Review by Teagan Wilson:

Where would dance be if there was no music? The relationship between music and dance is something most people don’t stop to question, and one rarely gets to see dancers exploring rhythms within the protective walls of a studio let alone in front of a live audience. But Cudo manages to do just that, capturing the talent of six male dancers, with a live DJ, creative projected lighting and a Kiwi sense of humour which leaves you smiling the entire way through. Throughout the piece the dancers show us a journey of what it can mean to create and break sounds, and how this influences their movements. Simply put- Cudo is genius.

The beginning section builds anticipation as each dancer performs a solo totally unaccompanied, within the space of their spotlight. This calm before the storm starts the evolution of the music within the piece as it develops from silence to intense electronic sounds. Working together, the dancers explore the idea of their bodies being instruments and how they can control themselves and each other by creating percussion noises with their bodies. The precision and timing of these dancers is phenomenal and leaves the audience open-mouthed and smiling as the dancers casually flick each other a smile after a particularly difficult and fast-paced percussion sequence that they perform in perfect unison. The brotherhood and friendship on stage is clear to see and the jovial pushing and shoving helps to make the audience feel more comfortable as we are confronted with loud music from the live DJ, and moving light projections across the stage.

The lighting forces the dancers to move and think outside of the box. Literally. Like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Mike is pulled into the TV screen, the dancers each take turns to step on a musical box where they appear to have been pulled into their own alternate universe. The coloured lighting, and music helps to clearly show the different sounds and movements that each dancer experiments with and separates that dancer from the other dancer who is free from the box and accompanying his movements. The words “ha” and “yeah” are projected onto the stage backdrop, floor, and the dancers themselves, which also offers a creative opportunity for the dancers in the piece to play with movements in front of and around these two simple words, and discover how they can be combined together to make music.

Even with the loud lights and music during this work, it is the talent of the dancers that makes it so special. The partnering and trio work is phenomenal in the shapes and rhythms that they are able to make, and the unique style of each dancer that creates such a perfect harmony on stage.

Kudos to Cudo for producing a memorable piece that leaves its audience entertained and amazed. Whether you love dance, music, or are a newbie to both, this piece will have you leaving the theatre tapping your feet, clapping your hands, and trying to control your friends and family with your rhythmic powers!

Review by Katie Goodwin:

Cudo Is a Latin phrase that translates to a beat, forge and strike, these three words were all shown in the performance of Cudo. With each of the six men’s bodies moving in perfect time to every beat heard, even the ones created by themselves. With the majority of the live percussion being made using different aspects of the dancers bodies, it makes the audience sit in awe at how these dancers are able to dance to their own music while engaging every audience members attention for a full hour.

Followed by the incredible isolations, smooth transitions and fluidity of movements each experienced dancer brought to the performance, was abstract lighting projections that filled the stage. Each time a new projection would come through it managed to perfectly compliment the sounds and movements the dancers were creating. Every beat made followed by every element of their bodies being used, created a moving image that mesmerised my eyes for a well entertaining hour and i’m sure it did the same for other non dancers in the audience.

The aspect that I was curious about most was the tap being incorporated into this urban contemporary piece. They way they used various movements with their feet to create tunes was exceptional and definitely a very different way to see how these two very different styles complimented each other.

The energy these talented and versatile performers put into each step poured into the audience making us feel a part of the sounds inspiring their movements. The sweat on each mens backs, bright red hands from slapping or clapping their bodies and the roar of applause at the end of the show completely reflected the outcome of their original, creative performance.

