Out of the Box - Hiphop Showcase

Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland

08/10/2011 - 08/10/2011

Tempo Dance Festival 2011

Production Details

This project was borne of a desire to create an opportunity for contemporary Hip Hop choreographers to develop and showcase their diverse points of view and artistry in a different environment and to a wider audience than is currently available to them.

Each of the choreographers selected for this programme has a commitment to bringing a fresh perspective and incorporating new movement experiences and genres into a dance form in which New Zealand has gained international recognition.

It is hoped that this experience will encourage other Hip Hop dancers and choreographers to continue to seek new experiences and partnerships to develop and enrich this genre, and, in doing so assist them to be recognised as the artists they are.

Showing In: Auckland Dates: Saturday 08 Oct – 5pm
& 8pm
Venue: Q Theatre – Rangatira Tickets: $30 / concessions available Show Duration: 70 min

Dancers: Joe Ling, Alicia Li, Sarah Fry, Shalom Leilua, Sophie Journee, Jacob Cook, Jacob Yarr, Jordan Vaha’akolo, Jun; Reyna Tafa & Andrew Jones; Andrew Cesan, Richard Cesan, Kayla Paige Middleton Echave, Tracey Purcell, Simon Watts, Joshua Cesan;  Andrew Cesan, Richie Cesan, Kayla Paige-Middleton- Echave, Tracey Purcell; Andrew Jones, Kayla Paige Middleton, Echave, Edward Ong, Simon Watts, Radek Hybal, Joseph Ling, Kamy Mam; Justin Haiu (NZ Dance Company); Simon Watts, Josh Cesan, Andrew Cesan, Jacob Cook, Taniora Moututere, Paul Wilson; Satele Brown, Tristain Pulman, Edward Ong, Kayla Paige, Middleton Echave, Anita Lee, Elena Kluner, Andrew Jones,




Hopskotch Dance Crew - Josh Mitikulena, Kat Walker, Seidah Tuao Jesse Elliot, Jan Jan Book, Thoomas Rose, Joshia Martini, Adam Tafau, Pauline Hiroti, Tama Jarman, Mele Taeiloa; Identity Dance Crew - Joshua Cesan, Jacob Cook, Taniora Moututere, Paul Wilson

 Possue Dance Crew from New Caledonia - Youan Ouchot, Soufinae Karim, Cedric




Aotearoa's hip hop artists - motivated, innovative and unique

Review by Dr Tia Reihana-Morunga 09th Oct 2011

The Q Theatre is a funky space with design and decor that sings style, colour and personality. It seemed the perfect venue to host “Out of the Box”, a Hip Hop spectacle featuring Aotearoa, New Zealand choreographers and Performers. Prior, I had contemplated the title out of the box and how this may be explored within the genre of hip hop dance. What was coming out? Would we see something different? Would it challenge stereotypes? Would it meet expectations? Admittedly at times we give hip hop a rough journey for recognition in the world of professional dance, leaving it to shine on the streets, TV, in schools or competitions radiating in the urban culture of our younger generation. In the past I have attended these competitions as audience member and school teacher to support dancing students. I waited in line for hours to secure a good seat and battled over screams of young ones to watch dance crews perform. So my expectations were informed by these past experiences… Although not necessarily negative they were representative of a common environment where Hip Hop was staged.

Curator Joshua Martin greeted the audience and explained his inspiration for the conception of the show that included providing the opportunity for Hip Hop to move beyond the streets, the competition arenas and take its place within theatres and wider audience. So, there we were the wider audience, as diverse as the Q Theatre decor and the dancers that took to the stage. Over the next 70 minutes the wider audience was delivered eleven performance pieces representing a melting pot of possibility as young artists introduced and performed choreography that reflected various narratives both personal and abstract in nature.

Hip Hop is not easy… it requires skill, strength, agility and discipline to perform it (and its many different styles) with clarity and ease. And, if I may be bold as to holler that we have in Aotearoa some of the most talented Hip Hop artists in the world… talented is not just about big tricks or presenting a street attitude to choreography… Our young artists here are motivated, innovative and unique and I celebrate that we, the wider audience were given the opportunity to support and be entertained. In homage to the kaupapa I would like to acknowledge each work and artist individually…. Yes, all 11.

