Show do café

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

28/02/2024 - 02/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Director : Stela Dara Resende Albuquerque
Sefa Tunupopo
Hayden Nickel
Ella Williams
Lila Junior Crichton
Tasman Kaitara

Andança Company - it is our first work

Show do Café is a reflection of the social, cultural and historical influence coffee has in Pōneke and Brazil.

The narrative begins in Brazil and travels to Aotearoa, the story delves into the themes of slavery, hard work, love, hospitality and community. Coffee is the subject through which this story will unfold, unravelling its origins, process and rich history.

The production will artfully blend Brazilian and Pōneke experiences. Prepare to feel the warmth of Brazil and the experiences of Pōneke. This dance show will fully involves coffee, not just as a set prop, but as something the audience will drink, smell, and enjoy during the production.

Show do cafe is part of the Fringe Festival 2024 in Wellington.

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Dancer: Stela Dara Resende Albuquerque
Dancer Sefa Tunupopo
Musician: Hayden Nickel
Dancer Ella Williams
Musician: Lila Junior Crichton
Dancer Tasman Kaitara
Tech and lighting designer: Isadora Lao

Contemporary dance , Dance , Improv , Music , Performance Art , Physical ,

45min - 60min

Nothing like a good brew

Review by Lyne Pringle 02nd Mar 2024

Welcomed by coffee into a warm space. Nice vibe. The strains of Lila Junior Crichton’s gorgeous voice sets the tone. We’re in Brazil, the turangawaewae of show director Stela Dara Resende Albuquerque. Coffee is worshipped, ritualized with the sound of beans shaken in a half gourd. Simple swirling choreography and exultant twirls to the twang of berimbau with snippets of Portugese text, leads into depictions of planting, tending, harvesting. Scooping and gathering with the sound of birds resonating – an agrarian utopia. 

One of the strongest sections arrives with feet striking the earth. Collaborators Sefa Tunupopo, Ella Williams and Tasman Kaitara, bringing their own heritage to the mix, alongside Albuquerque to move with honesty, ease and enjoyment. A dance of the earth – chthonic.

Coffee is spilt, it’s not clear why as it is swept up again soon after. The sound of it spilling on the stage is striking. Bodies roll, caressing the ground as the beans stick to the skin.

Then a stunning sound again of beans tossed in large round wicker bowls. We all join the batucada band. It’s fun. Moves become snappy and dynamic and there is an edge of craziness, abandonment.

Hayden Nickel strokes a sonorous violin, he along with Crichton contribute strongly to the aural and visual scape of the work.
The show has a languid quality even in the midst of some despairing moments later on. Most of the time this is effective – it’s nice to feel we are in a café with the crew ‘chewing the fat’. There is nothing like a good brew and and sharing kai. The audience gets to join in with pastries passed along the rows.

A lament changes the mood. Albuquerque and Williams wrapped together in sorrow. The pain of leaving a homeland. Ella Williams dances solo, strong and curvaceous arms a dance of the ocean to a soundtrack of waves crashing. Lovely. The work of Alvin Ailey comes to mind.

Acknowledging the work of tech and lighting designer Isadora Lao. But in the silence as poignancy resonates, the hiss of the ubiquitous haze machine – why is this necessary? Almost always in this venue it spurts away like an asthmatic dragon. 

Change of scene. Welly and a different kind of café culture. Selfies, laptops, trash – simple distinctions from the culture left behind. 

Coffee culture propels this city too, it’s a valuable commodity – room for deeper comment here, those plundering coffee barons versus the fair trade folks.

The movement style becomes krumpish as the mood falls into a chasm of darkness. Energy, investigation and physical commitment could go further here to delve into an underbelly of existence. Under blue light, bodies lie prone emulating the homeless just outside bedding down in doorways. It’s a powerful image. The work flickers into something larger than it is already – there for the taking if desired or keep scooting on the surface.

Sefa Tunupopo sculpts a poignant solo of hope, rising back to vertical. There’s a whiff of deeper context, the distorted forces at play in this ‘modern’ world.

And yet coming together is healing, coffee beans crunch under sneakers, the crew of confident, warm performers can share a joke together, fold the audience in and finish with an upbeat jam.

Solid first work from Andança Company with an excellent mix of performers. Throughout, movements are simple, pared down and repetitive and the work remains on one dynamic level for long periods of time.

The dialectic between utopia and metropolitan dystopia is overly simplistic. Ideas and choreography are like a sketch, holding potential for a more fully developed work. 


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