Eye of a Dancer

BATS Theatre, Wellington

10/09/2008 - 13/09/2008

Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

26/03/2009 - 29/03/2009

Dance Your Socks Off

Production Details

Eye of a Dancer is not just a showcase of hip-hop and urban dance; it’s a personal journey of discovery, isolation and unexpected joy presented by an all-female dance crew. "We eat, sleep, drink and breathe dance. It’s our freedom." Be prepared to fill your senses with a fusion of dance styles and interpret the experiences of Seek through their eyes – the eyes of a dancer.

8:30pm, 10 -13 September 2008
BATS Theatre
$15 / $12. Bookings: (04) 802 4175 or

Dates: 26, 27, 28, 29 March 2009
Venue: Globe Theatre
Time: 7.30pm (26th, 27th, 28th) 8.30pm (29th) (Duration 50 mins)
Prices: Full: $20 Concession: $15 Group (6+): $15
Visit Artist Website 

Crown taken from humming to fizzing

Review by Hannah Molloy 29th Mar 2009

They say they "eat, drink and breathe dance." That’s a big call but as Eye of a Dancer starts, you get the sense that it’s not just big talk to sell seats. The atmosphere in the Globe is humming; an almost capacity audience waiting to see the young women who call themselves Seek perform.

It’s a story about teen drama – the dreams and the mundane. It’s a story beautifully told, with the assumption that the audience is smart enough to get it without needing to have it spelt out. In each of the dances, you can see the individuality of the performers but you get such a sense of the cohesiveness of the group. They really do eat, drink and breathe dance and they do it together.

Right from the opening Dream sequence, you can see the joy that dance brings to these women. Sarah Dickson particularly gives the audience a clear message right through the show – she just looks like she’s doing what she loves.

Their faces are expressive, their movements strong and confident. There is a sense of support for each other and an obvious underlying deep friendship that allows them to have fun and to communicate that fun and joy to the audience.

Daphne Seyb’s leadership shows through, from the tightness of the performance to the professionalism of the crew. Maria Salandanan’s energy and fun rouses a notoriously reluctant-to-be-involved Dunedin crowd into clapping with her, a pretty remarkable feat. Lori Graham’s grace and strength shows through with every step she takes.

A highlight for me is the Corporate Culture scene: a row of funky young office girls, totally bored with their lot in life. Their individuality shines through with hilarious expressions and subtle tweaks to the synchronised movements, just enough, never overdone. The choreography is witty and clever and the use of comedy shows these women have talents in more than just dance. A wee girl sitting down the row expresses it best: she lets out a big puff of a sigh; complete satisfaction with what she is seeing and experiencing (at the age of maybe three).

Jamie Fukofuka’s comic character launching into the gentle, soulful song ‘Strength, courage and wisdom’ while cleaning is unexpected and triggers spontaneous applause from the audience. Her microphone has a technical hitch but her beautiful voice has the strength to carry her through and, to my mind, it is even prettier without the mic.

The Auditions scene allows each of the girls to showcase their own background a little, an important and sometimes overlooked part of any dancer’s performance. The range is diverse, from ballet, with Alana Corlett’s beautiful lines, through Emma Pratley’s contemporary dance showing skill and control beyond her years, to Lorraine Frost’s divine Pacific-inspired dance.

The photographic sequence seems to be a new feature of dance performances in a world that squeezes multimedia in wherever it can. While a pictorial history of the crew brings roundness to their performance (and a deeper understanding of how they actually do seem to eat, drink and breathe dance), it is a little distracting. I just want to watch them dance some more. The final clip showing them heading off to their future works for me though: it is clever and again not overstated; once again, the audience gets it.

The composure of these young women taking their applause and their acknowledgement of the audience’s contribution to their place in the world of dance is graceful and gracious. Daphne Seyb’s immediate connection with the audience allows us to gush – and we do. If the crowd was humming at the start, it is fizzing at the end.


Make a comment

Shining talents

Review by Sera Henare 11th Sep 2008

Most young girls train to be a ballerina or a contemporary dancer and after years of practice abandon it to focus on study and get real jobs in the real world.

With the huge following and popularity in music, film and culture, not many take that extra step to devise, produce and direct their own Hip Hop show. But Daphne Seyb and Jacqui Hunia, who are the Producers of Eye of a Dancer and head the Seek Dance Crew, have taken the challenge up.

The gifts they share and their dedication to hard work that pays off through a highly sophisticated dance show.  They have differently raised the bar with Hip Hop and its future in theatre.

