Appreciates the functional and expressive aspects of human movement and perceives the interpretive/subjective processes that take place through movement.
  • Understands and appreciates an individual’s movement pat
    terns and relates to and works with that in mind.
  • Refines and expands one’s movement repertoire by deepening movement awareness and understanding, and by providing the experience of a global range of movement within diverse environments.
  • Assesses human movement within an individual, group, cultural, situational and environmental contexts.
  • Has an understanding of their own and others’ movement style within a variety of contexts, including social interaction.
  • Has the knowledge and ability to verbally articulate and physically demonstrate the LMA concepts of Body, Effort, Shape, and Space from both broad and discreet perspectives.
  • Is able to verbally articulate and physically demonstrate the basic principles of Bartenieff Fundamentalssm, along with their theoretical and practical relationship to LMA.
  • Has the ability to develop and apply theory in practice in diverse fields.
  • Has training in observing, recording and interpreting movement data using Motif, phrase writing, and recording from digital and live observation.

Certification Program

International Programs

LIMS works with educational partners around the globe to bring our Certification Program to the global community.

Certification Program

What Our Students Are Saying

Naoko Murakoshi
    Naoko Murakoshi


    Three years of learning at LIMS, beginning with the lockdown of the Corona Disaster and continuing with online as well as in-person unexpected situations has been a very enriching time. I am doing research on the use of somatics in dance, and I was especially impressed with the teaching methods of the LIMS faculties. Also, it was a bonus to have people from different countries with similar interests and to have expanded my network of contacts!

    Ibanda Grace Flavia
      Ibanda Grace Flavia

      Mentor with Kiteezi Samaritan

      The LIMS program has expanded my movement vocabulary, knowledge and observation skills, allowing me to more aptly use the BESS and BF concepts to name and label the diverse traditional and creative dance experiences in my milieu. The LIMS program is a game changer I would strongly recommend to anybody involved or interested in human movement because it widens understanding of the diversities of human movement attitudes and experiences. The program meets a movement enthusiast where at they are at and challenges them to experience movement knowledge/skills in broadened, flexible and adaptable ways that suit any line of movement work.

      Weichen Cui 崔未尘
        Weichen Cui 崔未尘

        Phd candidate and teaching staff at University of Melbourne

        Studying at LIMS has provided me with a holistic way of viewing movements, which has been transformative. The best aspect is the resources and time you are given to integrate your own professional expertise, regardless of your background. This inclusive and supportive environment fosters a unique learning experience that I highly value.

        Taiwo Adeleye
          Taiwo Adeleye

          Movement Therapist, Dancer, Restauranteur

          The faculty’s supportive approach was particularly impactful, providing me with the tools and confidence needed to explore and integrate Laban’s principles into both my dance practice and personal life. Their patience and tailored guidance helped bridge the gap in my knowledge, allowing me to fully immerse myself in the learning experience without feeling overwhelmed or out of place.

          Certification Program

          Frequently Asked Questions

          How are the certification program formats different?

          The LIMS Certification program in Laban Movement Studies consists of 520 hours of training. There are three (3) different formats to accommodate the students’ various needs, keeping the same educational standards and providing the same curriculum materials. For more specifics, please refer to each program’s webpage.

          • Yearlong format: In a studio in New York City, from early September to Mid-May (for 9 months, split into Term 1 & Term 2)
          • Modular format (Hybrid): Online classes (less than ⅓ of 120 hrs) + In-person classes (more than ⅔ of 120 hrs)
          • Modular format (Intensive): In-person classes for 120 hrs in a studio in various locations around the world
          Is it possible to transfer between the programs?

          The short answer is yes, but it is dependent upon the program in which you are currently enrolled:

          • You can transfer to a program in a different location among the Modules.
          • After you complete Module II, you can transfer to NY Yearlong Term 2.
          • After you complete NY Yearlong Term 1, you can transfer to Module III.
          • Other than the above cases, students will need to have a consultation with the program coordinator for the program for which they would like to transfer and may need to take one-on-one tutorial sessions with a faculty member (at their own cost) to get ready for joining a different program.
          Can I pause between the educational units or should I continue taking one unit right after the other?

          You are able to plan your study timeline according to your budget, time commitment, etc. We strongly recommend continuing the next unit within two (2) years after you have completed the previous unit.

          Do I have to take the Introductory courses with LIMS to fulfill the prerequisites for the CMA programs?

          If you take any/all of the introductory courses outside LIMS, a proof of study (ex. Certificate of Completion, or a school transcript along with the course syllabus, etc.) is required during the application process to verify your study in each prerequisite: Intro to LMA (18+ hrs), Intro to BF (15+ hrs), Intro to A & K (17+ hrs)

          Or click HERE to take an Introductory course with LIMS.

          Does LIMS offer financial aid?
          • Student Loans: Regrettably, student loan assistance through FAFSA is not available at LIMS because we are not a degree-granting school.
          • Scholarship: A needs-based scholarship ($1000) is available, but only for a certification program student who is in the final stage of completing the program that is administered by the LIMS NY office.
          • Payment Plan: LIMS Finance offers to split payments evenly across the months of the program with the final payment occurring prior to the program end. So, every student on a payment plan must pay off the balance before the end of the educational unit in which he/she has been studying. LIMS charges $50 for a payment plan plus 2.5% of the payment amount to spread payments over time. (For instance, on $8000 for a Term of a yearlong student, the total cost of setting up a payment plan would be $250, that includes a $50 plan fee (added to the first installment) plus $200, which is 2.5% of $8000 spread across the payments.) There is an additional $50 fee for any changes.
          • LIMS Member discount: Unlike the introductory courses, there is no discount for members for certification programs.
          What fees are expected in addition to the tuition?
          • Tuition covers the use of materials and services provided by LIMS for classroom use and for student research. The following services are not covered by the student’s tuition:
          • Tutoring: Tutorials with instructor to catch up on missed classes
          • Books and other media: There will be certain books which you need to purchase. Most required readings (e.g. book chapters, articles, etc) will be provided as PDFs or other online means.
          • Printing/copying
          • Studio rental for individual use
          Does LIMS offer housing accommodations?

          We do not offer accommodations. Students must find their own housing while in NY or other Module program locations, preferably close to the studio where classes take place. For New York programs, AirBNB is highly recommended and you may choose to share the cost of housing with other students, if it suits you.

          How many hours are required outside of class?

          That will truly depend on the individual student and how you handle your homework/course work each day/week.

          Is a Covid-19 vaccination required for in-person classes?

          Proof of vaccination (both dates for the 2-shot versions) is required during the registration process. This ensures the safety of all our students, staff, and faculty members.

          Have More Questions?
          Book a 15-minute Info Session With Us!

          Contact Us

          Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Email us or give us a call.

          Email Address

          education@ labaninstitute.org

          Phone Number

          (+1) 212-643-8888