The Makings of the Actor: Laban for Actors and in Acting

International Conference, Athens 8-10 January, 2021

Hosted by  Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation

The Laban for Actors and in Acting is an International Conference held under the auspices of The Makings of the Actor, the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, the Labanarium and Hellinoekdotiki, organized by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.  

The Makings of the Actor is organising a series of conferences based on books from international research practitioners discussing in theory and presenting in practice their works. Practitioner’s books are always a difficult task due to the struggle they have transferring practice into the written form of a book. Although there is always the possibility of recorded documentation with regards to practical work however this is unsatisfactory for practitioners to present their work in a complete way. Current practices like webinars offers a better understanding but still there is no immediate communication that can offer debates, questions and finally exchange of knowledge.

This Conference is part of a series of international events under the aegis of The Makings of the Actor. The mission of The Makings of the Actor project is to gather international practitioners and researchers, from diverse fields of performance practice and scholarship, to develop and disseminate (through conferences and workshops) an evolving performance pedagogy that addresses the needs of present and future actors.

Conference Venue: MCF

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Sergei Tcherkasski, Ph.D., D.Sc. Head of Acting StudioRussian State Institute of Performing Arts

Juliet Chambers-Coe  Director of Labanarium; Laban tutor Rose Bruford College (FDS); Drama Studio London (FDS); PhD researcher University of Surrey  www.labanarium.com

Katia Savrami, Associate Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Dr. Kiki Selioni, Affiliate Research Fellow Royal Central School of Speech and Drama University of London.

In recognition of both the global reach of the actor dancer network and the current pandemic, participants are invited to take part either in person or virtually. Conference proceedings will be live-streamed; papers, and where appropriate workshops, can be presented remotely.

Call for papers

 The Conference is based on the themes of Dr. Kiki Selioni’s book,  Laban-Aristotle:Ζώον (Zoon) in Theatre Practice: Towards a methodology for movement training for Actor and in Acting (2014), Athens, Ellinoekdotiki. Dr. Selioni’s book is dealing with Laban’s work on actors and provides a new methodology regarding movement training for Actors and in Acting based on Aristotle principles as they are written in Poetics.

Dr. Selioni writes:

The application of Laban’s method in actor training has a long history that extends beyond his work in dance and it is in this area that the project focuses on. Although Laban himself applied his method to the training of actors, it was left mainly to his followers to develop, often erratically – or such is the proposal of this project – Laban’s insights. Practitioners such as Jean Newlove, Yat Malmgren, Geraldine Stephenson, Brigit Panet and so on have all continued developing his work by offering movement classes for actors based on Laban’s principles. Each of these individuals has developed a specific method for actors based upon Laban’s principles. It is worth noting that these methods do not differ from one another and all of them agree in principle that the philosophical foundation of Laban’s theory and practice is to be interpreted according to platonic precepts. In this work I will argue that it is this Platonic foundation that underscores each of the above practitioners’ own development and notwithstanding the differences between them, it is Platonism that unifies them all under a common philosophical approach.

This research proposes that Laban’s analysis of human movement is inextricably linked to Aristotle’s concept of mimesis conceived as a zώον (living organism as life force). The research, adopts an Aristotelian perspective and proposes that knowledge, which is the main issue in both episteme (science) and art, is gained through training, and that training requires a conscious and rational approach.

The research will discuss how, for both Laban and Aristotle, the process of art-making is one of intentionally creating a world per se, namely, a new poetic reality that does not exist in this world. This idea is the foundation for understanding mimesis based on a process of poetic science, the aim of which is for the performer to have a constant presence on the stage. In other words, the performer must constantly be attentive to his body’s ever-changing rhythms in present time and thus be able to continually experience what we might call, based on Aristotle, an aesthetic time and not merely a physical sense of time during the performance. This presupposes a well-trained body; the performer works under the condition that his training develops bodily awareness of both movement and voice and addresses the needs of dramatic art holistically. If the performer lacks that ability, his presentation stands as a schematic presence that reveals its inartistic character. Aristotle calls this constant presence on stage ζώον (living thing, or as the Greek philosopher Stelios Ramfos calls it, ‘life force’), whereas Laban defines it as kinaesthetic experience. This research can be seen as a practical explication of the manner in which the Aristotelian ζώον moves in mimesis, thereby contributing to Aristotle’s ontological and poetic theory by developing a practical training for the actor in the kinesthetic experience of ζώον.

