Choreographed by Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn
Off Broadway, Dance
Runs through 8.12.18
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue
by Ran Xia on 8.8.18
Sarah Nachbauer in Echo's Narcissus, from MOMIX. Photo by Charles Azzopardi.
BOTTOM LINE: An anthology of MOMIX's works through the years, showcasing the company's ingenuity.
The beauty of dance company MOMIX is rooted in their imitation of nature, from the grander schemes of the cosmos, to landscapes of the desert or the ocean, down to insects and flowers. They play with scale and perspective, and communicate for those whose voices cannot be translated into spoken language. Established in 1981 by dancer/choreographer Moses Pendleton, this ensemble of storytellers composes poetry with their bodies and reflects the best of what they see in the world to their audience. For this show, the company performs an anthology of their past work.
Against the backdrop of a starry sky, Pleiades opens the program with a trio of dancers each spinning a pair of long flexible poles with metal balls attached at the tips. They handle the seemingly simple props with agility and grace, and their circular motion brings the Seven Sisters of Taurus closer to us. The second piece, Tuu (possibly my personal favorite), is a genius feat of choreography that explores a perfect blend of fluid movement and stillness. The feminine and the masculine are equal parts in a harmonious whole. By contrast, Pole Dance is a captivating exploration of the lightness and agility of male bodies. The dancers use long poles to boost themselves up, and are at times suspended in the air for longer than you’d think humanly possible.
Dream Catcher celebrates the marriage of dance and design. The dancers are connected and elevated by a carefully engineered metal structure that resembles a three-dimensional dream catcher (designed by Alan Boeding). Precision is poetry in this piece of acrobatic choreography. Narcissus’ Echo is a "duet" featuring just one dancer: using a mirror on the surface of a slope, the piece tells the mythological story of Narcissus’ fatal fascination with his own reflection. The dancer (Sarah Nachbauer) completes the piece almost entirely in supine position, and the bodies separated by the surface of reflection are in constant proximity, yet never in contact.
I've always admired the way MOMIX incorporates humor into their work. In Daddy Long Legs, Jonathan Eden, Jake Stainback, and Jason Williams are cowboys, each of whom has one leg on stilts. The result is a hilarious, delightful mini-Western. There’s also the finale, If You Need Some Body, where the company not-so-subtly pokes fun at the lack of personality in traditional ballet by swapping their dance partners with gangly mannequins.
The anthology is a true celebration of MOMIX’s creativity as a company. Their styles and aesthetics are a blend of Pilobolus (also co-founded by Moses Pendleton) and Mummenschanz. Their choreography is lyrical and classically appealing, but never shies away from using contemporary technology and design elements. Dance shows might sometimes seem daunting to people because of their abstract ways of storytelling, but there is little fear of that when it comes to MOMIX, whose creativity is crystal clear.
(MOMIX plays at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, through August 12, 2018. The running time is 2 hours with one intermission. Performances are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30; Thursdays and Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 2 and 8; and Sundays at 2 and 7:30. Tickets are $26 – $66 and are available at joyce.org or by calling 212-242-0800. For more information visit momix.com.)
MOMIX is choreographed by Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn.
The company is Anthony Bocconi, Beau Campbell, Jennifer Chicheportiche, Samantha Chiesa, Nathaniel Davis, Greg DeArmond, Simona Di Tucci, Jonathan Eden, Seah Hagan, Catherine Jaeger, Lauren Jaeger, Sarah Nachbauer, Heather Magee Spilka, Jake Stainback, Jocelyn Wallace, and Jason Williams.