In the introduction to his essay Air and dreams on movement and imagination, Gaston Bachelard mentions, “perceiving and imagining are as antithetic as presence and absence” (1943, p.8). Imagination brings us away from the present moment, and perception pulls us into it. He places the position of the poet on the crest of these two worlds trying to match presence and absence, to ground imagination not in escapism but in an “invitation to travel”, and use perception to notice not only what is there but also what is not there.
With dance, a “clear spatial dynamism” is what articulates this relationship between presence and absence (Laban, 1966, p.93). The dancer perceives and acts to articulate signs and phenomenal events in front of an audience, with their peers, or in daily life, today in a society that presents a rather fragmented experience of space. I will explore here the development of Laban’s original spatial concepts in the current practice, with a focus on how space relates to interpersonal relationships under five main notions: kinesphere, proxemics, harmony, lability, land of silence.