Irmgard’s Legacy

Join us in Carrying Forward Irmgard’s Legacy

On May 15th, 1981 the Laban Institute of Movement Studies officially changed its name to the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, honoring Irmgard’s contribution as founder of the Institute. A party was thrown at LIMS, by then board member, Patrice Clareman, with over 100 members and friends of LIMS gathered to celebrate the name change. Irmgard was too ill to attend but, Jody Zacharias, then executive director, read a statement to the press, which Irmgard had prepared with the help of Carol-Lynne Moore.

Carol-Lynne recalls, “[sitting] with Irmgard in her upper west side apartment…we crafted the statement together.  Periodically she dozed off, but on awakening miraculously picked up where she left off.”

A few months later Irmgard left this world, but she left behind a legacy which has been carried forward by her colleagues and students, leading to a global community of movement analysts and a proliferation of interest in the field of LBMS. 

Join us in celebrating and strengthening her vision and legacy, from May 15th to June 15th, by ensuring that LIMS, the institute she founded, thrives.

Curtis W. Stedge

Executive Director

Irmgard’s legacy

Statement to the Press

Irmgard Bartenieff – May 15, 1981

“When I came, as a Laban-trained German dancer, to the United States in 1936, I did not find the American community receptive to Laban. With the exception of John Martin, Hanya Holm, and Doris Humphrey, the American community was intent on creating an American dance idiom. They did not want European ideas. 

And so I left the dance and went to complete a physical therapy degree at New York University. When I began rehabilitating polio victims I discovered that the movement principles that I had studied with Laban were operative here too. For instance, Laban’s exploration of spatial possibilities deeply affected the way I worked to stretch my stiff patients. I also found that my patients had distinctly individual ways of using their kinetic energy.  Rather than approaching each patient with a rote technique, I was able, because of my Laban training, to tailor my rehabilitative program to the unique natural rhythms I had observed in each individual. 

The discoveries I made in my first rehabilitative work, made me see Laban’s principles and theories in a much larger context. I realized that the same laws that I knew from dancing applied to rehabilitation. This realization enabled me to see the many applications possible with this material. 

Laban had recognized that movement, like music and language, had its own logic and laws of sequence. What he developed is an orientation to movement based on examining the relationship of body, effort (that is, the use of kinetic energy) and space. This orientation defines Laban’s work as a holistic theory. 

I have been able to build upon Laban‘s work in a broad way – in rehabilitation, in the analysis of ethnic dance style, in the individualized teaching of bodily skills to others and in therapeutic work with the mentally disturbed.

This broad view, this insight that movement has its own universal laws, is one of the cornerstones of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. We need a place where the related disciplines which deal with human expression and physical function can enrich their knowledge. I believe that this Institute will be such a place – a center for comparison, analysis and cross-fertilization of ideas from the whole field of movement study. It is my hope that here we will, in a true sense, strengthen the thinking which we begin to call holistic in science and in the arts.”

irmgard’s legacy

Irmgard’s Legacy: a Campaign for LIMS

May 15th to June 15th, 2024

What is it?

This campaign is an opportunity to honor and strengthen Irmgard’s vision for LIMS as “a place where the related disciplines which deal with human expression and physical function can enrich their knowledge…a center for comparison, analysis and cross-fertilization of ideas from the whole field of movement study”.

Why a Campaign?

As a nonprofit LIMS depends on the generosity of our community to sustain operations and the invaluable work we do. We view a campaign like this to be the best way to both honor Irmgard’s legacy as our founder and to directly gather community around sustaining the work that we do.

How You Can Take Part

There are many ways you can take part in helping us to realize a successful campaign, from making a donation to starting an individual or team fundraising campaign on our easy to use fundraising platform. See “Ways you can participate” below for a full list of ideas.

Start a Fundraising Team

If you’re interested in starting a fundraising team, and winning some awesome prizes, download the kit below for more information. Setup your account now to be ready for our May15th go live date.

irmgard’s legacy

Ways You Can Participate.

Become a Member

During the campaign, May 15th – June 15th, new members can join at the Professional Member level for just $81. A savings of $49!

Use coupon code: Irmgard81


Donate directly to the campaign with a one-time donation. Donate $5, $50, $150, or more. Every bit counts and we appreciate your support so much.

Start or Join a Fundraising Team

Help us meet our fundraising goal by starting a peer-to-peer campaign on our fundraising platform. It’s super easy to setup and the top three teams win awesome prizes.

Spread the Word about LIMS and the Campaign

Help us spread the word by sharing our campaign in whatever way you can. In conversation with friends and family, by email, on social media…

Irmgard’s Legacy

Quotes about Irmgard

Margaret Mead
    Margaret Mead


    Irmgard Bartenieff is a most remarkable woman and she brought to this country an invaluable tool.

    Martha Myers
      Martha Myers

      former Dean of the American Dance Festival

      Her contribution to research and practice will make a major contribution to the study and understanding of human movement.

      Betsy Kagan
        Betsy Kagan

        Choreographer, Eductaor, CMA

        That her name is not as familiar to the public as other movement innovators is only a reflection of her modesty – she was not a great self-promoter. Yet her work attracted the interest of notable people in many different fields.