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Synopsis: In July 2013, The Equus Projects spent three weeks in a Swedish forest creating Håstdans på Hovdala, an evening length theater work that brought together four professional dancers, four horses and a cast of Swedish performers with autism. The work is a theatrical portrait of Michael Ehrenbourg, the man who designed a hexagonal stone library to be built as a refuge for himself and his lover, a young squire. Ehrenbourg died before the library was completed but the skeleton of the stone structure, deep in the beech wood forest near Hovdala Castle, are a famous Swedish historic site.


equine theater





Run Time

72 minutes

Directed by

JoAnna Mendl Shaw

Director's Statement

The Equus Projects is a dance company that engages in on-going movement research that explores dancing in real time and the choreographic possibilities for shaping task-based physicality into theatrical image. Their work emerges from the creation of performances that frame the dialogue and partnership between dancers and horses.
Creates site-specific performance works that viscerally engage with the geographic and cultural environments. Their work often brings dancers and horses into shared landscapes.Equine works are created in collaboration with local equestrians and their horses.

While not all Equus Projects performances include equines, their horsemanship training deeply informs choreographic content, and has shaped the company’s studio practice, their teaching methods, approach to performing and choreographic methodologies. They bring a unique inter-species lens into their dance practice that focuses on Physical Listening, heightened merging of sensing and thinking, and strategic decision-making.

All Equus performances are constructed as complex scored events, merging rigorous choreographic material with improvised structures and challenging the performers to function with real time decision-making.

Director's Bio


CMA. Laban Movement Studies, Laban Institute of Movement Studies

Certificate in Movement studies received June 1994

CMA Project: Pre Effort Choreographic Investigation

MFA Dance, University of Utah 1976

B.A. Philosophy, Mount Holyoke College 1969


Contemporary Dance Technique; Composition; Improvisation,

Choreography, Physical Listening Practice; Laban Movement Analysis

Collaborative Process, Creative Process, Physical Listening & Strategic Decision-Making

Functional Anatomy for Athletes, Leadership Training

Kinetic Research & Consulting – Naval War College

Kinetic Research & Consulting – Spatial Intelligence Study, Temple University

Official selection

EQUUS Film Festival - USA - 2014

Country of Origin


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Official Website


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