The presentation of the book theoretically and practically will create the opportunity to actively involve practitioners and scholars who are dealing with the same themes raised from it.

We welcome submissions from acting/voice/movement/dance teachers, acting coaches, theatre practitioners, actors, directors, dancers, choreographers, film directors, dance-film directors, training practitioners, theatre and dance researchers and academic researchers within varying aspects of practice.

Call for papers, teaching demonstrations

The themes this conference/book launch /live webinar seek to address include, but are not limited to: 

      – Laban for actors

      – Laban’s Philosophy and practice

  • Movement training and coaching for Actors
  • Voice training for performers on stage/screen/radio/
  • Dance  training for actors
  • Presence on stage and on screen for actors
  • Dance theatre training and practices
  • Physical theatre and Performance Art practices

       Spiritual and intellectual training for the contemporary performer

  • Theory, philosophy and practice in movement practices
  • Presence, truthfulness and somatic awareness on stage. 

Theory and/or Practice in Acting process

  • Psychology of the Actor
  • Rhythm in movement training
  • Ecstatic and Ritual Acting
  • Movement in Education
  • Movement training and its continuous training
  • Skills and dexterities in movement
  • Movement coaching teachers and their skills.

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation in Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 20 min, followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants. We accept submissions for online paper presentations.

Submissions of teaching demonstrations must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief cv and email address.
The first 2 pages are expected to describe your approach. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You can expect wireless network access. 4-6 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The demonstrations allow practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 90 min., followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants. We accept submissions for online teaching demonstrations.

Please send your submission by the 14th December 2020 to:

Kiki.Selioni@cssd.ac.uk    Kiki.Selioni@themakingsactor.com

Acceptance Notification: 16th December  of December 2020

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact kiki.selioni@themakingsactor.com  and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Paper presentations, teaching demonstrations will be held between 8,9,10 January 2021

Conference Registration fees:

Paper presentations fees: 150€ (this includes one physical copy of Dr. Selioni’s book plus the shipping)

Teaching Demonstration fees: 250€ (this includes one physical copy of Dr. Selioni’s book plus the shipping)

Attendants fees: 100€  (this includes one physical copy of Dr. Selioni’s book plus the shipping)

Student & unwaged fees: 75€ (this includes one physical copy of Dr. Selioni’s book plus the shipping).

Workshop:   Laban for Actors and Acting

Facilitated by Dr. Kiki Selioni Affiliate Research Fellow Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, Artistic Director The Makings of the Actor.

8,9,10  January 2021 18.00 -20.00 Athens Time Zone MCF

The 2hours workshops will present the theoretical basis of this research on Aristotle Poetics and as well as it will work on the principles of the methodology that concerns the actors’ kinesthesia. Moreover, the workshop will construct samples of monologues, fight scenes, devised theatre and musical theatre.

Dr Kiki Selioni is a movement teacher and acting coach in various Drama Schools and Institutions internationally. She has completed her studies in Dance Theatre at the Laban in London (BA and MA, City University. She holds a doctorate in Movement Training for Actors and in Acting (RCSSD). She is currently Affiliate Research Fellow at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in a post-doc research project (The British Acting School: Biophysical Acting) regarding a complete acting method based on Laban’s work and Aristotle’s theory. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Makings of the Actor.

Workshop fees:

Participants: €75   Student & unwaged: €40  

For info and booking please send your application and brief cv to:

Kiki.Selioni@cssd.ac.uk     Kiki.Selioni@themakingsactor.com