Momix brought grandeur, brilliance, and spectacle to the McCarter’s Matthews Theatre on Saturday evening, April 6. Momix is self-described as “A company of dancer-illusionists under the direction of Moses Pendleton.” For forty years, the group has performed onstage, on PBS, in commercials, and in large-scale spectacles.
This night, Momix had a program of works listed as a “35th Anniversary Creation,” as well as recent works which the dancers collaborated on to bring them to life. There were eight dances before the intermission, then nine following it. Pleiades (Momix in Orbit), began the evening, followed by Tuu (Classics); Marigolds (Botanica); and Pole Dance (Opus Cactus). Pole Dance had dancers move about the stage with large pole-vaulting poles simulating an ancient, thrilling, aboriginal dance. Baths of Caracalla (ReMix) was followed by Daddy Long Legs (a 35th Anniversary Creation) took the stage with dancers dressed as cowboys wearing Stetsons, but with an extraordinarily extended single leg for each dancer. This “long leg” was used to spin, hop on, swing about, pirouette, and it even simulated a machine gun by turns. These cowpokes were by turns grotesque, forbidden, amusing, delightful, queer, and unforgettable. The final two offerings, Light Reigns, and Paper Trails were both 35th Anniversary Creations. In Paper Trails, the ingenious lighting effects and movement created before our eyes a dreamscape. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, sacred corn-growing rituals in rural Connecticut, extraterrestrials cloning human beings, and the deserts of Egypt all shimmered before our eyes. Immense splendor bathed the audience. It was a spectacular closing before the intermission.
After the interval, Echoes of Narcissus (from Botanica) was hypnotically performed by Jennifer Chicheportiche. Ms. Chicheportiche was one moment an insect, another, a lesbian flower, then a bacterium. It was a prone version of Bejart’s Bolero. Snow Geese, Brainwave, and Dream Catcher followed in quick succession. Philadelphia’s Brian Sanders was credited with assistance on Dream Catcher. Man Fan (from Botanica) saw an uncredited man control a 30-ft fan of gossamer silk which magically became a brugmansia, a clam, a petal; a phallus; an orgasm; a lily; a magnificent visual achievement. Spawning was followed by Table Talk (both from Classics). Jason Williams appeared as if arising from the wooden table, abetted by a magic trick which concealed one of his legs. Mr. Williams was unforgettable in his role in Table Talk. Every posture which could be conceived by the human mind was effortless achieved by Mr. Williams. Like a spawning salmon in a thunderous stream, he thrillingly attacked the table. His oaken coitus made us hear the cellular shouts of ecstasy emanating from that table as he pressed, pounded, laid upon it, caressed it with his immaculate body becoming one with its wood. He outshone the legendary Salome who needed seven veils. He did it all while wearing what appeared to be swim trunks. Grandmothers feasted their eyes upon the comely youth. They would all have given him white peacocks, or included him in their Wills (as would many grandfathers). It was a performance of immense splendor. Aqua Flora (from Botanica) followed. The final work of the evening, If You Need Somebody (ReMix) broke totally from the artistic seriousness of much of the program. No one in the audience was immune to its charm. It was hilarious. Even the cherry trees outside the theatre pursed their tiny lips on every cherry blossom to giggle.
Momix was a majestic feast of artistic brilliance.
Momix appeared for only one night, but the season at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton continues. If classical music forces you to stroke your cell phone, or drama makes you yawn, the McCarter presents dozens of different attractions. For more information, visit www.McCarter.org .
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