TMC: Under The Influence

Concert Chamber - Town Hall, THE EDGE, Auckland

14/10/2009 - 17/10/2009

Tempo Dance Festival 2009

Production Details

After their astounding performance in 2008’s Tempo NZ Festival of Dance, That Mean Crew (TMC) are back with Under The Influence.

Crowned New Zealand’s number one hip hop crew earlier in the year and fresh from their top ten placing at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas, TMC are ready to present their innovative full-length dance work for the first time.

Under The Influence narrates the evolution of a company of dancers of diverse upbringing and culture, bound together by a sense of humour, a fascination for video games and a lifelong passion for music and dance.  Interspersed with the tale of a colourful history together, we see a series of flash backs where the dancers explore the pivotal moments and events that shaped their dancing lives and brought them to where they are today. Their tongues are firmly in their cheek as they explore the theme of populism and elitism within the dance world.

TMC Dance Crew have established themselves as one of New Zealand’s premiere hip hop groups, having won or been placed in all New Zealand competitions.  This talented group has also qualified to represent NZ on the World Stage on three separate occasions!  TMC made their Tempo debut last year as part of the Fresh Cuts programme at TAPAC, this year they are breaking out on their own, taking over the Concert Chamber in the Auckland Town Hall.  

TMC Dance Crew have experience and versatility  across a wide range of dance styles, Under the Influence celebrates and showcases their skills and takes NZ hip hop to a new level.

TMC: Under the influence is presented as part of Tempo 09 in association with STAMP at THE EDGE®.

"No B.S – just dance…"

Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE®
Wednesday 14th, Thursday 15th (both 7:30pm),
Friday 16th (6pm)
Saturday 17th October (2pm and 6pm
$25 Adults/ $20 DANZ Members & Concessions/ $15 Child (13 years & under)
Bookings available through THE EDGE – or 0800 BUY TICKETS
(*Service fees will apply) 
80 minutes.

For more information visit 

1hr 20 mins

Washing machine dance puts new spin on hip hop moves

Review by Raewyn Whyte 20th Oct 2009

World champions TMC Dance Crew combine stunning choreography and stage effects

TMC Dance Crew’s Under the Influence is one of the most entertaining productions we’ve enjoyed in this year’s Tempo Dance Festival. At around 80 minutes of continuous, choreographed dancing, this is TMC’s debut evening-length production. It is a huge step up from the short-form competitive hip hop routines which have made them New Zealand champions and world champion finalists  in the past three years, and the next level in their continuing development.

An energetic mix of co-ordinated street dance and acrobatics is spread over three stage levels accessed by jumping on mini-tramps, and the action moves fluidly to and fro. Behind the dancers are video sequences with which they interact, and which provide the mood for each work. [More]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Make a comment

A break-through of a show

Review by Kat Walker 15th Oct 2009

TMC is one of the most talented hip hop dance crews that Auckland has produced. Starting off as a Two Man Crew with brothers Richie and Andrew Cesan, TMC has slowly added on members over the years whilst showcasing their unfaltering unique style.

The crew was crowned New Zealand champions this year at the SDNZ Hip Hop championships, and has competed at an international level several times since being together. This year they succeeded in making it to the finals in the World hip hop championships in Las Vegas.

Under the Influence, performed in the Auckland Town Hall, is the crew’s first attempt at a full-length show and for that reason they should be fully commended for the end product.

The first thing I notice is that the Auckland Town Hall is a huge space to fill, both the stage for the performers and the seating area for the audience. To my surprise the audience packs out the hall, which is great to see on an opening night of a hip hop show.

Unfortunately I think the performance area may be too large for the dancers to fill. At times performance projection is lacking and energy is too low for TMC to fully command the space. Perhaps this is due to first night jitters or lack of preparation.

The stand out performer is Les Mills choreographer Gandalf Archer, who seems to have a natural projection and is the only crew member who keeps consistent high energy in all of his performances.

I feel the performance quality may be been better suited to a more intimate venue. However, the audience – filled with what seems to be more of the general public and contemporary fans rather than hip hop enthusiasts – might disagree. All scenes are rewarded with awesome applause and after the curtain call this lasts well after the performers have left the stage.

The technical side of the show is high quality. Multimedia items are projected onto the back wall and serve as a narrative highlighter throughout the evening. Four mini tramps are placed at each corner of the multi level stage which add an entertaining way for performers to enter and exit (however these are overused at times). The sound system also works without any unintentional cuts. This is a great feat for a hip hop production!

The show starts with a practice-type scene where multimedia images of cellphones pop up with text messages from the crew members, indicating they will be late and asking for practice times. This brings the audience into the true chaos of running a rehearsal.

An important thing to note is the good sense of humour throughout the show. This is kicked off by a voice-over from producer and manager Jacqui Cesan, going through notices and instructions for the crew. Jokes and comedic skits continue throughout different events in the show with much laughter from the audience.

Under the Influence is made up of individual sections structured around each crew member’s ‘influences’ and background. Each member has creative ownership of their pieces from choreography to direction and this shows in the individual styles exhibited in each piece. Each item deserves its own review and for this reason you should go see it.

Technically these dancers are amazing; showing off their individual skills from new school hip hop to contemporary to tap. One member in particular, and the only girl in TMC, Reyna Marie Tafa, exercises tremendous control and execution in all of her new school hip hop movements.

The crew has definitely hit the nail on the head with their new school choreography and technique, however to the hip hop eye the old school popping and locking technique still needs a bit of work.

Flow from piece to piece, and sometimes during the individual sets, is a bit clunky. This needs more work as at times I am left wondering what is happening. There are moments when there is too much to take in and I’m not sure what to focus my attention to. The intention of many of the group sequences is lost. Hopefully this will smooth out as their season progresses. 

Despite these fall backs, TMC should be highly praised for the different ideas they have behind their show. If you have not been to the majority of hip hop performances over the last few years you may not understand what a break-through of a show this is. To carry a full length dance work without any guest acts is a ‘never been seen before’ accomplishment for New Zealand hip hop crews.

Individually the sets possess great ideas In particular crew leader Richie Cesan’s piece stands out to me. The idea of ‘challenge creates improvement’ is portrayed through the takeoff of a video game fighting scene. The multimedia shows the process of selecting all the members in TMC, which brings them to the stage ready for the chance to show off their remarkable acrobatic skills.  

It is interesting to see the meanings behind the pieces and to understand what makes those dancers tick. If you didn’t know TMC at the start, you will definitely know them at the end.

Under the influence introduces a new style of show for hip hop crews in New Zealand. Though the show still needs to progress in some areas, TMC has definitely taken things to the ‘next level’. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council