OUT OF THE BOX (2015-16)

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

07/10/2016 - 09/10/2016

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

16/10/2015 - 18/10/2015

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

20/10/2015 - 20/10/2015

Iona College, Hawkes Bay

13/10/2016 - 13/10/2016

Kavanagh Auditorium, Kavanagh College, 255A Rattray St, Dunedin

03/10/2016 - 04/10/2016

Tempo Dance Festival 2016

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2016

Nelson Arts Festival 2015

Dunedin Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Out of the Box– hip hop with attitude – returns to Auckland with an all-new show featuring innovative work from some of Aotearoa’s finest hip hop choreographers and dancers.

New Zealand hip hop dancers have been hugely successful in overseas competitions for the last 10 years, but after the thrill of the win faded, some wanted another outlet. This show allows these superb dancers to forget the rules and regulations and explore their own creative process using hip hop and street dance vocabulary in a different context.

A fantastic fusion of street and contemporary dance forms, Out of the Box has evolved into a professional, seamless showcase displaying innovative work that challenges the hip hop competition format giving audiences something totally fresh and unexpected.

The cast features eight male choreographer/dancers including Andrew and Joshua Cesan, Chevrolet Mikaere, Matthew Moore, Taniora Motutere, Leighton Rangi, David Setiawan, many of whom who have won silver and gold medals at the World Hip Hop Championships.

Out of the Box is competition level hip hop telling the stories of and by its young dancers, providing opportunities for local emerging artists to develop their skills and create something truly unique.

“…polished, hot, conceptual, charming and cunning.” – Theatreview

“…a unique and entirely new platform for Hip Hop dance.” Theatreview

 Dunedin Arts Festival  2016 at Kavanagh Auditorium, 8pm

 Tempo Dance Festival 2016 – Auckland:  Q Theatre, Friday Oct 7  at 8.30pm and Sunday Oct 9 2016 at  6.30pm

Venue:Rangatira, 1 hr 10 mins (no interval) Ticket price:$24 – $36 (Booking fees may apply)

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2016  – Iona College, 42 Lucknow Rd, Havelock North, Thursday 13 October at 7:30pm – 8:30pm


2016: The cast features eight male dancers including Cesan brothers RichieAndrew and JoshMatt Moore, Chevy Mikaere, Taniora MotutereNathan Kara and Leighton Rangi. This year’s show includes several members of IDENTITY Dance Co who have won silver and gold medals at the World Hip Hop Championships.

Hiphop , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

70 mins

Experimental, energetic and humorous

Review by Kim Buckley 14th Oct 2016

It is a bustling and lively full house at the Blyth Performing Art’s Centre when the voice we hear through the speakers, reminiscent of ‘Tron’, states ‘This is a journey through music, movement and space’. A square spot fades up in the middle of the dark stage and one by one, dancers arrive into the spot, the next always taking the place of the previous by gentle physical persuasion. Throughout the work, the lighting is very simple. Blue state, red state, green state, or square white spot on darkened stage.

This particular work has customised mime, popping, locking, contemporary technique, hip hop and street dance, into a dance fusion that is entertaining, unexpected, experimental, energetic and humorous. In this work, eight young men, some who are obviously technique trained and some who are not, come together to tell us their own unique story of dance.

Visually, this work can be seen for exactly what it is physically. It can also be viewed as  metaphor. I see the ocean breathing as a trio moves in a particular way for an elongated period of time. There is a nod to reaching for political asylum by a main character wearing a dust mask. They play with the body as statue, or puppet, or puppeteer or machine. There is clever use of choreographic devices in places throughout the work. A kaleidoscope of movement weaves transitions made from momentum.

They use every layer of beat, melody, harmony, and audial detail within the music to underpin the movement. A clever musical mix of a can opening, together with the sound of pouring and swallowing, gives a gratifying buoyancy to it’s movement. The work moves through transitions of high and low intensity with music mostly appropriately placed. I find moments where the size of the movement is too small to match the huge music. The drum and bass drop is wicked but could have been made much more of, perhaps with more bodies on stage with larger movements in unison. I absolutely love the marrying of Jazz in the work. I found this refreshing and captivating. It is casual, cool, lean and subtle.