The show opened with the choreography of Joe Ling. I have seen his work before and appreciate the narrative he incorporates in movement and performance. “Is It Real” questioned the depth of relationships, truth and authenticity as dancers moved in and around in slow party interaction, drink in hands suggesting lost, under the influence fading friendships. The movement was fluid and bodies showed the liquid quality absent from the red cups used on stage. At one moment dancers were still, and as audience member I appreciated the diversity of performers on stage, each unique in stature and style yet bonded in technique and the performance of Ling’s “cool” choreography.

 “Thoughts” followed… choreographed by Andrew Jones. Two dancers, one waiting room and what seems to be a suggestive conversation of the mind… Do they like each other? Will they say hello?

Choreographer Andrew Cesan uses friends, movement and music to create “Still Under The Influence” …  Dancers enter and exit off stage accompanied by the vocal backing of the choreographer. The movements are rougher than the previous performances presenting a stronger mood reflective in body isolations and focus of dancers.

Recent World title contenders Hopskotch followed with “Someone Like me” performed to Adele’s someone like you.  It is an unusual choice of song for hip hop dance, but fitting for an evening of challenges and new experiences. Crew leaders and choreographers Kat Walker and Josh Mitikulena created a movement dialogue of three women, three relationships that move within different hip hop styles/frames. The audience was gifted a contrast of style, story and sound evident when dancers moved within the characteristics of krump expressed to the slow mellow music.  

Recent Groove NZ Finals Varsity Division winners Identity Dance Crew took to the stage next… Four male dancers moved with strength through various sections that showcased their skills. Choreography was a common structure followed in hip hop competitions however less the hype that can be attached to movement, mood and facial expressions. Dancers moved with a maturity that articulated choreography especially a strong locking and popping section. I was appreciative of the opportunity they had been given to perform beyond the competition environment, presenting hours of hard work and passion for dance at the Tempo Dance Festival.

Richard Cesan gave a light hearted look at a night out on the town in his work “The Game”. A choreographic story of boys and girls the dancers courtship conversations were played out in a fusion of contemporary and hip hop styles. Gender divided the young dancers played with push and pull, fall recover, question and answer. Female dancers Kayla Paige-Middleton-Echave and Tracey Purcell worked well in challenging the brothers Andrew and Richie to keep up with their movement dialogue and contemporary technique. The performance was an interesting example of possibilities for hip hop to share the stage with contrasting styles of movement.

“Well’come” Introduced our guests from New Caledonia “ Compagnie Posue” who bought a distinctive style that played with concepts of gravity… They also represented traditional kanak movements within their choreography.

Ryan Carr’s “Be instrumental” choreography again involved a collection of talented dancers moving stylistically through smooth articulate movements.

Choreographed and performed by Justin Haiu “Release Your Robot” was a curious and marvellous example of kinaesthetic puppetry. Introduced as an artist who fuses the contemporary and hip hop genres I felt that Haiu’s performance transcended categorisation providing at times a solemn shift of moods as the audience followed a story embedded in the dancer’s aesthetic ability.

“M’n’M” represents music and movement shared via a collage of tap, live drums, vocals and hip hop. Again choreographers Simon Watts and Johua Cesan demonstrate the possibilities of collaboration. Most entertaining was the exchange between tap and the percussion of Nick Watts homage to the essence of Tap Dogs and Stomp.

Out Of The Box finished with a heartfelt piece from Allister Salaivao called “Hide and Seek”. Perhaps the most poignant thing about this work is the underlying theme that establishes dance as a means of artistic and personal expression for young people. Providing a vent to tell their stories, Salaivao shares his with an ensemble of friends dancing about hurt, love and overcoming odds. The dancers moved with conviction and emotion on faces and I was convinced that they were connected and dancing the story.

After the show in conversation with a friend, she commented on the ease in which dancers performed unhindered with the intense side that can often be attached to professional dance performances. It was a great show…energetic, entertaining, subtle, smooth, different, experimental and positive. Out of Box, was out of my expectations and stereo types. Most importantly it achieved the goals of curator Joshua Martin in presenting the creative talents of hip hop artists and the diverse depth of New Zealand dance.


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