Review by Kaitie Bengston:

The performance “CUDO” is ‘an exciting mixture of urban beats, mechanical movement, AV and sound Technology that take urban contemporary dance and enhances it with sound and visuals to draw the audience into the minds of beat makers and breakers.’ This performance consists of six of New Zealand’s top urban and contemporary dancers who never left the stage, 5 of which are members of the World Champion (2015 and 2016) and Hip-Hop World Champion Crew; Identity Dance Company, and one DJ, Malia Johnston striking incredible beats and choreography that complement each other perfectly. This unique and comedic piece was absolutely incredible and shows a true growth and development of dance and the real connections between the speed of the beated music and the choreography. You can tell that every dancer appreciates and completes every movement to their best ability, right to the very ends of their fingers, and loves every minute of it. I absolutely LOVED it! This piece began to signify that ideas community and interaction was manipulated into fusions of urban contemporary interesting and wicked choreography. These include strong and effectively disconnected isolations, contrasting slow and smooth movements and fast and creative shapes where the dancers stay connected like a puppeteer and its master.

What I found really interesting and unique was that they used body percussion like stomping, rubbing hands together quickly, clapping and slapping to create a hypnotising sound that made the dancers move. In other words, they portrayed an action and a reaction idea; like every stomp or sound made by the dancers acted like an earthquake that shook the other dancers. Each of the dancers took turns in controlling the other dancers and presented a cheeky/comedic character which they projected using breathed laughing and “yeaaah” noises, clearly enjoying the moment. I really loved this idea because it introduced the characters and intentions of the dancers straight away and allowed us as the audience to completely understand and enjoy the dancer’s response to the sounds. Also, I had never seen this type of body percussion and storytelling before and it was really refreshing and intriguing, and as a dancer and choreographer myself, I walked away completely inspired from this performance about this new type of exploration through movement.

The dancers completed movement that was outstanding and showed a great contrast of fluid and weighted movement of the contemporary dance to the insane strength and quick isolations of the urban hip-hop style. For example; at the beginning of the performance, spotlights slowly grow singularly in the darkness to reveal smooth and flowed contemporary dance movement like rolling/waving of arms and torso, and deep plies into the floor until all six dancers were completing unique and separate smooth choreography. This contrasted to the sharp isolation movement reflecting the body percussion i.e. slapping, clapping and stomping in time to each other. For example; the dancers used every accent and utilised the sharpness to create movements like simple and effective chest and arm isolations, and quick leg and feet extensions to show that every note had an idea and was purposeful. What I really enjoyed was when the dancers used their head to look around in a circle like a ball had just been thrown which complimented the higher pitched ‘techno’ sound. I really enjoyed how the choreographer created interesting movements that reflected the vibrating music of the live DJ and projected a wondrous atmosphere as the performance carried on.

The choreographer utilised the space and made decisions very smartly. For example; the choreographer of the dance movement has chosen to use a lot of darkness in the space with little light opportunities which made me watch with more of an open mind and pay more attention to the pathways used in this performance. Also, when light was used, the choreographer utilised the reflection and refraction of the light from the spotlights onto the dancers to create an interesting picture and exposed the creative bends and shapes of the light on to the dancer’s smooth movement. There was also projection of light i.e. Lines, interesting shapes and static images onto the stage that creates a certain WOW factor that intrigued the dancers. Formations and specific angles were used carefully to expose the light patterns and create a geometric expression of creativity. I loved this idea and enjoyed how the dancer’s movement complimented the linear shapes in the atmosphere.

Lastly, in my opinion, this performance took me on a journey of the dancer’s exploration of dance and the fusion between contemporary modern dance and urban Hip-Hop dance. I really loved this performance and as an audience member, it wasn’t like I was a victim of their emotion or movement. Instead, I was a bystander of their adventure through movement and just enjoyed watching in awe. Each dancer had very different qualities i.e. one performed very strong and isolated while another performed quite smoothly and fluid, but they all complimented each other, understood the music tempo and had excellent knowledge of group awareness and choreography. This can also been seen in the contrast between the tension and release of their body through their movement. I would definitely recommend “CUDO” to all ages as this is an incredible piece of art that should be appreciated and acknowledged by many, especially if you are looking for inspiration. I am proof of this as I walked away extremely excited and inspired to begin a new piece of choreography.