Performing Arts: Dance
July 30, 2018
Fully thriving, with an exploration of the non-human through the human body, Momix Director, Moses Pendleton, had the Joyce Theater’s audience in the palm of his hand during the July 25th performance as well as through the packed Q&A the end of the show. The program included an effective balance of new and iconic repertoire gathered through four decades, all appealing through an extrapolation of imaginative costume and lighting within a playful sense of humor. Cultivating creative inquiry, the series of short works challenged laws of physics, defying gravity, preconceived cognition, illusion, and fantasy.

Pleiades opened with a trio in glittering dresses shape-changing in their pulsing gleaming plastic tubes set against a starry cyclorama. Tuu presented a malleable duet creating flowing configurations which departed from a dancer wrapped around her standing partner’s waist.

Marigolds was a color feast of a transformative costume designs that progressed from gigantic marigolds decorating the floor, to torso-length ruffle dresses, stretching into hilarious tutus, and lengthening into Latin rumba costumes, which turned into long slick gowns with dragging constraining pompons.

Pole Dance, took the audience into an aborigenous themed game of buoyancy with three men thrusting themselves through space using long wooden poles that served as delineating designs, propelling devices, or supporting structures.

Baths of Caracalla developed from a quintet of women wearing pearl white gowns unceasingly shaking their ample floor-length skirts, from which they emerged to indulge in caressing the space with the skirts’ fabric, swirling through the air like revolving wings.

The 35th anniversary of Daddy Long Legs broke the abstract thread with a trip to the wild west, where three cowboys with an extra-long leg limped, turned, and rolled in diverting in shear showtime. Light Reigns balanced crutching figures with deconstructing light-beam tripods. In its 35th anniversary, too, Paper Trails, one of the evening’s favorite, opened as three rolls of paper unraveled with multiple projections of text, which became more evident as the paper trails were lifted, rotating and traveling through space. In the second section of this piece, sets of partners came into the scene as they wrapped themselves in the paper from its edges, twirling until meeting each other in the middle. A series of moving paper sculptures consolidated as one crumpled cloud, from which a madame pompadour figure emerged.

Echoes of Narcissus opened after intermission with a mesmerizing journey of interweaving mirror-like reflections of a ballerina laying on a ranked platform. Snow Geese featured visual effects of white arm lines floating through the darkness. Dream Catcher had everyone at the edge of their seat. An acrobatic duet counterbalanced through the constant revolution ultimately formed an amorphous tubular sculpture.

By picking the minds of those new to Moses’ games, Brainwave erupted in a blackout exhibiting a flat neon-blue rope line across the proscenium, which became a runway of growing and speeding ripples that slid from stage right to left, closing with a returning ripple battle. The audience gasped as glowing white balloon-like balls vacuumed upwards closing a balancing dance by three topless ballerinas enwrapped by dim light.

Man Fan played with royal jellyfish-like configurations created by the enormous dimension of a silk belt fan that reached through the stage’s delimitations. Table Talk offered another comic break, where an intrepid male soloist interacted with a wooden table as a gymnastic vault. Aqua Flora focused attention on a revolving dancer whose costume transitioned from a beaded headpiece to a birdcage, and into spinning Saturn-like rings.

After these series of poetic glimpses, the program closed with If You Need Some Body, an uproarious ventriloquistic ball where the whole cast flung rag manikins mocking impersonating stereotypes.

Overall, Momix’s New York season excelled in a unique combination of exquisite aesthetic and entertainment with exuberant, dynamic imagery, celebrating endless possibilities of minimalistic, humorous, inquisitive, and audacious theatrical dance elements, showcasing them as expressive protagonist and choreographic allies. EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Gabriela Estrada

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