October 17 2016 at 9:25pm
Written by Mel Wilkerson for the Newbie Callers or Callers In Training Facebook group
All EQUIVALENTS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME EQUIVALENTS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. (Apologies to George Orwell)
What is an Equivalent with regard to square dance choreography? Well simply put, an equivalent is a module (a piece of memorised choreography that you substitute for a piece of different choreography to achieve the same result.
Bill Harrison defines Equivalent Modules as a series of one or more calls which equal the same thing. His example is:
• Heads Square thru 4 = or Heads Star Thru, California Twirl.
There are numerous equivalents out there that range from single call equivalents such as:
• Doing nothing = dosado
• star thru = slide thru; or
• Bend the line = cast off ¾
There are single call to multi call equivalents such as:
• From a (standard) couple or miniwave Trade = boys(girls) run, girl u-turn back
• Right and left thru = slide thru, star thru
• Right and left thru = make a wave, ladies trade, recycle
There are “single call” to multi call equivalents that cause interaction across the square such as:
• Right and left thru = dive thru, square thru 3
There are also “pair calls” or multi call to multi call equivalents such as:
• From a box - Right and left thru, veer left = swing thru, boys run
There are also gimmicky fractional equivalents such as
• Pass thru – dosado once and a half;
• From a wave: ends trade = swing thru three hands
There are “tag line get out” equivalents that add a simple challenge feel without really challenging such as:
• Square thru 3, swing corner = flutter wheel, sweep ¼ swing corner (girls lead flow); or
• Square thru 3, swing corner = reverse flutterwheel, sweep ¼, swing corner (boys lead flow)
Truth be known, all square dancing itself can be pretty much defined as a series of equivalents that take us from one known position back to the same known position (or a movement or series of movements that does the same thing)
Most singing calls take us from a static square to a static square with a new partner.
• Corner progression singing call = corner progression singing call
• RHL progression singing call = RHL progression singing call
• Opener/Middle/Break = Opener middle break
• Get in to allemande left (regardless of calls) = Get in to allemande left (regardless of calls)
• And the list goes on.
The purpose of equivalents is not just to replace choreography so that the caller can use material that the dancers know (pass thru+California twirl because they haven’t learned right and left thru yet). The emphasis of equivalents and in fact the essence of equivalents is to establish variety and changes in body flow that assists in:
• creating smooth dancing
• changing directions to avoid overflow
• adding or subtracting timing from singing call sequences (example dosado)
• utilising variant choreography for building singing calls
• Many other uses.
This sounds relatively simple in concept but there is a trap that is often faced by new callers. That trap is the inference of knowledge when passing information down the line. Very few new callers have been able to define the purposes of equivalents beyond stating that they are calls that do the same thing as other calls.
The problem lies in not exploring the equivalents fully for formation (start and finish), body flow, hand freedom and timing (especially for singing calls)
In a discussion I had recently with a new caller from Canada he said, I haven’t taught recycle yet but I have a lot of ends cross fold material. Recycle is just an equivalent of ends cross fold anyway so I just replace it after teaching recycle. It is also good for setting up both left and right hand recycles. While I lauded the enthusiasm of teaching and calling recycle as an ends cross fold, centres fold and follow regardless of left hand or right hand waves or gender this immediately sprung to mind the statement he made.
Here is my point.
ENDS CROSS FOLD DOES THE SAME THING AS RECYCLE. BUT ENDS CROSS FOLD IS NOT ALWAYS AN EQUIVALENT OF RECYCLE AND VICE VERSA.
Consider the following GET OUT SEQUENCE from a Zero Box (ZB)
• (ZB) Right & Left Thru, Swing Thru, Ends (ladies) CROSS FOLD, Pass Thru, Right & Left Grand
I can replace the cross fold with a recycle very easily.
• (ZB) Right & Left Thru, Swing Thru, RECYCLE (ladies lead), Pass Thru, Right & Left Grand
Consider the following Get out sequence from a Zero Line (ZL)
• (ZL), Pass The Ocean, Swing Thru, ENDS (girls) CROSS FOLD, Right and Left Grand,
Again I can easily replace the cross fold with a recycle.
• (ZL), Pass The Ocean, Swing Thru, RECYCLE (girls lead), Right and Left Grand,
So the question is, why is recycle not an equivalent of ends cross fold if they do the same thing. The answer lies in the formation that the movement is called from.
At mainstream and plus, recycle is called from waves. Left or right hand or gender is not important. HOWEVER; Ends cross fold can be called from waves, lines facing in or out, inverted lines, three in one lines and even some oddball formations.
Consider the following get out sequence from a Zero Box
• (ZB) Right And Left Thru, Swing Thru, Walk And Dodge, ENDS CROSS FOLD, Pass Thru, Right and left grand.
I CANNOT change the ends cross fold to a recycle.
Consider the following get out sequence from a Zero Line
• (ZL) Pass Thru, Ends Run, New Ends CROSS FOLD, Centres Left Square Thru 3, Right and left Grand.
Again I CANNOT change the ends cross fold to a recycle
This is the equivalent trap. There are many movements out there that are conditional equivalents. That means that there is a specific condition that applies to the use of that movement. Sometimes it is fractional (in other words you have to the movement more than once to be an equivalent (dosado once and a half rather than pass thru, or, slide thru twice rather than right and left thru)). However, these conditional equivalents will only also work from specific formations and arrangements.
Do not assume that because an experienced caller told you that slide thru and star thru do the same thing. They do not.
• Star thru from standard facing or ½ sashayed couples = slide thru from standard or ½ sashayed couples
• Slide thru from four facing boys or four facing girls DOES NOT equal star thru which cannot be done from that position at basic and mainstream
Likewise recycle does the same as ends cross fold, but from a wave only. It doesn’t do the same from lines and from some of the positions, recycle cannot be called but ends cross fold can.
The use of equivalents is a basic component of every caller’s toolkit. It is important to know many and be aware of more. It is more important to understand that things are not always as simple as they seem. Work your equivalents and make notes. In time you will automatically see the “conditional equivalents” and their specific requirements.
Just for fun a few more cross fold get outs. You can figure out quickly which ones you can use recycle to replace and which ones you cannot.
• (ZB) Square Thru 4, Ends Cross fold, Square Thru 4, Partner Trade, Centres Square Thru 3, Ends Pass Thru, Ends Cross fold, Pass Thru, Right and left Grand
• (ZB) Right And Left Thru, Swing Thru, Walk And Dodge, Ends Cross Fold, Pass Thru, Right and left Grand
• (ZL) Pass Thru, Tag The Line, Face In, Box The Gnat, Right & Left Thru, Dixie Style To an Ocean Wave, Boys Trade, Left Swing Thru, Ends Cross Fold, Right and left Grand
• (ZL) Square Thru 3, Ends Cross Fold, Square Thru 2, Ends Cross Fold, Square Thru 3, Trade By, Right and left Grand.
• (ZL) Right & Left Thru, Dixie Style To A Wave, Centres Trade, Left Swing Thru, all 8 Circulate, Left Swing Thru twice, Ends Cross fold, Right and left Grand.
As always, comments are welcome. Have fun and enjoy.