Learn how movement creates great animated performances!

"Leslie Bishko is a certifiable expert in Laban Movement.  I have co-taught with her in the past, and her knowledge is dazzling. Laban is good stuff.  Recommended!   -Ed Hooks, Acting For Animators"

As an animator, you've already learned the fundamentals of animation.

How do you go from knowing the basics to creating great character performances? 

You need deep knowledge of how intention becomes movement.

That's where Laban for Animators™ comes in.

Laban for Animators™ is Leslie Bishko’s program that teaches Laban Movement Analysis to animators. Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is a framework for understanding movement that goes beyond the 12 Principles of Animation. Learning LMA gives you a creative edge to create great animated character performances.

Leslie Bishko is an animator, educator, lifelong dancer, and Certified Laban Movement Analyst. Her creativity, teaching, research, and passion are focused on the integration of Laban Movement Analysis with animation.

Why should I learn Laban Movement Analysis?

the laban for animators™ program

You can learn Laban for Animators™ online with Leslie Bishko! The program is structured as a series of modules. Each module goes deeper through the layers of movement. Study each multifaceted layer to become a master of animated movement!

Each module consists of a series of video lessons and short animation assignments. The full series will give you a comprehensive dive into the LMA system, delivered especially for animators who are ready to take their character performances to the next level!

LFA™ BETA: effort and phrasing

Effort describes how our inner intent manifests outwardly as qualities of movement, consisting of the four motion factors of Weight, Space, Time and Flow. Phrasing is how we organize our movement over time to create sentences of movement communication. Put them together and BAM! You're ready to animate what your character is Sensing, Thinking, Intuiting and Feeling! 

In this module, you will receive a broad overview of LMA, including the categories of Body, Effort, Shape, Space and Phrasing, with a focus on Effort, Phrasing, and Weight, which is so critical for animation. You will complete several short animation exercises, exploring Weight, Space, Time and Flow. 

Going deeper: effort states and drives

What happens when we combine two qualities of Effort at once?  Hold onto your hat because this is where things start to get interesting! These subtle States, or inner attitudes, show up as transitional qualities between more pronounced actions. The six States are Awake, Dream, Remote, Rhythm, Stable and Mobile.

What's next? Combinations of three Efforts! These are called Drives, and show up as the main action of a movement phrase. Many folks who have heard of Effort know about the Action Drive, which includes the eight Effort combinations known as Float, Punch, Glide, Slash, Flick, Press, Dab, Wring. But wait, there's more! We've also got Passion, Spell and Vision drives!

In this module, while we go deeper into Effort, we'll look more closely at how Effort relates to Space, and is supported by Shape changes linking inner intent to the outer environment.


This category of LMA deals with how the body is used in movement: Posture, Gesture, Body Attitude, Initiation and Sequencing, and the Developmental Patterns of Total Body Connectivity. These topics will teach you how our brains and bodies are wired together to coordinate the body mechanics that we use throughout Functional and Expressive action.

In this module, you will review and revise any one of your previous animation exercises, or an animation you've created outside of this course. You will identify elements from the Body category that you used in your animation, and find ways to enhance and develop your work further based on what you learned in this module.


Get ready to take Squash and Stretch to a whole new level! Shape is all about how we adjust our breath and overall body shape in relationship with the world and other beings around us. Breath LIFE into your characters, and go the distance when you blend Shape and Effort in action!

In this module, you'll complete one animation exercise exploring how your character changes their overall body shape in response to an external stimulus. Those who want a more advanced challenge can animate a two-character dialogue using these concepts.

moving in space

The Space category is all about WHERE action takes place, and how movement tends to form certain types of spatial patterns. This will be very familiar to 3D animators, but goes deep into how bodies move in space, and will help animators bust loose from the X, Y and Z axies! These concepts will help 2D animators conceive of more three-dimensional posing and movement transitions. 

In this module, you'll animate one exercise that really gets your character moving in Space! From subtle to broad, to single directions, to combinations of two and three directions, you'll have fun getting your character to make a statement in Space!

observation in action: MOVEMENT AND NARRATIVE

This is a fun module that looks at broader concepts about the organization of movement, and how movement communicates. We'll take a look at memorable moments in animated character performances, observe all the layers of Body, Effort, Shape and Space, and see how they come together to bring forth the character's intent through movement expression. You'll see how plot-lines and character arcs are reflected in character movement. You'll learn how each character has their own Movement Signature, which is their unique expressive movement palette.

In this module, you'll choose your favourite animated character performance to analyze using everything you've learned about LMA! You'll see how performance analysis is the inverse of the creative process, and you'll come away with fresh ideas for how you can easily rely on LMA as part of your own animation process.