Warren David Lamb
Movement expert, management consultant
Warren Lamb, a pioneer in the field of human movement, died on January 21, 2014 at his home in Claremont, with complications from a heart attack suffered previously. He was 90.
He was born on April 28, 1923 to Rose Marian (nee Wilkinson) and David Lamb in Wallasey, Merseyside, England, where he grew up. He served in the Second World War on a destroyer in the British Royal Navy, in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic oceans.
After World War II, he studied for three years at the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester, England with Rudolf Laban, who was an originator in understanding human movement. He assisted Mr. Laban with his innovative work in factories, where workers were assigned tasks based on how they moved. Mr. Lamb subsequently added major insights to Mr. Laban’s work by connecting observations of a person’s movement patterns with their style of decision-making. In this work, he was a true pioneer. Throughout his life, he encouraged people to develop “movement literacy,” which he believed to be a significant clue to a person’s personality and enduring behavior.
Mr. Lamb was a genius in showing how human movement has an intrinsic relationship to personality and how individuals act on their environments, especially in the area of their process of making decisions, whether in daily life or in the workplace.
Through his original work with Rudolph Laban in the late 1940s and 1950s, Mr. Lamb developed and refined his theoretical model over 60 years of research, creative thought and practice. This model, a personality model of decision-making, was informed and expressed through his Movement Pattern Analysis system.
By showing how an individual’s physical movement patterns, through what he termed the “posture-gesture merger,” could reflect that individual’s unique set of personality traits and propensities, Mr. Lamb’s work was a paradigm shift—a shift that has helped to move the culture closer to the reconciliation of the mind-body dichotomy. His brilliant thinking and creativity opened a door that holds a treasure chest of information for the fields of business management, psychology, education, theater, dance and movement studies.
Mr. Lamb taught this movement work for many decades at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in New York City, at the Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, for The American Dance Therapy Association, for the Laban Guild in England, for the Dance Movement Association in England, for other English and European organizations, and for numerous departments of dance in colleges and universities including USC, UCLA and Scripps and Pomona colleges.
He trained numerous people who also became leading promoters of the field of understanding personality through movement. He was keynote speaker at numerous conferences in many countries worldwide.
Mr. Lamb founded an international association of practitioners of this movement analysis work, called Action Profilers International, followed by Movement Pattern Analysis. Highly trained and certified Action Profilers and Movement Pattern Analysts apply their work in a variety of countries. Mr. Lamb’s long career included management consulting with CEOs and top management teams in corporations worldwide. He helped many multinational companies, such as American Express, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Heineken and Kodak, to recruit managers, according to a tribute that ran in the UK newspaper The Independent. The article cited a typical CEO response to Mr. Lamb’s movement-based prognostications: “I don’t understand his method—but it works, so I’ll use it.”
His archives are stored at the University of Surrey in England. A special Department in Movement Pattern Analysis has been established in Columbia College, Chicago, where a scholarship in Mr. Lamb’s name is offered supporting students pursuing a Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis. A scholarship for studying his work is also provided by Motus Humanus, to further people’s study of movement analysis.
Mr. Lamb has applied his trained observations of the movement of prominent world leaders at the request of certain departments of the US government, including creating a profile of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to increase their understanding of how these leaders operate. His work has been statistically validated and is utilized worldwide. It will continue even well after his death.
Mr. Lamb has written numerous articles and books including Posture and Gesture, Body Code: The Meaning in Movement and Management Behavior, and several books have been written about him and his groundbreaking work. They can be obtained through Brechin Books, Ltd. in London.
Mr. Lamb was industrious but also family-oriented, according to a tribute in The Guardian, which noted, “He wrote only in the early morning before dropping off his four children at school.”
In 1985, Mr. Lamb became a resident of Claremont by marrying Barbara Mallory Peterson. For 29 years, he resided alternately between Claremont and his London home, the base for conducting his international work.
“He remained extraordinarily energetic until his last year—even in his 80s he was always insistent on personally and actively illustrating movement patterns when teaching,” the Independent tribute noted. “He always said he wanted to die like the French painter Marc Chagall, working imaginatively until his last moment. And so it was.”
Mr. Lamb was lively and full of pep, his family agreed. He enjoyed a life of travel, love of nature, taking long country walks, reading Shakespeare and other fine literature, enjoying theater and dance performances, fine dining, playing tennis, snow skiing and doing his graceful morning movement exercises. He was a loving husband, a fine companion and stayed closely in touch with his beloved children and grandchildren, his family shared.
Mr. Lamb was predeceased by his sister, Nancy Lamb Talbot. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; by his four children from a previous marriage (Joan Carrington), James, Elizabeth, Imogen and Timothy; by eight grandchildren and by four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held in February by his family and friends in Richmond, England. A private memorial celebration will be held on Saturday, May 31 in Claremont.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you donate to the Warren Lamb Scholarship at Columbia College Chicago. Checks may be sent to Columbia College Chicago, Creative Arts Therapies, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. Please include Warren Lamb Scholarship in the memo line.