Joyce Theater, NYC
May 22 – June 10, 2007
Reviewed by Susan Yung
MOMIX doesn’t offer particularly inventive choreography, but it does captivate with physics experiments come to life using the body and clever props. The 14-member troupe, under the direction of founder Moses Pendleton, performed an anthology of the company’s work in MOMIX reMIX. From an eye-popping giant day-glo puppet striding around the stage (a commission by automaker Fiat), to a peppy number using big exercise balls, this polished troupe pushes familiar limits to sometimes astonishing lengths.
The muscular performers look as much like gymnasts as dancers, with perfectly pointed feet and a positive-vibe attitude. Music choices (along with serious choreography) took a back seat to each segment’s visual hook. Most of the 13 sections were short—generally too brief to wear out each concept (although Orbit, in which Yasmine Lee spun a giant hula hoop while executing a modest dance routine, was far too long; likewise with The Wind Up, which featured Cynthia Quinn palming a bowling ball-sized orb while spinning endlessly).
Certain props showed MOMIX at its best. Dream Catcher featured a tubular metal sculpture of interlocking teardrops, designed by Alan Boeding. Danielle Arico and Steven Marshall each balanced one end of the large oblong apparatus as though they were on a see-saw. The curves in the structure allowed just enough space to clear the performers’ supine bodies as it rolled across the stage. Boeding (with Marty Ponte) designed the set for Sputnik in which a spinning hub held three pole/spokes from which dancers suspended like inflated wind socks.
Samuel Beckman, Jonathan Eden, and Marshall, equipped with long poles, explored the multiple possibilities of refuting gravity in the manner of a pole vaulter in Pole Dance. Todd Burnsed and Nicole Loizides, clad in shiny silver space suits, explored the full grounding and leveraging potential of skis, like we all do while waiting for the chairlift, but taken to extremes. Quinn performed in White Widow (which was seen in Robert Altman’s film, The Company), in which she dangled from a rope swing, twisting and untwisting in various positions.
Other works took full advantage of tricks of the theater. An ogre seemed to jump on its head, which actually held the puppeteer’s feet. In Arachnophobia, day-glo stocking legs became spiders, with one eventually consuming the other. The finale felt unfortunately familiar, with its use of split screen projections showing alien creatures formed of floating fingers, arms, and legs.