Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Worth the trip to Park City

Moses Pendleton’s Momix dance company paid a visit to Park City this past weekend to present its original production, Lunar Sea. Before I get to the details, let me send a shout out to Alwin Nicolais. The abstract nature of this performance with its stylized costumes, impressive use of projections, and intriguing lighting effects is a tribute to Alwin's genius.

Nonetheless, plenty of kudos is due Momix. The opening sequences are stunning and leave the viewer asking, “how’d they do that?” The amazement continues even as one begins to figure out how the dancers are able to deliver such surprising results.

The performance relies heavily on symmetry, from the frequent use of “half” dancers that combine to create a whole, to the beautifully-executed video projections. The result is a strange sort of Rorschach test that intimately engages the audience.

Sure, the black light effects feel gimmicky at times and the costumes occasionally serve only as distractions. In fact, the best moment of the evening may be a duet that leaves black lights behind and utilizes little costuming, focusing attention on the dancers. Still, one can’t deny that even gimmicky moments (such as the spider sequence at the end) are entrancing.

This is dance theater at its most engaging (even to the point of scaring some of the younger audience members, as evidenced by occasional screams from kids during the most frightful moments). I left the performance wanting to quit my job and join a dance company. At the very least, I wanted to approach life with renewed creativity.

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