OUT OF THE BOX HIP HOP SHOWCASE (2014)
17/10/2014 - 19/10/2014
11 contemporary street dance choreographers explore movement and its relationship to sound
“Our movement is not necessarily inspired by politics or personal views, more the thrill of exploring the relationship between time, space, energy and each other” — Andrew Cesan – artistic director
A fabulous fusion of street and contemporary dance forms special guest perfromance by world hip hop championship silver medal winners ID Co
Choreographers: The Cesan Brothers, Allister Salaivao, Kat Walker, Paul Edward Wilson, Taniora Motutere, Matthew Moore, Jacqui Cesan, Nathan Kara, And Joshua Faleatua
Way beyond the norm for hip hop
Review by Kerry Wallis 25th Oct 2014
Out of the Box and out of the ‘norm’ for Hip Hop. Talented individuals who usually do not get a chance to explore, creatively, their ideas in a choreographic manner are able to in this show and the results are fantastic. Out of the Box comprises of 12 individual works that take the best parts of a Hip Hop competition dance format- satisfying unison movement, and clear/clean pathways and formations – and blend them with individual choreographic tastes to create a unique and entirely new platform for Hip Hop dance.
The show opens with a work by ID Co Students – ‘Breaking Free’. This work is produced under a new youth mentorship programme initiative and gives the students a chance to create their own work. Cleverly representing (through costume and formation) the question they pose, ‘How do we break free of the restrictions that inhibit creativity?’ a performer wearing a white-collar shirt and tie is surrounded by many black-hooded figures. The use of small group versus large group work is effective and lighting adds to experience. Revealing coloured tops at the end and individual movement the first piece was a formidable way to start the show.
A brief introduction to the evening encourages us to cheer, to dance in the aisles if we want to, clap, yell and most importantly enjoy the night and the atmosphere shifts at once to a hyper-state and you can feel everyone start to energize.
This works well as I feel a ginormous grin on my face as the explosive choreography of Andrew and Josh Cesan, Chevrolet Mikaere and Carlos Skipper hits the stage with Identity’s silver medal MEGACREW 2014, performance –‘A Taste of Silver’ –‘The Formula’. I have never seen anything like it and I can understand at once why this performance was Silver medal winning. The skill required by all the dancers feels like it is in another dimension and when one woman screams out, “again!” I wholeheartedly agree.
Changing the mood to a softer note is the second work, ‘Retrograde’, choreographed and performed by Allister Salaivao. Salaivao takes us on a journey to ‘see the music’ and he captures the concept in a striking way. He walks into a single spot and moves in an effortlessly fluid way while still maintaining a concentrated and formed quality. His entire entity embodies the music and he confidently takes control of the stage. The lighting states challenge where he moves next on stage and works commendably, however, my personal favourite moment is when the lights go black, and he just breathes into the space.
‘131’ choreographed by Jacqui and Richie Cesan follows and keeps to the same opening tones -quiet movements as the performers dance without music and in individual pools of light. The 12 dancers in this work fuse contemporary dance technique with Hip Hop technique well and there is a great sense of camaraderie in this piece when the music kicks in and they each dance in various group.
A trio follows in ‘Shadow Practice’, choreographed by Matthew Moore. This piece is stunning and allows the audience to delve deeper into the fusion of contemporary and Hip Hop dance. Moore choreographs well allowing the two other dancers, Taniora Motutere and Chevrolet Mikaere space to go explosive in a duet while allowing himself to move gently and with great control in a solo. The concentration in this piece is unquestionable and Moore acts as a catalyst for different sections by entering and exiting the stage.
Unsure of when the next piece began, as there was no formal end to the piece previously, five dancers enter the stage in bucket hats while Moore is still doing his solo. They interact well and we can see the humour start to creep back on stage. They talk amongst themselves and at one point escalate to signing, all while making the audience feel involved in their antics. The strong ‘pointing’ motif is used throughout the piece and all dancers are brilliant movers. Choreographer of the piece, (‘Gates of Narnia’) Taniora Motutere mentions he is ‘at the gates of discovery’ and I can definitely picture him standing there and taking his first step in.
‘Catching Motion’, choreographed by Andrew Cesan confidently explores movement qualities and we see just that. Two performers engage in the first partnering section of the evening before breaking into dynamic and regimented solo and unison work. More performers are added and become silhouetted and the movement quality shifts to strong, clean and precise. At one point, it becomes quite robotic and mechanical and Cesan has composed his own sound score to work brilliantly with the movement.
‘Influencing Development’, choreographed by Joshua Cesan is a personal favourite of mine. Four dancers starting in a spotlight, one moves forward and is instantly manipulated by the other three dancers as if on a mechanical production line. A bigger group of male performers joins them and the production line becomes 12 strong. Cesan moves naturally down the line while being manipulated by all the performers. When the line repeats, one by one, the rest of the production line falls behind and they all use mechanical sounds to replicate the machinery. An absorbing beginning to change formation. The idea of influence continues well throughout the work and there are arrays of contrasting movements, which are appealing to the eye.
The idea of manipulation is continued in ‘Who’s in Control’, choreographed by Nathan Kara and Joshua Faletua. One performer in a top hat has clear control over two other performers and the results are brilliant. Each movement is clear and detailed and we envision there to be a force on stage that is not just clever choreography. The stand out moment in this work is a strong trio fight scene with a moment of laughter, as a chair seems unable to be thrown forwards.
‘Transition’, by Kat Walker is on a more positive note as we hear music from Belgium artist – Stromae. Walker’s exploration of what it means; to choreograph to music that you do not know the lyrics to, works well and everyone seems to enjoy their movement on stage. There is definitely a party atmosphere around this piece.
Next is a duet choreographed and performed by Paul Wilson and Kayla Paige entitled, ‘Input/Output’. Wilson and Paige are completely elegant, graceful, and striking performers. Their chemistry within their duet is unmistakeable and their quest, ‘to find if they have the potential be more than they are conditioned to believe’, is awe-inspiring. Set to a remix of the ‘Great Dictator Speech’ they instantly transport you to another world with remarkable lighting and costume. For their entire performance, I forgot I was watching a Hip Hop show.
To end the show all the lights on the stage and auditorium go to black and we are asked not to take any flash photography for the safety of the performers. In an instant we find out why as the neon-light-tuibed suits, colourful and robotic ‘Vospatron’ hits the stage. The movement of colours in the costumes is what I find the most appealing as it is hard to see what the bodies are doing. A hypnotic routine performed by five members of Identity Co and a bright and colourful way to end the show.
Definitely, a crowd-pleasing evening and one I would most certainly watch again, ‘Out of the Box’ and now out of my mind with the possibilities of what Hip Hop can achieve.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer