Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

14/10/2017 - 15/10/2017

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

23/10/2017 - 23/10/2017

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

21/10/2017 - 21/10/2017


Tauranga Arts Festival 2017


Production Details

CUDO (Latin): to beat, strike or forge.

CUDO takes the constructs of urban contemporary dance and enhances them with sound and visuals to draw you into the minds of the beat makers and beat breakers.
The cast, featuring members of internationally acclaimed hip-hop crew Identity Dance Company and the Cesan brothers, creates and reacts to live music productions with graphics manipulated in real-time allowing choreographic ideas to expand and flow between the mediums; constantly pushing movement boundaries with acrobatic, robotic and liquid hip-hop movement. 

CUDO is also being presented by Tempo at Tauranga Arts Festival on Sat 21 Oct and at Nelson Arts Festival on Mon 23 Oct. Special thanks to Suzanne Smith and Bruce McClintock for their support.                         


Sat 14 Oct 8.30pm
Sun 15 Oct 6.30pm
60 mins
$25.50 – 40.00*
*Booking fees apply


Saturday 21st October, 07:00pm
Addison Theatre, Baycourt
Adult $35, Student $20 (TECT $28, $16)


Dancers: Josh Cesan, Nathan Kara, Taniora Motutere, Jackson Turae, Paul Wilson, Jacob Yarr

Soundtrack: Andrew Cesan

AV: Harley Campbell, Rowan Pierce

Hiphop , Dance , Commercial dance ,

60 mins

An incredible display of fitness

Review by Lisa Allan 23rd Oct 2017

CUDO is an urban contemporary dance show. It is performed by six dancers, a DJ and an AV team – all male.  

Starting in silence, CUDO captures my interest immediately. I am taken to an inner space. A sacred space. A space where one can connect to their own rhythms and to the rhythms of the Earth. One by one the dancers are revealed, each moving to their private tune, enjoying their bodies and celebrating the unique ways in which they move. This is one of my favourite aspects of this show.  

Another is the crowd-pleasing body percussion sequence. Starting simply and growing to a complex and layered conclusion, the dancers exhibit a beautiful sense of connection and concentration. They play with one another and the impetus for movement shifts from the inner to the outer.  

A local who is involved in the dance scene says to me (after) that at times it’s like “peering into the future of dance”. The electronic sounds and mind-bending projections that we jump to next feel very much like we’ve sped through time, into a completely different reality. The natural progression from the body percussion sequence seems to me to be the exploration of percussion with other bodies, then with other surfaces, perhaps even bringing in some percussive voice work before sliding into the rhythms made by machines.

I understand that CUDO is a new work. As it develops I’d love to see more attention given to the overall stage picture. With six bodies to play with there are many possibilities for creating surprising and different spatial relationships. I’d love to see more connection between the dancers and a rigorous exploration of the space as three dimensional. I’d also ask each dancer to really know why they are dancing and to let that pour out of them.

The piece is an incredible display of fitness and a sequence of extreme tempo escalation receives warm applause from the audience. 

There are some stunning moments that deserve mention: the slow motion throwing of an energy ball and the elastic effect it has on the other dancers; anytime a dancer leaves the ground; the sneaky backwards somersault at the back of the stage and the moment after the bow, where each dancer gets to sign the stage with their unique brand of movement.

The piece ends with a scattered standing ovation and many exclamations of “I want to go dance!” 


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Standout lighting, dance under development

Review by Emily Mowbray-Marks 22nd Oct 2017

It’s not for me.
But it could be for you?

This is a dance show.
An urban contemporary dance show, described as acrobatic, robotic and liquid hip-hop hybrid movement.

I concur with the robotic and liquid hip-hop and would have liked more acrobatic.

This show feels ‘underdone’, like it’s fresh off the press, and would have benefited from further edits.

The lighting was a stand out feature. Haze, strobe, and lighting effects so cutting edge I have not a clue how to jargonise them. Incredible shapes, grids, words, projected onto the ‘black box’ the stage, and the performers. Tino pai to Ruby Reihana-Wilson for deeply theatrical, daring and fresh lighting. At times the dancers felt like a mere canvas to project upon, almost like the dance was secondary to the visual light-art. The lighting standout moment being the cobalt blue ‘crackle’ projected onto the bodies of the all-male dance crew. The colour and somehow sparkle of moving light was like TV static from the 80s, after the kiwi went to sleep. Mesmerising and puzzling – how did they do that!

Before unravelling the show I will say this. I spoke to a mother of a 12-year-old who is learning to beatbox, they were on a Mother-Son Festival date, and he was positively fizzing post-show. She was beaming too, having been on-to-it-enough to find something her pre-teen son L. O. V. E. D. Loved. With a capital l.

