I was at Zhou Liang’s rehearsal today, and saw exactly what Rebecca Loukes calls the “cat’s cradle”: a long length of elastic that the dancers weave and interweave into changing patterns that correspond exactly to the spatial relations between them.

The geometric patterns in space, anchored to particular reaches and orientations of the body, reminded me of Rudolf Laban’s “kinesphere”, a graphic mapping of movement within personal space. Here are some images of the Laban kinesphere:

labangraphic-300x300 dance-notation-08__450px dance-notation-07__450px

Laban’s kinesphere has the body as its axis. In his well-knowm “Improvisation Technologies” CD-Rom (1999), choreographer William Forsythe used the idea of Laban’s kinesphere but without the body at its centre. The geometrical axis could be outside the body, eg:


It struck me that Zhou Liang’s use of elastic creates an image of a different kind of kinesphere. Not only is the individual body not at its centre, but there is no central body. The dynamic, morphing geometries are a property of the group, not of any body within it. Like a kind of social kinesphere.

[To see what I mean, check this video of Zhao Liang’s rehearsal]

The social kinesphere

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