DISCOTHEQUE

Te Auaha, Tapere Iti, 65 Dixon St, Wellington

19/03/2019 - 23/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details



DISCOTHEQUE 
Three female dancers describe what it is to be ‘Missing your Lid’ in todays fast paced world. A subtle play with passing moments in our every
day lives like, Tupperware commercials and makeup advertisements, we see the funny and the fake through highly skilled contemporary
dance.

TIME 7pm 
PRICES Full $20.00; Stu $15.00;,FA $14.00
RATING 18+
INFO/TIX fringe.co.nz


Performed by MISSING LIDS


Dance-theatre , Dance , Contemporary dance ,


45mins

Crowd-pleasingly cliched commentary

Review by Chris Jannides 25th Mar 2019

Discotheque is a compact show featuring 5 stand-out dancers (Issy Estrella, Olivia Foley, Tiana Lung, Neve Pierce and Bree Timms) who were more than capable of meeting all of the demands made on them by their choreographer Holly Newsome.

The performance is a clear crowd-pleaser. There were a lot of young dancers in the audience and at the end, some of them seated behind me were saying: ‘That was so good. Wasn’t it hilarious!’ The things that made this show so satisfying and exciting for them are that it provided everything that people love about dance – tight intricate movement that looks hard to do and that makes non-dancers wonder how dancers can remember it all; toned athletic bodies; confident sharp delivery and direct engagement with the audience; complexity and speed of movement that impresses the average person on the street who likes to come away from dance thinking they themselves couldn’t do what they’ve just witnessed; sleekness and crispness of line and form; infectious movement to equally infectious beat-driven music; quirkiness and a sense that something insightful or clever is being said about something, which in this case is a satirical poke at feminine beauty from the standpoint of well-known clichés from advertising media.

To soundtracks that are mostly electronic, including the use of a computerised voice to read narrative inserts, all the usual dance tropes are expertly used by Newsome from sharp robotic movement, to multi-armed Eastern goddess arms combined with busy hands, animal movement, mannequins and posing, facial choreography, tribal pulsing.

There is beautiful lighting by Elekis Poblete Teirney, a recent graduate of Toi Whakaari, who is well on the way to becoming a sensitive and highly skilled lighting designer for dance. This  is a specialty area that I hope Teirney continues to pursue as it’s clearly a talent of hers.

Through all the very slick and confident choreography by Newsome, the question comes up about what voice she might be wanting to make for herself as an artist? Does she need to pseudo-apologise (as she does in the voice-over) for contemporary dance’s general inaccessibility to the non-dance public who are turned away by the feeling that it’s an elitist, serious art form? I’ve noticed that young choreographers and dancers have a tendency to want to save contemporary dance from itself by trying to popularise it. They’ve become apologists for its abstractness and take on a saviour role.

This worthwhile instinct highlights their love for the art form and their worry that it’s in its death throes. Or that its audience base is too narrow. In my mind, ‘popularising’ contemporary dance as a conscious act can be a bit problematic. While wanting more people to enjoy its values as an art form is a highly desirable wish, trying to deliberately make it ‘popular’ highlights the danger seen in the ‘contemporary dance’ sections of TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance where virtuosic tricks are interspersed with superficial, emotionally-melodramatic fakeness. Fortunately, the fakeness in Newsome’s work is deliberate and used for humorous effect.

Nevertheless, finding an original way to use familiar choreographic languages is the real challenge faced by up-and-coming artists like Newsome when they examine and test what kind of choreographer they want to be and what kind of distinctive voice they wish to create for themselves.

What excites me about Newsome’s performance is that Wellington gets to see more of the New Zealand School of Dance’s excellent graduates. Auckland has for many years possessed a vibrant independent dance scene and is undisputedly the capital of dance in NZ. Welington’s dance scene by comparison is sparse and erratic. This Fringe festival has seen more dance than any previous festivals I’ve attended over the last 5 years. I applaud Newsome and her team, as well as all the other choreographers presenting work at this Fringe, for using recent NZSD grads and showcasing them here in Wellington. We need them to hang around and perform here a lot more. I hope the annual migration to Auckland and beyond from Wellington-trained dancers starts to slow, and that there are more opportunities in the future for young top-level dancers to remain here and revitalise our independent dance scene to rival and match that of Auckland.

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Exploring the female stereotype

Review by Jasmine Susic 24th Mar 2019

Discotheque, Missing Lids

Jasmine Susic, 22/03/19

 

After the funky promotion for Discotheque by Missing Lids, I was super keen to see this production by Holly Newsome, a recent graduate of New Zealand School of Dance with a playful choreographic nature.