I could tell I wasn’t current enough, wasn’t street enough, probably possibly perhaps wasn’t plain old, young enough to appreciate this dance/light show.

Watching it helped me articulate what I do love about a dance show though.

I love lyrical music, that i somehow, somewhere recognise.

I love ensemble.

I also love the Bring it On Dance Comp, which feels somewhere in the arena of Cudo’s form of dance.

What sends me into cheer with the aforementioned comp is the camaraderie, the ensemble, the punch of unison, the power and energy generated of ‘together’ juxtaposed with the peaks of rivalry with the ‘solos’ that spike all of the above. The moments when a performer POPS, when we get to see their personality, their flair, their uniqueness. I love the sense of joy around each performer giving it their best, vying for our adoration, us, the stunned audience. I’m thrilled by the striving to be the best. I love observing the performer beaming as they hear us roar with applause. The pride. The beautiful dialogue between hip-hop dancer, urban dancer and audience. The symbiosis.

This show didn’t allow us this.

One of the most dynamic parts of the show was the freestyle curtain call, which did what the paragraph above describes.

Somehow I feel (this version of) Cudo was trying to be something it isn’t, and in doing so stifled the art form’s own essence. It was trying to be too inventive, too narrative, too sophisticated like a riddle, or maybe all of that too soon, and simply needs more time to refine?

The highlights apart from the lighting were seeing an all-male cast on stage together being a crew of confident dancers of Aotearoa. The show has ‘chapters’ of ideas or games. The person who accompanied me wondered if each chapter could be shorter. The show was trying to be clever by inventing games by using performer made rhythms, or the rhythms of the recorded / live music to ‘conduct’ how the dancers’ moved. My theatre partner and I grew tired of the game quicker than the choreographer did, and wanted the game to end sooner. The most enthralling chapter was where the dancers stomped, clapped and slapped intoxicating rhythms of their torsos, making the most beautiful of music. Clearly influenced by the Samoan Slap Dance and harking back to Gregory Hines in the film ‘Tap’ or moments from Stomp, this body-made percussion could have lasted all night.There were moments we were transported to Spain with their flamenco-like triplet-rhythms. And other moments Michael Jackson’s ‘Who’s Bad?’ was conjured.

I kept thinking I wish I’d tried this style of dance to know how hard it was, because these dancers did make it look effortless.

Or was that part of the problem, it looked effortless. There needed to be more drama, more ‘wow’, more acrobatics, more competition?



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Potentially phenomenal

Review by Kerry Wallis 16th Oct 2017

CUDO explores ways in which movement can create and react to live music while expanding into the realm of graphic-projections, and how the two can converse on stage. Unfortunately, the relationship does not quite come across but I can see the potential.

Individual spotlights wake the six dancers from stillness and they move in silence until one dancer discovers the creation of sound through clapping. From this clap, which halts all movement of the other dancers, we watch the investigation into ways the sounds made on or through a body affect other bodies on the same stage. Each ‘sound master’ has a unique way of manipulating the others and once all performers have had a chance at this manipulation, they break into the next section.

This next section reminds me of Stomp and the way that company’s performers use body percussion to create phrases. The CUDO dancers move into a dance circle scenario where they continue to take turns playing with the rhythms created before a square white platform appears on stage to introduce the AV element of the performance.

The audience has been glued to every movement on stage and this is no exception, watching the dancers humorously decide on who will be the first to approach the mysterious, now shimmering square. As soon as the platform is touched, we hear sounds, and this leads us into a journey of duets created by whichever dancer is initiating a new set of contrasting sounds through their contacts with the platform. These duets are a lingering image for me as the sound really seems to evoke the movement of the duet partner.

The duets break down and live music is produced on stage by Momentum Productions Director, Andrew Cesan. His music is captivating and we see the connection between music and dancer switch to music being in control of the movement for the remainder of the work. It is from this point that I feel the conversation between mediums becomes much more linear and as much as I hate to use the word – normal.

This is not to say that the choreography, music, AV or dancing is sub-par, on the contrary, the dancers and all collaborators should feel satisfied with their phenomenal creations. The dancers’ liquid style of hip hop is mind-blowing, the live music adds a new depth to their stage performance, and the AV is beautiful. What I feel lets this performance down is that the AV does not blend well into the performance.

We do not see the range the AV has until Cesan has left a track running and has finished his live performance. Some beautiful images are projected but at no point am I left thinking this has elevated the piece to the exploration of bodies in space and in time. I have no doubt that the potential is there to create the extra layer needed to blend everything together and truly highlight the movement on stage, but for now the journey has been left as just a fun way to add a different form of light to a show.

Overall an excellent performance from the individual aspects, it just feels a shame that the main idea of conversation between mediums was not developed further. 


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