Finally, the joy of this work is its freedom. They have followed their own rules. This is their vision.  The good-natured humour coming to the audience from these dancers is endearing. There is lots of laughter at the right places. It’s fun and every performer gets the opportunity to showcase their own ‘move’ or ‘ability’.  The fusion is in parts beautiful, in parts unfinished, in parts perfect. This group is young and as they grow their language together will become even more in tune. They have a groovy exit, a Cuban mix. Game over.


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Exuberance, freedom of expression and fun

Review by Hannah Molloy 04th Oct 2016

Out of the Box is a show full of energy, charm, skill, and bounce. The seven men spread and fling themselves across the stage, using every corner, and embody the exuberance, freedom of expression and fun that I’ve always thought hip hop, as a dance form, is about.

The show openswith a robotic voice welcoming the audience and asking for all phones and children to be switched to silent, unless they see something they like. The audience seems to take this to heart – it is a pretty sedate Dunedin crowd with only a couple of appreciative catcalls during the performance but the explosive applause at the end suggests it had been bottled up only for the sake of manners! There were laughs sprinkled throughout and collective intakes of breath at some of the spectacular jumps and flips.

The choreography makes me think of a series of scenes from films – sci-fi, action, spy, horror – as the dancers manipulate each other and swept from individual movements to beautifully synchronised sequences. There are quite a lot of robotic and puppetry-type moves but these are interspersed with lots of humour between the dancers and fantastic facial expressions, some of which I think were part of the choreography and some perhaps exertion!

The lighting is sharp and crisp, with the bold monochromatics shaping their silhouettes and leaving no room for error. The music is heart-starting and high energy all the way through, including a little diversion into some jazz. The heaviest dubstep tracks seem to bring out a rage in the dancers that gives the performance an extra vitality.

There are a couple of moments during the show that I found myself thinking, “this is how other dancers find inspiration for their own work. They watch other people’s imagination and expression of identity and they see how they can mould it into their own creativity.” It perhaps seems obvious or naïve to dance practitioners, but I don’t remember having that thought process before in the context of dance – not being a choreographer myself might explain it but it felt like a little epiphany in my experience and understanding of dance creation and expression.


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Visually phenomenal inventive dancing

Review by Janet Whittington 21st Oct 2015

Crikey! An extended standing ovation. In Nelson! Not to run down a conservative little Kiwi town, but I know we only stand for the most impressive dance groups in the world.  And not in the serious way we see in American movies about hip hop. Everyone is energised, smiling and laughing. Especially those incredibly fit, agile, awesome bunches of inventive energy up on stage. A mix of White, Maori & Pacific Island men, their grins are so chuffed with our response and their performance. And so they should be.

The boys lifted us in stages out of our low key lives. First up, one lone dancer quietly mimes a few minutes of spoken words that introduce the evening. Finishing with “You don’t need any music out there to dance in here”; He holds his heart – and the show begins. On stage, in different numbers, they ramp up energy, displaying their choreographic superiority by holding visually stunning key poses, folding over one another with intricate moves both individually and then uniformly as a group. Humour holds a strong thread through the evening, sometimes in their movements, other times kidding each other. All in black and white soled sneakers, one was ridiculed off the stage for bare feet. “What do you think you’re doing here? Contemporary Dance?  The audience laughs and gets the message. Contemporary is so last century.

Visual variety keeps every dance stunning. This style is about quick movements between one pose and another multiplied by 1000’s more separate moves. Slow and smooth are not common. Think action movie rather than rom-com. They vary the number of dancers on stage, and their attire as well, donning and shedding suit jackets and finishing with baseball caps. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons receives a hip hop do-over. Even the little boy in front of me sat up in his seat to watch the movements to the furiously racing violin section. A 1960s jazz number begins and gets a hip hop beat overlaid into it. They are an awesomely clever group.

It is a full house of all ages. So the boys take time to explain hip hop to the parents and grandparents of the enthralled children. 140 beats per minute, starting with the kick & snare pattern, then hi-hats and symbols, modulated by a baseline, add sound effects, finally cranking up the volume with the drums. One dancer takes a different move for each, and we can all see how they can dance differently to a separate part of the music and still stay in synch with each other. The inventiveness of this group is visually phenomenal.

The closing dances of the show are more than full on. A fabulous unrelenting onslaught of high energy music and dance from 8 amazing performers at the top of their game.

Andrew Cesan won NZ Young Performer of the Year, and as Identity Dance they won the silver medal in the Las Vegas World Hip Hop champs in 2013. Thrashing the Americans at their own game takes some doing. These guys are a must see.