Walking in, we are already immersed in the upbeat world of the show, a discotheque track with a strong bass playing throughout the space. Everyone is in high spirits and this puts the young audience in a comfortable space due to the rapidly growing DJ culture in today’s mainstream.

The show opens with a huge laugh over the loud speaker, further setting the fun and slightly outside-of-the-box realm of the show. A highly digitised female recording in air hostess style comes over the speaker and tells us to turn off our phones, to not take photos and to enjoy. This takes a regular theatre necessity into the realm of the show and I think it is a smart tool to bring us closer as an audience.

The first track with a heavy beat further brings us in, and the first flash of strobe reveals 5 strong females standing in blue bras and undies. The darkness that follows builds the tension until the girls, or beings, are revealed again wearing hilarious and terrifying head-to- toe yellow morph suits.

The first group choreographic section develops the fast, funky and quirky nature of the world. The movement references pop culture and mainstream dance culture, with the sharp qualities of hip hop however the morph suits transforms it into something hilarious and otherworldly.

The energy developed immerses me fully in the show and leaves me wanting heaps more. The sharp choreography is continued more in a pose like nature onto the floor, as the shudder of a camera comes over the speaker, referencing the art of selfies with an amusing, glitchy movement vocabulary which is almost alien. An old advert or documentary soundtrack spoken by a male comes over the speakers, detailing things which women should do to their eyebrows and overall appearance for optimum beauty. The dancers, underneath their morph suits have slightly squashed faces with only their eyes and mouths free which references the track wonderfully and is also slightly disturbing.

The music makes quite abrupt changes in many places and at times I found it a little uncomfortable, but I feel this was part of the creative intention to keep audience constantly on their toes and intrigued.

The performers transform into a jungle of flamingo-like creatures and move in a pack flouncing around, depicting the feminine perception.

The exchange which happens between Tiana Lung and Issy Newman is quirky and strong, with Newman manipulating Lung’s body as she recites the digital voice which plays a bizarre string of sentences outlining a female’s stereotypical tasks, likes and dislikes. Newman moves away and Lung continues the same manipulated movement, which is really hilarious and thought provoking, well acted and danced.

The final scene, which shows each female stripped of their suit by the rest of the cast, a dead pan expression transforming into an exaggerated fake smile, is a highlight and really brings home the intention of exploring the female stereotype. The music track boosts the scene to another level of irony, with the 1960’s Tupperware Lady’s advert playing.

It was really refreshing to see a show which aimed to entertain at the same time as exploring and conveying a serious topic. The fusion of pop culture, contemporary dance and references to the past really worked in Newsome’s favour to bring to life the stereotypes of gender in a way which was not trying to be serious, but more to inspire thought. I think humour is a really big entrance point to audience’s investment in a show or topic and I congratulate Holly Newsome for being bold and clever in her decision to commit to this mood, while taking on an important topic.

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The human facade

Review by Natasha Thyne 20th Mar 2019

The show starts with a caution; you may not understand anything at all and that’s all right, all they want to do is entertain you for an evening. “Dancing is just a bit of fun” after all.

Missing Lids choreographed by Holly Newsome looks at the façade we endure on a daily basis and what it really takes to be a human in this day and age, all through the powerful medium of contemporary dance.

It’s weird, wacky and wonderful.

Five yellow morph suits lie on the stage floor in different contorted positions. The techno music picks up and blasts like a nightclub as audience members are bopping along. The dancers are revealed in a flash and straight away I’m hooked and then I’m slightly lost as they take a while in the darkness to get into their super tight bodysuits.

And then they are back and it’s fabulous. The dancers (Bree Timms, Issy Estrella, Olivia Foley, Neve Pierce and Tiana Lung) are so nimble and effortlessly cool, melting into the moves like butter in their strange yellow body suits and nose-less faces. The synchrony in the first few dance sequences is effective, however, tidying up a few small off-timing moments would make the impressive unison even punchier.

The standout for me was a sequence evocative of an office rat race and had me leaning forward on the edge of my seat due to the clever use of hand movements and teamwork.

Special mention to be made of the soundscape, which incorporates everything from traditional dance music to computerised monologues even vintage adverts for makeup and Tupperware, really hitting home those vapid Stepford Wives feels.

The lighting by Elekis Poblete Teirney helps enhance the performance, for instance a watering hole is created when depicting an animal jungle scene about primal instincts and grooming, and later a lone spotlight they all fight for. Other moments of darker lighting are less effective purely because I want to see all of their dancing.

Overall they deliver on their promise of entertaining the audience for the evening.  

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