Today we are talking about how physical movement can open up your voice; specifically the Eight Laban Efforts. The Eight Efforts are a series of movements that can help actors physicalize their characters and discover emotional choices. In addition to character development, Laban movement is great in the voice studio for finding new colors in your voice through different physical engagements.
Rudolph Laban defined human movement in four categories: Direction, Weight, Speed and Flow.
The DIRECTION can either be direct or indirect. The WEIGHT can be heavy or light. The SPEED can be quick or sustained. The FLOW can be bound or free. From here, Laban created the Eight Efforts:
As an example, look at PUNCH. It is heavy, direct, quick and bound in flow. How does your voice respond to this coordination? Choose a vocalise or a line of a song and put it to the test. Then, try the others, according to the chart below.
These movements may encourage you to explore physicality beyond your norm and outside of your own body. Perhaps your voice didn't love the feeling of your body in PUNCH mode. As an exercise, play with each movement in the context of direction, speed, weight and flow. The efforts are open to interpretation...that's part of the fun of it. My glide may look differently than yours and that's okay!
You might find that the light efforts (float, glide, dab, flick) can assist you in accessing higher notes, and the heavy efforts (punch, press, slash, wring) may help to unearth some darker tones in your voice. The movements that belong in your toolbox are the ones that give you the most power and ease simultaneously.
Remember that singing is engaged! In your exploration, find where your body is engaging and convert that sensation into standing form. These movements can be a way into finding strength in your instrument and discovering some options in vocal versatility.
Do some experimenting and report back! We'll also revisit Laban at our next BOOTCAMP. Happy Singing!