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Pushing the parameters of street dance

Review by Camelle Pink 17th Oct 2015

In its fifth year running as part of Tempo, Out of the Box continues to showcase New Zealand street dance artists through a platform that allows them to push their artistic development. I for one, enjoyed seeing many of the familiar performers collaborating to pull together works that ranged through polished, hot, conceptual, charming and cunning.

There is definitely some pushing of the parameters of how street dance is used, and how we as an audience come to know it.  Choreographies utilise multiple modes to cover a range of themes that we can identify with. It is refreshing to see works being developed beyond street dance sets for competitions. Can we call this the expanded field of hip hop? Perhaps that is very ‘contemporary dance’ of me. This show is as much a stretching of the mind for the audience, as it is for the choreographers and performers. There is a feel that the performers are luxuriating in their movements, and that it is satisfying.

The first work of the show builds up the excitement for the rest of the show. As a competition dance, Feel the Vibe displays Prestige’s smooth, light footed skill. The music and the moves have me wanting to get up and learn a set with them. Choreographers Allister Salaivao, Jesse Elliot, and Omar Nasim certainly have an eye for sharp formations and fluid transitions. There is a sense of everyone jamming out together, and having a good time.

I would be curious to see more, or have more background on Letting Go, a dynamic duet which  is an excerpt from Tauwhirowhiro – A Changing Moon. I found it  interesting for the performers capacity to move with a distinct street dance feel without the music carrying the movement. The girls hold their roles well.

The work Artaffect paints the dancers into the movement sequence in a way that reveals hip hop culture. It offers the question of the ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ of art in your day to day life. At times the link between the screen graphics and dance sequences feels a touch weak or premeditated, but with the performers’ engaging presence, this can be forgiven.

Chimes, and darkness. A flashlight zooms in on ae shadowy figure in Leave it to Me. This is a striking performance by Matthew Moore. The description of this work is fitting: we get a sense of weight and the responsibilities that we lay on others. This is compounded by the audible pause by the audience at the end of this piece, a pause that seems filled with questions. I wonder what the significance of the mask, or being masked is? The connects and disconnects between lighting states are striking.

Kat Walker and the Hopskotch dancers often bring something unexpected to the stage. In Pieces we are introduced to a work that has an isolated feel -even though it is a group piece. At times the music speaks louder than the movement. However, the dancers tackle the heavy subject of depression with maturity and energy.

Freshmans Dance Crew bring Living Rough to life in front of our eyes, a light and humorous work drawing many chuckles from the audience.. They constantly create a sense of play on the stage while demonstrating their partnering skills and ability to connect with the audience.

There is a simple and effective formula to Jacob Yarr and Ken Vaega’s piece What is Normal Anyway? They are captured in their own beams of light doing sleek solos that celebrate their individual capacities for movement. This work showcases the individual flair that dancers develop when working within the street dance genre.

Andrew Cesan asks a poignant question of hip hop culture in Ego Trippin. Each dancer has a turn indulging their ego in the spotlight. Again, the light sense of humour in this work keeps it moving along. I think what makes this work interesting is seeing the guys move in a less rigid, but equally calculated manner.

5 More Minutes starts with street noise, blue lighting, a box, and a pillow. It draws in the audience, creating a comical re-enactment of an alarm clock and someone trying to sleep. It is a well thought out trio.

The dancers really make Shotgun Next come together and become a cohesive piece. In this light performance we can imagine these guys actually fighting over their Playstations, or Xbox. As is expected, the dancers demonstrate their impressive holds and stamina.

Although not strictly what I would term street dance, Kayla Paige and Paul Wilson combine to make Bio Molecular, a mesmerising performance that has a distinctly urban contemporary feel. The simple costuming enhancesthe performance which has a hypnotic quality.

The final piece Ripple builds a series of interesting shapes and relationships through choreographic play. The moments that stand out are the simple movements that are adjusted with direction change that sit amongst engaging group work.

I am always impressed at these choreographers’ capacities to work large scale, with so many bodies on stage. This year’s Out of the Box is no disappointment. So many of the dancers shine in this show. All of the performers and choreographers should be proud of the show they have created for Tempo this year. It is testament to all the wonderful ideas, collaborations and dancing that is happening all the time.


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