In the project documentation, Thoss talks about his personal relationship with Laban’s legacy and its influence on his own choreographic work. There is also a glimpse into the rehearsal process for Loops and Lines.

Loops and Lines

In his ballet evening Loops and Lines, Stephan Thoss and his dancers demonstrated the importance of Rudolf von Laban’s 1920s Movement Study concerning forces, impulses and dynamics, and made it tangible to the senses. In co-operation with Ensemble Modern, a music ensemble that is unique in its dedication to the flexible and innovative performance concepts of 20th and 21st century music, Thoss also transposed the study of human body movements to the world of instrumentalists and sound bodies.

The dancers and musicians initially used interactive means to make it possible to experience Laban’s movement concept in etudes and miniatures before Thoss choreographed a premiere featuring Shaker Loops by John Adams and Eight Lines by Steve Reich as a Gesamtwerk (total work of art) comprising movement and sound.

The result demonstrated on various levels the impact of Laban’s principles of stage dance on “thinking in movement” and, working directly with the instrumentalists, dance heritage was transformed into a living art of our time.


Interview with Ramsay Burt

The interview with Ramsay Burt took place as part of the documentation process for the TANZFONDS ERBE project Tanz Aller (Dance of All) which also looked at Laban’s legacy. In the interview, the English dance historian talks about Laban’s reception in England.


A Professor of Dance History at De Montfort University (Leicester/UK), Burt also teaches at P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels). His publications to date include Male Dancer: Bodies, Spectacle, Sexualities (1995), Alien Bodies: Representations of Modernity, ‘Race’ and Nation in early Modern Dance (1998), Judson Dance Theater: Performative Traces (2006) and – together with Valerie Briginshaw – Writing Dancing Together (2009). In 1999, he was a guest professor on the Performance Studies course at New York University. Together with Susan Foster, he is the founder and publisher of the Discourses in Dance journal.


Interview with Ensemble Modern

In the interview, Ensemble Modern musicians Uwe Diercksen and Johannes Schwarz describe their perception of the work with the ballet company of the Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden and discuss the transferability of Laban’s principles to music.


The founding of the democratically organised Ensemble Modern (EM) was an initiative by students of the Young German Philharmonic in 1980 with the aim of promoting and performing New Music. The EM, which has been based in Frankfurt am Main since 1985, is one of the world’s leading ensembles for New Music.

Under the direction of Wolfgang Ott, the Ensemble Modern revealed in Stephan Thoss’s new ballet evening Loops and Lines the extent to which Laban’s theories are rooted in everyday life. The ballet demonstrated how the Movement Study penetrates not only the dancers’ world but also that of the instrumentalists and sound bodies.

Reflecting the spirit of Laban’s link between sound and movement, the dancers and instrumentalists came together on stage in an interactive choreography in which sound and movement triggered and interrelated to each another.



Programme for Loops and Lines and Rudolf von Laban’s Movement Study.

Film recording (extract)

Loops and Lines

The Laban dance project by Stephan Thoss with Ensemble Modern


Music by John Adams and Steve Reich
Choreography, stage design and costume – Stephan Thoss
Musical director – Benjamin Schneider / Wolfgang Ott
Stage design and costume assistant – Jelena Miletic
Video/camera – Andreas J. Etter / Fabio Stoll
Sound director – Norbert Ommer
The ballet company of the Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
Ensemble Modern



Performance Dates


  • 26 October 2013 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden – premiere
  • 7 November 2013 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 28 November 2013 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 7 December 2013 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden


  • 8 January 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 26 January 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 18 February 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 6 March 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 17 – 19 Aril 2014 | DANCE SALAD Festival, Houston/Texas – short extracts
  • 18 April 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden
  • 30 April 2014 | Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden



The Memory Machine

MOUVOIR’s walk-in installation The Memory Machine used contemporary witness reports to bring dance history between 1980 and 2000, a period marked by new concepts and styles, to life. MORE

Revolution won't be performed

Using the Communist choreographer Jean Weidt as its staring point, the project took a critical look at the most recent revolutions in Europe. MORE