SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

10/05/2016 - 11/05/2016

TAPAC - The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Auckland

02/03/2017 - 04/03/2017

Auckland Fringe 2017

Production Details

A modern dance-theatre work from some of New Zealand’s top Commercial dancers. An edgy, heart-warming, Fast paced dance adventure with high energy story telling.

A tale of Love; how it is found, lost, and in turn created.

Inspired by the story of Artemis (the Greek goddess of nature and the hunt), conceived through a scandalous affair between the arrogant Zeus and the innocent Leto. Our tale follows the chaos surrounding this unrequited love and its consequences. How did Artemis become the savage goddess she’s known as?

Translated, the spelling of the name “ARTIMUS” means:

“Follower of the goddess Artemis”.

This translation has allowed us to create and devise our own perceptions of this Greek story.

how dates and times:

Thursday 2 March, 6.30pm
Friday 3 March, 6.30pm
Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm

Running time:
60 Minutes

General Admission – $25

Tickets available now!

Artimus - Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge
Leto - Lauren Man
Zeus - James Luck
Hera - Georgia Elson
10 other company dancers as ensemble characters, socialites and animals

Dance , Commercial dance ,

60 mins

Artistic liberties taken with mythic tale

Review by Carrie Rae Cunningham 05th Mar 2017

There was no programme for me to look at, so I had to go online and fish for details about the cast and the concept behind Burning Man’s production of Artimus, which takes many liberties with its interpretation of the Greek legend.  James Luck and Rebecca Schoonbeek -Berridge have choreographed a mighty spectacle of a show.  They also deliver stand-out performances as main characters in the work.  Other key characters also shine – read on.

Those artistic liberties I mentioned before come swooping in from the beginning.  Ancient Greece is a New York-esque metropolis – Zeus (Luck), his wife Hera (sensual ice queen Georgia Elson) and a chorus of black-clad dancers are gangsters ruling the Big Smoke.  Enter wide-eyed and naïve Leto (Amanda Macfarlane nails this role superbly), obviously fresh off the bus from some small mid-western town, who gets easily sucked into the bright lights, meets charming Zeus, goes on a big-city bender, rubs Hera the wrong way and… well, you know the rest.  At least I hope you do because in the event you are unfamiliar with the story of Artimus you may be in trouble (I’m gonna say it again – no programme!).  However, the initial plot of the storyline is fairly easy to follow so you’d be alright to figure it out without any historical reference.

That is, until you get to the point where Leto gives birth to dancing, tunic-clad huntress Artimus and then you’re kind of on your own.  Schoonbeek-Berridge brings a dynamic energy to the stage as the title character, her stellar jazz technique clearly on display as the fresh, young goddess of the hunt.  One of the chorus, dubbed ‘Boy/deer’ aptly portrayed by the nimble and lithe Duncan Armstrong, befriends Artimus and becomes some kind of consort/love interest (as the Boy part of his character).  Leto is having none of it for her daughter (in one version of the legend of Artimus she is supposedly sworn to chastity), so Boy kills her.  He then assumes the Deer part of his character.  We know this because he enters the stage wearing antlers (!!!).  Artimus, to take revenge for the death of her mother, kills Deer and then looks rather regretful for doing it.

Putting all this pesky plot nonsense aside, this is a dance show.  A commercial dance show.  A jazz show.  Reviewing Artimus has been a personal challenge for me.  I’m not immediately drawn to commercial dance as something I would regularly go and see, which is why I really wanted to see and review this show.  To avoid being overly opinionated about something that isn’t really my cup of tea, I had to be fully aware of the context of show like this for what it is – a commercial dance show.  It’s not contemporary dance.  It’s jazz dance in shiny costumes on sexy dancers in heels hitting every anticipated beat in an emotionally prescribed soundtrack.  Song choices like Immortal, It Hurts and Run Boy Run help the audience along on their way to knowing just what is supposed to be happening and how they should be feeling in each scene.

For what it is, these dancers do it very, very well.  The entire cast are all clearly trained to the nth degree and know how to work that stage presence.  I applaud their skills as performers.  Artimus was choreographed to wow and entertain, to send people away from the theatre with a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye.  A production like this would be a huge hit on a cruise ship, in a casino, as part of corporate entertainment or in an advertising campaign selling phones or expensive perfume.  And the truth of it is (and you can make up your own mind as to whether it’s a sad one or not), is that commercial dance productions like this are where the dance industry actually makes money for its dancers and choreographers instead of forcing them into poverty.

 Artimus is a delightfully entertaining night out.  Just sit back and enjoy the show.


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Debut project ends on a high note

Review by Roxanne de Bruyn 11th May 2016

Inspired by the Greek myth surrounding the goddess Artemis’s birth, Artimus is a high-energy, modern production signalling the direction of the relatively new dance company, Burning Man Productions.

Building on the ancient story of Zeus’s affair with Leto and the subsequent rage of his wife Hera, Artimus has a modern flavour, with vintage-inspired costumes and a classic Broadway-style first act. The story is changed slightly, the supernatural aspects of the characters barely acknowledged, and the events playing out to new, disturbing outcomes.

Opening with an exciting, twenties-styled ensemble piece, the entire first act is fast-moving with a hint cabaret. Georgia Elson takes charge as the powerful, conniving and beautiful Hera, while Lauren Mann’s Leto seems to come alive through her sexy, burlesque movements. James Luck is a talented dancer, but doesn’t manage to give much personality to his role, with few moments of believable connection between him and either woman or the audience. This is perhaps due to the many distractions on stage – the items are busy, with large casts and many costume and scenery changes.

The overall effect is dynamic, but sometimes a little confusing. More contrasts between the pieces and some changes in tempo would help; everything is at the same fast pace, and the result is slightly frantic and a bit too much of the same thing. Each dance could function as a stand-alone performance, which makes the transitions unclear and even the contemporary pieces don’t succeed in slowing down or softening what feels like a rushed first half. Nevertheless, it ends on a high note, with Hera confronting Leto and re-asserting her dominance in a stark, dramatic scene.

The second half focuses on the birth of Artemis and the consequences of Hera discovering her existence. This piece deviates from the myth and is a complete contrast to the first half. The story seems to flow better and the dancers demonstrate solid contemporary technique, with some beautiful moments from Anna Brunskill. The ensemble dancers shine in their animal roles and Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge is a young, soft Artemis. Despite her obvious affinity for animals, she lacks the savagery often associated with the goddess, although she dances with strength and energy. Her contemporary pieces with Rodney Tyrell near the end of the second half are very arresting and the performance ends on a triumphant, slightly disturbing note.

The lighting is a bit hit and miss with too many bright, white flashes, which are both distracting and momentarily blind the audience. The pas de deux between Leto and Zeus with both holding torches is an intriguing idea but unfortunately doesn’t quite work – the overall effect is a bit gimmicky and the dark stage means the audience can’t really see what’s happening, which is a pity as I suspect that there was some lovely dancing in the piece.

Overall, a well-danced and enthusiastically performed production, there is a bit of a disconnect between the Latin and contemporary styles, and the transition between items isn’t always seamless. The mixed genres also highlight small gaps in technique for some dancers, although the standard of dancing is generally high. While the dominance on Latin in the first half and contemporary in the second does illustrate the different locations and lifestyles, there seems to be little connection between the two.

Like many new shows, the choreography could use a few tweaks, however the performance finishes on high note and the passion and energy of the dancers is clearly visible. The audience is very supportive and Artimus is fun and engaging, testament to the hard work of the performers. There’s a lot of potential in the talent on stage and I’m looking forward to see what the company does next.


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