The whanau of the dancers create a very welcoming atmosphere, which warms up the dark space of BATS theatre so that when lights go up you know the show is family friendly. What impresses me about this show is the clear dedication to their vision.

As at opening night, these girls are off the hook. They look phat and their moves are hot. The only criticism I would have is that there is not enough dancing, and trust me it is full of dancing. I just want to see more as it is so tight. I can’t help moving in my seat; as infectious as music and dance is you really want to dance while watching the girls. 

The group numbers are the strongest for me as I see precision in the timing; sense support in one another as they move powerfully as an ensemble while still managing to keep a strong sense of individual style and flavour. They have an extremely high standard of dance. They take us the audience on a journey that is easy to follow with fantastic use of comedy and characters that re-emerge throughout the show.

They obviously realise that being dancers they have a good knack for timing and this of course is essential for comedy. It is not just a display of hip hop booty shaking girls, it ventures into different forms of dance and continuity of stories. It is loads of fun and energy pumped out in fast paced movements juxtaposed with freeze frames and slow paced sections.

As dancers, they really extend their body movements out into the space and their use of facial expressions supports some of the stylized movements that are used in the storyline scenes. In the opening sequence, some of the dancers cover themselves in a cloth that another girl lies on as a bed, while the other girls wear reflective masks and gloves and stand in a freeze. This is The dream. Everything starts as an idea. Everyone is influenced by someone. Seek is no exception. 

The necessity to dance is evident in all performers and you know you are seeing people doing what they love to do in their dreams.

Costumes are a main feature and they differently achieve the many looks of hip hop, ghetto fabulous, bootylicious and just plain hot. The show as a whole has a very continuous style. The many themes they touch on flow smoothly from one to another.

A flyer about an audition re-appears throughout the show and is passed on from dancer to dancer through a very funny skit of bumping and tripping and photo taking and cell phone texting all in the section flyer.

It is then seen again in corporate culture, an office of young girls working answering phones and just going through the motions of habitual life. Some get excited about the prospect of auditioning for the crew and pass the flyer around. Then we see the dancers at the auditions.

Sarah Dickson, a versatile dancer with loads of attitude and skill performs a cheeky and seductress jazz number to Chicago‘s Roxy Hart.  Alana Corlett’s pointe dance follows and while she’s performing all the dancers in the crew remain in character and watch in amazement which only strengthens the show and credibility of the story. 

Emma Pratley blows the audience away with her highly sophisticated contemporary number (definitely a girl to keep your eye on). Very funny and talented Li’l Nana Hirata uses b-gal moves and comedy in her audition piece and has the audience in fits as she moves across the stage to a track of sneaker movements and funky beats. Lorraine Frost then moves like the oceans that surround the islands in her pacific inspired dance, displaying fluidity and sensuality within a cultural context.

All the dancers use the opportunity to shine with their own talent. At the end of the audition, Daphne Seyb shows her skills as the girls copy her moves. Maria Salandanan and Lori Graham are the other two dancers who without a doubt can drop it like its hot and every single dancer shows a high level of technique.

A special mention goes to the other performer Jamie Fukofuka, who is used as kind of visible stage hand, dressed in a cleaner’s costume she come on and clears props such as cups and clothes, then sets up chairs and changes the format around for the dancers. As she moves seats around she begins singing an India Arie song, bringing strength, courage and wisdom with a voice sent down from the angels above. She adds such a gentle quality to the show and really engages with the audience and takes ownership of the stage.

The technical crew – AV, Whitireia students Katie and Anton; lighting, Phil Christensen – use projection to show each dancer’s history up to where the Seek Crew are now: continuing their quest for where their future lies. At the end the dancers run off after a high energy performance and a pre recorded sequence of their backs running through the train station to catch a train to their future destination plays on the rear wall.

A message to the audience entices our desire to follow this aspiring group and I find myself realising this is only a pause and not the finale, and the best is yet to come. How much better they can get will be mind blowing and I’m sure if they offer dance classes to young girls who watch this show they could make enough funding to put on their next show.

Seek crew really give you an appreciation of hip hop and you can see its many flavours through The Eye of a Dancer.

The quality is high and the passion to move clearly visible. Unfortunately, this season is completely booked out but I still recommend ringing BATS and seeing if they have stand by tickets or be in real quick next time they have a show so you don’t miss out on seeing some of Wellingtons leading female hip hop dancers.

Huge shout out to all involved with the show.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council