Te Whaea - Basement Theatre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

26/02/2021 - 28/02/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Accepdance is a double bill of live performance by Amit Noy and Otto Kosok, recipients of the 2021 Toi Pōneke Dance Residency. In two starkly contrasting new works, an intergenerational family shares the stage with a three-metre tall creature. ‘Accepdance’ is an exploration of love, struggle, and their odd embrace.

The Creature is a new dance-theatre work by Otto Kosok devised around the figure of a three-metre tall abstract puppet. Unease and agitation are embodied by the Creature and a cast of four performers, in an interdisciplinary physical fantasia of our complex internal lives.

“Bones crack, they creak, in midnight’s cold embrace. Each heavy breath births a silent hurricane.”

Through an experimental marriage of text, movement, puppeteering, and sound, The Creature traverses through the most complicated landscape we know: the human mind.

Created by Amit Noy in collaboration with his family, Love is Everything moves to embody social life. An economist, a perinatal mental health educator, a dancer, and a schoolgirl come together in cross-generational play. They ask: 
What is a dancer, what are we doing, why are you watching it? What’s excellence, how can we be good? 
Love is Everything incorporates dance, text, and film to mine the richly textured history of a family. We move together to study our body-histories, our stories, our laughter, and our love. 
Ponder the internal with The Creature, and improvise life in Love is Everything. Join us as we explore what it means to be human, in the odd embrace that is Accepdance.


by Amit Noy and Otto Kosok and the Odd Embrace Group, recipients of the 2021 Toi Pōneke Dance Residency.

Puppetry , Physical , Experimental dance , Dance-theatre , Dance ,

75 mins

Phenomenal, My heart is so full.

Review by Nancy Catherine Fulford 27th Feb 2021

Already in the narrow entrance way to the Basement studio Accepdance is unfolding. What do you know about it, one patron asks another. Nothing, only that it is Temporary dance. I’m curious and also keen to find out anything helpful for the ominous task of reviewing. Do you mind if I ask, what is Temporary dance exactly? The speaker has a velvety French accent. Oh, I think I say it wrong – contemporary dance. You know – abstract and all that. Another patron comments that it is two dances and they are apparently very different. Then it’s time to go in, carefully because the lighting is sparse, spots, tinting the heavy mist mauve and murky yellow. Despite the near darkness people are chatty, excited it feels. By chance I am behind a neighbour and beside an old student. But that’s the village we are assembling in: Wonderfully compact and cross-pollenated Wellington.

The first piece, The Creature, is a voyage, akin to a sea voyage, definitely an inner journey. Choreography and concept by Otto Kosok it was I felt a piece of great courage and something I will continue unpacking for a long time. All up it was a strong invitation to the audience to be witness to the unease of being human, a complex matter at the best of times. How does that happen?

We are brought out of darkness by a single swinging lantern. In the distance is a hammering rhythm – people at work? The lights lift to reveal a crew of five dancers/sailors lilting and rolling on a deck with their lanterns. They disappear and reappear, their faces peer out at us huddled on a wet and stormy night.  Raucous voices unify in a chant, which becomes a sea shanty with all the rhythmical repetition this usually entails. “I’ll eat when I’m hungry and drink when I’m dry. If you don’t give me rye whiskey I surely will die.” I’ve sung sea shanties. This was different.  Perhaps more authentic and not just a bit of fun in a pub. This was seriously high-spirited frustration. In body and sound this crew are tormented, contorted, twisted. They move with enfolding angst. “If you don’t give me rye whiskey I’ll lay down and die.” The working class angry at their burdens and the injustice of it all? The demon drink with its hands around your neck? So many ways this could be read. The word ‘die’ comes back again and again. 

A central character, held inside a conical down spot, (?) is channelling the worst of it on our behalf – twitching, convulsing – the inner confrontation we have with our lot – whatever that is. More text – linking to death – this time lyrical. ‘My antidote to death is to eat stars. I suck them from the sky… pepper hot.’

And then we meet the Creature. Lanky, sparse, bamboo limbs and scales of black paper, she feels like a lonely dragon. Puff the magic meets Faust kind of dragon.

I struggle to make sense of The Creature in this context. But then why resolve. I was ecstatic in the journey. And besides where would we find mythical creatures if not in maritime tales of wild storms and a wrestle with death.

The lighting was superb. Later in the piece the relationship between the Creature and the protagonist moves to the back of the space and is seen in silhouette. For me this left more room to enter this story as myself – trying to talk to my dragon.

I loved the relationship between theatre and dance. It carried me. I plan to go again just to see those story-full images fading in and out of the mist – thunder cracking – hooded faces – desperate eyes. And for the dance of it – the melding of bodies and fear and effort. It was a dark piece to be sure but so rewarding and transcendental – as the person in the line forecasted – there was abstraction to be sure. The production values were absolutely top notch. I would like to see a longer version where moments are pulled out into a wider dance-scape. Meanwhile I definitely recommend going along to be taken on a journey. 

Love is Everything Imagined and mapped by Amit Noy. If the question was how much joy can you pack into one dance performance the answer would be – This much! Love is Everything is my new yardstick for joyfulness.

Four dancers – one family – a connection to one’s culture and an invitation. ‘Notice your experience of seeing this.’ I noticed I felt happy, joyful and jealous. Why couldn’t I have a family that knew how to connect like this, that really saw each other. That could be this creative collectively. Maybe I do have. Maybe we’ve just never tried – this hard. These people clearly worked really hard. They forged common ground through their bodies and how they move them, alone and in combination. They explored every combination possible with a mother, a father, a son and a daughter. (Another son joined in the dance virtually at one point which was like warm buttered toast.) And oh how they danced. The Von Trapps had nothing on this crew. But they were anything but matchy matchy. Individuality was a feature of this highly diverse dance work. There were moments where I could see that brother and sister were cut from the same cloth but otherwise everyone was shining in a completely different light. Having said that, the fact that this dance loving family lived for many years in Hawaii and that Liora, the mother of this troupe is an experienced teacher of Hawaiian dance was most probably a factor in imparting a beautiful fluidity and grace across the clan – except for dad who remained more funky town. A personal highlight was seeing a video of Amit performing a Hawaiian dance on the beach in Hawaii that he had choreographed as a 6 year old while he performed the same dance for us live. In this moment I felt sure that this show was always waiting to happen and I was witness to the culmination of a great love of dance and family and culture and life that will never leave me. The courage, authenticity and dance-dedication of this family has inspired me to think of other ways of connecting up with the people I love that may not have occurred to me before. And for this I am very grateful. 

The young people beside me exclaimed afterwards – That was phenomenal, My heart is so full. That was so beautiful.


So the other person in the line was right – two very different shows, nothing temporary about it, get yourself there.


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