Dance Illusionists Momix Set for ’reMIX’

May 16, 2012

By Lewis Whittington
EDGE Contributor

Momix, the high-energy dance illusionists, have a large Philly following, making them a fitting choice to conclude this year’s ’Out of this World’ series at the Annenberg. The troupe is famous for its eco-exotic works, peppered with a large dose of physical comedy. This weekend they perform director-choreographer Moses Pendleton’s "reMIX," a retrospective mash-up of excerpts from the company’s signature works.

But last weekend Pendelton traded his choreographer’s hat for that of a gardener during a touring break. He was planting sunflowers, trying to beat the rain, at his Connecticut studio, when he took some time for a phone interview.

"We’ve been touring ’ReMIX’ here and in Europe and it’s going pretty well," he said.

New works

Pendleton noted that in Philly the troupe is performing newer works, including his "Baths of Caracalla" set to "a Buddha lounge score." This dance is for five women and is evocative of different eras as the dancers’ costumes transform from garments to dazzling fan dances.

Another work,"Table Talk," is a hypnotic acrobatic dance for soloist Steven Marshall performing on a table. "Steven is an extraordinary dancer with amazing physique and very virtuosic. He is definitely at one with his partner," Pendleton said.

They will also perform "If You Need Some Body," Pendleton’s newest piece set to music of Bach. "We are using slapstick, well actually, it’s slap-body, with 10 dancers and 10 dummies dancing to Bach."

Desert flora comes alive

But those who have come to expect Momix’s signature mix of illusions and eco-friendly subjects (seen in such works as "E.C.," "Sputnik," and "Solar Flares") will likely delight in "Open Cactus," one of their more popular works. Inspired by the giant Saguaro cactus of the American Southwest, the piece includes depictions of desert flora, fauna, lizards and atmospherics conjured by the dancers.

Also revived are the "Marigolds," "Moon Beams" and "Aqua Flora" sections from their 2010 hit "Botanica," which Pendleton said they will be touring this summer "in Italy, at the Israel dance festival and then on to China."

One thing Pendleton looks forward to is the response the troupe will get from their Philadelphia fans.

"Philly is one of our favorite stops, we have a lot of fans there and we want to live up to the expectation. And after all these years, it’s still fun for me to sit back and watch rather than stress about everything going exactly right. I hope they show up...," Pendleton joked.

What’s next?

As for what’s next, Pendleton is developing a new work for next season with the working title "Alchemia."

"It is exploring the natural elements, so I’m burning my pagan ritual fires up here, for inspiration and rehearsal," he assured. With that, Pendleton excused himself to return to planting - he had a rainstorm to beat.

"ReMIX" runs at the Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA from May 17-20. For more information, visit the Annenberg Center website. For more on Momix, visit the Momix website.