Equivalents is building a sentence in movement equivalent to a sentence in words.
Every word has a shape or movement, and each movement has a beginning, middle and end. When performed, you should clearly delineate between words. You can come back to a neutral stance in between movements if this is helpful.
When a word is repeated, the movement is repeated.
Every word counts, even the small ones like “the”.
Equivalents is not mimetic, or as we say “It is not like charades.” You should know why you are doing what you are doing, but it is not essential that this be evident from the outside.
The movement can be arbitrary or even contradictory; it can be a pun or based on the sound of a word.
- Start with the first word of a sentence and have students turn away from the circle “into their own private studio” and have them make a movement or shape for that word.
- Have students face into the circle and share their movement while speaking the word. This can be done one by one like a wave, or in groups, or have half the circle perform at the same time.
- Continue to build the sentence using this process, adding extra challenges as students get more familiar with the process, such as: change levels, make it fast, make the length of the movement not equal to the length of the word.
- After the structure is established with a few words, students can work independently or in teams to complete the sentence.
- For further information and variations go to www.danceexchange.org and click on TOOLBOX
An example of Equivalents in Ferocious Beauty: Genome is presented here.