On Saturday, Spetember 21, MOMIX will return to the Byham Theater at 8pm with Viva MOMIX, a compilation of works.
“They’re relatively short, each piece has a beginning a middle and an end, a musical curve kind of like a haiku,” said Moses Pendleton, Director of MOMIX. “It should feel like you’re watching one show with a lot of separate pieces kind of like cuts on an album, side one and side 2.”
The pieces are presented as vignettes that are tied together through the dreamworld that is MOMIX.
“In the way the show operates, it’s more like a surreal vaudeville act where there is no logic other than that of surprise and with costume changes, it moves quite seamlessly along with lots of different music and different pieces from different shows,” said Pendleton. “We’re not really trying to tell everybody how the world is, but how it might be in a fantasy.”
According to the MOMIX website, “each show features dancers manipulating their bodies and props in unique and astounding ways. While there is no concrete storyline, MOMIX performances evoke through imagery a theater of light and physical bodies.”
MOMIX encompasses a variety of movement possibilities including gymnastics, acrobatics and dance. These techniques are used to create optical illusions.
“I don’t have any rules about it as long as it works as a piece of theater,” said Pendleton. “A lot of it is architectural and seeing something where you’re not sure what you’re looking at. Half the fun of some of the pieces of MOMIX is trying to figure out what it is they’re doing or how they’re doing it.”
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of MOMIX’S premiere performance at Teatro Nazionale in Milan, Italy.
“I remember being really happy that someone turned the lights on, those were the early days,” said Pendleton. “We were lucky to get that going.”
In 2015, MOMIX performed on the very same stage of the company’s debut.
“When we were there for the 35th anniversary at the very stage where we had the world premiere, it was quite moving to have an audience member come up waving a piece of paper,” said Pendleton. “It turns out to be the actual physical program from 1980 that she’d always kept with her. That was quite a ‘grand emozione’.”
Viva MOMIX is a compilation of works, comprised of separate sections delicately arranged to take the audience down a path of imaginative imagery.
“This particular show coming to Pittsburgh is kind of our compilation album they are excerpts and selections from various full length works that we’ve done over the years the show reflects that and the aesthetic of MOMIX,” said Pendleton.
In a classical piece called Spawning, three women in flesh-tone costumes work with large egg-like helium balloons.
“They’re performing to Peter Gabriel’s mercy street, kind of emotional, beautiful music.” said Pendleton. “Spawning of course, as you know, is what salmon did when they go upstream, lay their eggs and then they expire and die, and life goes on. So, it has more of a poetic sense than straight logic.”
Opus cactus explores the landscape of the American Southwest, embodying its wonders with unique physical architecture.
“We use props and large kinetic sculptures, simple props like sticks, projections, ten-foot poles to try to launch the body,” said Pendleton. “Another piece from opus cactus called the pole dance, it’s really very physical and it uses the pole almost like the way a pole vaulter would use it to kind of extend the range of human locomotion through the prop to launch the body and suspend it in space.”
MOMIX is designed to be a true escape from reality.
“We try to give them some entertainment and maybe some inspiration, perhaps something they haven’t seen before. For the most part, it’s an escape from the real world. You do get enough of it in cable news, so we don’t really try to say how the world is in reality. I think it’s still relevant to suggest escaping your real world and entering into the dreamworld of MOMIX for a couple of hours.”
MOMIX, by definition, intertwines various physical motion-based crafts to take the audience on an optical journey of illusion.
“It’s a mixture and hopefully in an alchemical way, it’s a good blend and you go away with a little inspiration or a little less gravity in your step,” said Pendleton.
Miriah Auth is a Point Park University Senior double major in dance and journalism. She creates works based in the practice of physical and social healing. Originally from DC, this freelance artist and journalist now covers local theatrical dance performances. Her writings focus on capturing the whole story behind a dance piece and the effect it has on the performers involved through the dual lens of both a dancer and a journalist.