Sunday, January 16, 2005

Momix - Playhouse Square

Momiz Dance Theatre mesmerizes in spite of box offic snafu

It was an exciting night for dance in downtown Cleveland. Dance Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Community College Center for Arts and Culture combined to bring Momix Dance Theatre to the State Theatre. This, combined with pre and post program parties sponsored by the website, produced an announced audience of 2500.

Under the creative direction of Moses Pendleton, Momix is noted for displaying its dancer/illusionists via a unique mix of breathtaking images, creative humor and eclectic music. "OPUS CACTUS,' the program presented in their Cleveland appearance, a botanically-inspired creation, is a series of hallucinatory visions of the great American desert landscape.

What style of dance is MOMIX? Don't think ballet or modern dance or gymnastics. Think all of those combined. This is anything other than the usual. Artistic Director/Choreographer Moses Pendleton, who calls his performers "dancer illusionists," requires them to blend dance, gymnastics and circus acrobatics into mesmerizing performances.

The program contained dancers in silhouette against varied color-lit backdrops, a performer who did her entire number without leaving a hammock, a gila monster made up of four intertwined bodies, skateboards used for body surfing, and a metal geometric sculpture employed as a rolling jungle gym, huge fans acting as skirts for the female dancers, a giant puppet, performers balanced on swings suspended from the fly gallery, florescent human balls which roll and bounce, a human totem pole, a dance conceived totally around the use of vaulting poles. Flowers bloom, bugs crawl, storms are created, stars twinkle, tumbleweeds tumble, lizards leap and rattlesnakes slither.

As one reviewer stated, "Pendleton has conjured 19 desert scenes, and devised such stunning imagery (set to New Age and traditional music) that you may never think of the desert in the same way again."

The exciting evening was not without its problems. The performance started over thirty minutes late due to a snafu at the box office. Long lines snaked out onto Euclid Avenue as people attempted to buy tickets and pick up prepaid orders. The situation resolved itself when a wise decision by the house manager allowed everyone in to the theatre to find an available seat. The Playhouse Square box office needs to investigate what went wrong so that this situation does not happen again.