A single vaka (boat) consists of 2 men and 2 women facing each other. Each of the men have one long stick, about 2 meter, the both women carry short sticks, about 40 cm, one in each hand. Occasionally this assignment is exchanged. On the beat of the music they hit the sticks against each other in a repeating pattern.
In the first movement, for example, the woman to the left (or right) hits with her right stick the top of the stick of the man to the right (or left), then her left stick against his on the bottom, and then her right on his top again, while on the fourth beat they turn around to prepare for the next movement. But many variants are possible. The last hit can be done with her left stick again, while he quickly turns over his whole stick. Or the second hit can be in the middle on the long stick, which the man keeps up as a shield
In the second movement the exchange is diagonally: the men hit the tops of their sticks together, then the bottoms, then the tops again, while the women in the space left over hit their sticks together. Or perhaps the men hit only twice, giving the women more space to elegantly hit their sticks in the middle on the second beat. Again beat 4 is the transition to the next movement.
The third movement may be as the first one, but now the exchange is between the persons in the front and in the back.
In the fourth movement, if used, the women can turn to the public to make a little bow, or to hit their own sticks together, while the men can bump their sticks with a bang on the ground.
These movements repeat as long as the song continues. Various series of movements may be applied to different stanzas, but they fall in either of two groups:
- Eke nou (short eke), where the groups of 4, the separate 'boats' interact with themselves only. In a big performance there are many 'boats' on a row, all performing independently.
- Eke loa (long eke), when the 'boats' exchange performers, the front row for example going to the left and the back row to the right.
Read more about this topic: Soke (dance)
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