BATS Theatre, The Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

02/03/2022 - 03/03/2022

NZ Fringe Festival 2022

Production Details

Presented by UKU

Can you see the energy created by the strength and vitality sustained through physical movement? In this world, we are pursuing an emotive journey through energies created by music and physical movement. Can you see it radiating?

Presented by UKU, 4 highly skilled artists collaborate and perform in a highly physical dance work created by Airu Matsuda 憧祈 松田.  Airu Matsuda 憧祈 松田 is a New Zealand born Japanese artist, and is a recent contemporary dance graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance and Ev and Bow in Sydney, Australia.

BATS Theatre – The Stage, 1 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria, Wellington
Wednesday 02 – Thursday 3 March 2022


“Calliope Meets Frank” by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas “Bloom” by The Paper Kites


The rest was originally composed by Joel Smith ◡̈ 

H.Y.P.E is a new contemporary dance show directed by Airu Matsuda, debuting in Wellington as part of the Fringe Festival. 

We are pursuing an emotive journey through energies created through music and movement. 

Just pure vibes. A show to take audiences into a world of physicality and musicality in the hopes of providing joy and a little escapism from the outside world. 

Director - Airu Matsuda 
Producer - Jasmine Day
Composer - Joel Smith
Spacial and Lighting Designer - Grace Newton
Lighting assistant - Morgan Dean 

Cast - Jemima Smith, Luke Romero, Sofija Milic (NZSD student), Caterina Moreno (NZSD Student), Deija Vukona (NZSD Student). 


Dance , Contemporary dance ,

45 mins

Crisp offering that spills out with the joy.

Review by Lyne Pringle 05th Mar 2022

Airu Matsuda hones his choreographic craft in H.Y.P.E (How You Perceive Energy). It is a crisp offering that spills out with the joy of pure movement. At times the intention is also to map emotion and explore metaphorical gestures.
The work fluctuates between these states. Following the map that Matsuda generates, I assume in collaboration with them, the dancers bring an infectious enthusiasm as they surf energetic shifts. 

There is a reoccurring gesture that evokes holding something intensely precious in one’s hands – our world perhaps, held with great care and tenderness with a hint of sorrow.

The movement vocabulary involves sweeping patterns with the arms, undulating torsos, tentative twitches, swooping in and out of the floor with ease, utilizing the pulse that comes from the ground to emulate the vitality of a stirring jig and abandon reason in an ‘aerobics on speed’ section.
Overall the composition of the work is well considered. However the pattern of high energy followed by stillness and low key movement, then repeat becomes predictable – this meta rhythm of the work could be revisited.  It also ends rather abruptly. 

Jemima Smith is the eye in the centre of the work, her movement is precise and embodied, with a whirling mix of strength and pliability. She engages space with gusto and imbues her dance with powerful energy.
A moving duet between her and Luke Romero is satisfying. Utilizing uncliched detail, their movement appears unformed but is rather the result of a complex investigation into the energies that exist between two caring people. They are convincing in their interwoven affection and connection.
Romero is a playful mover who is always fully present, albeit in an understated way.
Seconded New Zealand School of Dance students make up the rest of the cast: Deija Vukona embodies the joyous intention of the work, whilst Sofija Millic brings quirkier and emotionally complex movement intentions that she performs with a unique intensity. Sadly Caterina Moreno was unable to perform due to Covid-19.

Composer Joel Smith has created a luscious sound track, augmented by tracks from Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. He builds a very rich sound that propels an emotive response but at times it threatens to overwhelm the performance. Some less predictable integrations of music and movement would serve the work well.

Grace Newton designs the space and lighting with appropriate style and invention with Morgan Dean on the operating desk. Credit also to Jasmine Day for taking on the important producer role.

H.Y.P.E is just the tonic at the end of a heavy week in ‘reality’.  The intentions of this sweet crew – ‘just pure vibes. A show to take audiences into a world of physicality and musicality in the hopes of providing joy and a little escapism from the outside world’ – well realised. Creatively, moving forward, there could be danger in always lingering on the ‘bright side’.


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