Momix.December 13, 1994-January 11, 1995 Reviewed by Lynn Garafola
Moses Pendleton Moses Pendleton is the Choreographer and Artistic Director of Momix a company of dancer-illusionists that formed as an offshoot of Pilobolus which he had co-founded in 1971. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1977 and the Positano Choreographic Award in 1999. knows how to dazzle the eye. His work for Momix uses all the paraphernalia of stage wizardry wiz·ard·ry
n. pl. wiz·ard·ries
1. The art, skill, or practice of a wizard; sorcery.
a. A power or effect that appears magical by its capacity to transform: , plus ten remarkable dancers, to create a theater of gorgeous illusions. When a body puts out an extra limb or head, revealing the presence of a second dancer hidden behind the first, we smile at the sheer cleverness of the effect and wonder what Pendleton will come up with next. Often, what follows is an intimation of the marvelous: a ribbon spiraling into space has the effect of a thought taking wing for the stars.
Still, an evening of Pendletonu's alchemies can be tiresome. Conceived as discrete units, the episodes seldom gel into a coherent whole. Moreover, most of the illusions are purely visual, laying claim to the eye rather than appealing to the mind: what we see is all there is. Also, Pendleton distrusts the expression of emotion. His evening-long Passion, for instance, is full of touching; but only once, when the furies of death gather around the stilled body of Christ
The Body of Christ is a term used by Christians to describe believers in Christ. Jesus Christ is seen as the "head" of the body, which is the church. , does the action acquire symbolic meaning. Typically, Pendleton deals with emotion by getting cute.
The new, evening-length Baseball exemplifies the best and worst features of Pendleton's recent work. Visually, the piece is stunning. Like Passion, it is played entirely behind a scrim scrim
1. A durable, loosely woven cotton or linen fabric used for curtains or upholstery lining or in industry.
2. A transparent fabric used as a drop in the theater to create special effects of lights or atmosphere. , which serves as the screen for his remarkable projections as well as the means for achieving the dreamlike effect that he uses to "poeticize po·et·i·cize
v. po·et·i·cized, po·et·i·ciz·ing, po·et·i·ciz·es
To describe or express in poetry or in a poetic manner.
To write poetry. " the material.
Also like Passion, the piece is a collage. We hear the cheering crowds, songs like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," the voices of reporters who once covered the game on radio; we see the old tabloid headlines and the faces of heroes past. Dancers step up to bat, squat behind home plate, wind up on the pitcher's mound; a woman does a backbend under the arc of a floating ball of light. At one point, the dancers pop up from oversized o·ver·size
1. A size that is larger than usual.
2. An oversize article or object.
adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary. Budweiser cans; at another, they rock in a pair of giant Us. Baseball doesn't really hold together.
True, much of it is fun. But like the Budweiser episode, some of the material is also literal to the point of silliness--tricks for the eye lacking the power of poetic suggestion. Much of it, too, is drenched in Adj. 1. drenched in - abundantly covered or supplied with; often used in combination; "drenched in moonlight"; "moon-drenched meadows"
covered - overlaid or spread or topped with or enclosed within something; sometimes used as a combining form; nostalgia. Although there is an allusion at the end to the current standoff between owners and players, Baseball at heart belongs to the 1950s. Or, at least, to the "retro" fetishes of Pendleton's pseudo-past. Perhaps because I went to my first baseball game Noun 1. baseball game - a ball game played with a bat and ball between two teams of nine players; teams take turns at bat trying to score runs; "he played baseball in high school"; "there was a baseball game on every empty lot"; "there was a desire for National League at New York's Polo Grounds , which is no more, or because the subway exit for BAM Bam (bäm), town (1996 pop. 70,100), Kerman prov., SE Iran, on the intermittent Bam River. Located on the western edge of the Dasht-e Lut, Bam is a trade center in a henna-growing region. Dates and other fruits are also grown; camels are raised. lies only a stone's throw from what used to be Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, I found Baseballs upbeat nostalgia and unremitting sentimentality close to offensive--a betrayal of cultural memory.
The dancers of the Momix company--Ja'Hain Clark, Steve Gonzales, Lisa Nafegar, Terry Pexton, Brian Sanders, Erin Elliott, Renee Jaworski, Solveig Olsen, Cynthia Quinn, and Brian Simerson--are always a pleasure to watch. Gymnasts blessed with rare suppleness and grace, they toss off acrobatic stunts with ease, while in slow motion they reveal the total physical command that comes only from enormous strength. In the curtain calls that brought the "Classics" program to a rousing end, they let loose with somersaults and back flips, in lighting that, for once, revealed the body in its totality rather than concealing or transforming the appearance of its various parts. It was a refreshing change.