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CUDO - Momentum Productions with Malia Johnston
14 October, Q Theatre, Auckland
Tempo Dance Festival 2017

Reviewed by Lauren Sanderson


Momentum Productions’ unique dance work CUDO certainly challenges the norms of contemporary dance - intertwined with a variety of visuals and sounds, CUDO draws you in while pushing the boundaries of the human body.

CUDO is an exhilarating mixture of beats, mechanical movement and sound technology. The choreography is brought to life by mesmerising graphic visuals that allow the all-male cast to communicate through different mediums. The mix of acrobatic, robotic and hip-hop movement explores the vast possibilities of bodies in space and time.

This electrifying new work features some of NZ's top contemporary dancers. The piece captivated the audience from start to finish with a variety of solo’s, duets and group choreography. The night began with six dancers emerging on stage one by one performing fluid arm gestures, this was repeated until one dancer discovered he could control the others through clapping his hands. It was interesting to see how one gesture could affect the entire shift in movement. The choreography soon became lively, as the dancers took turns to be the sound master.

By far the most captivating part of the piece was when the solo clapping became part of the group choreography. Each performer played a different rhythm through clapping their hands and stomping their feet, to which the others would reciprocate. Each step and beat was perfectly in sync, not once did anybody step out of line. The dancers looked like they were having a great time while the audience clapped and tapped their feet to the manmade rhythm.

As the piece developed the choreography became more playful and technology was introduced into the mix. A white box appeared on stage and the dancers travelled to the box, taking turns to step onto it, revealing different musical beats. The use of AV light separated the dancer on the box from the rest of the group, playing with different relationships. As each dancer stood up to the platform, they added their own personality to each gesture.

The all-male cast are extremely talented and this was complimented by the use of sound technology. Momentum Productions Director, Andrew Cesan takes to the mic to perform a beatbox medley using a loop pedal to repeat certain sounds. This was extremely clever and effective, it certainly captured the effect that music has on the human body and allows us to visualise how the different mediums communicate.

CUDO is high energy, engaging and hilarious too. Everything from Ruby Reihana-Wilson’s quirky lighting design to Andrew Cesan’s mix of contemporary hip-hop choreography – we were engaged throughout. It’s great to see the different elements of the arts come together to create a work as magnificent as CUDO. 

See Theatreview Review (Kerry Wallis)


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