Dallas — MOMIX, directed and founded by Moses Pendleton, is one of those companies that has been to Dallas so many times, they may as well have a key to AT&T Performing Arts Center’s facilities. Whether they’re coming with an evening-length show or making a TITAS Command appearance with a few standalone pieces, they’re a mainstay in the North Texas dance scene. I must admit that I was a little disappointed when they announced they were not bringing their latest show Alice to the Winspear Opera House for the current TITAS/Dance Unbound season, but rather their greatest hits compilation VIVA MOMIX.
Emphasis on the word “little.” Because this is MOMIX, and regardless of what they do (and the fact that they may not be everyone’s cup of tea), the sheer beauty and stunning creativity of Pendleton and company is a glorious experience. Even if we’ve seen “Aqua Flora” from Botanica 10 million times.
Luckily, the performance was not just a gathering of vignettes that have been on heavy rotation in Big D, as they included three new pieces for this 35th anniversary show. The first, Daddy Long Leg, brought the humor that frequently comes with the troupe’s exploration of props and unique costuming. Three cowboys danced to Gotan Project’s electronic tango sounds, each maneuvering around one of their legs that was made longer by a peg-leg style attachment.
The second new one was Light Reigns, with five dancers each holding a light strip that separated into narrower lines. Clad in light-colored shiny unitards, the dancers were able to control the pulse of light that moves down the prop to fit the music. Although their bodies moved beautifully, the direction and effect of the light was the most memorable, fulfilling the title of the piece.
The last work of Act I had a bit of heaviness to it. Paper Trails started with the curtain down and a black-and-white projection of vertical lines and jumbled letters. As the curtain went up, the projection revealed bodies on stage with very little hint as to who they were or what clear shape they presented. At some point they walked on all fours, rolling a ball, and strips of paper stretched across the stage allowed for a less-obscured view of the projection and dancers. The picture continued to change, still in monochrome, as the dancers wrapped themselves in the paper, only to tear the binding later and shape it into different forms.
Company favorites elsewhere in the concert generated much applause and enthusiasm. The opening work Pleiades had dancers twirling sticks and mimicking constellations. Women manipulated their costumes in the feminine “Marigolds” (from Botanica) and Baths of Caracalla, and the stunning “Pole Dance” from Opus Cactus had everyone cheering for the trio of men.
A sensuous Jennifer Chicheportiche dazzled with her solos in “Echoes of Narcissus” on the mirrored ramp and with the headdress in “Aqua Flora”, both from Botanica. A quintet illuminated only by blacklight defied gravity in Snow Geese, and dancers in “Man Fan” (from Botanica) and Table Talk lit up the stage.
Closing the performance was the hilarious If You Need Some Body, where dancers moved and swung around dummies to the classical sounds of Bach. Leaving the audience in stitches and joyful glee, MOMIX overall proved that maybe a sense of nostalgia is still a good route to travel while on tour.