Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Dancer-Illusionists of MOMIX Will Take You Into a Different Atmosphere

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF MOMIX.
  • Photo courtesy of MOMIX.
With MOMIX, you're not just watching a dance performance. You're being taken into a different world. 

That's what MOMIX company member and dance captain Steven Ezra says when describing what sets the Connecticut-based company apart from its peers.

"You’re going to get kind of like a moving picture of sorts. And that incorporates a lot of props and multimedia projections and definitely the music as well," he says. " It’s more of like an all-encompassing environment rather than just a dance performance."

Founded by choreographic mastermind Moses Pendleton more than 35 years ago, MOMIX first came to St. Louis in April 2011 with the show Botanica. They returned for a one-night-only encore performance later that September. This weekend, the dancer-illusionists will be back at the Touhill Performing Arts Center to turn your world — and your view of dance — upside-down with their latest show, Alchemia

But don't expect a repeat of their last St. Louis performance. MOMIX likes to play with different themes for each show, and with each comes a completely different concept, Ezra explains. In Alchemia, images and choreography suggest the elements of alchemy — earth, water, air and fire.

"It’s definitely a very different feel from Botanica because we’re not blossoming flowers in this piece; we’re kind of evoking change — you know, the changing of chemicals, the changing of lead to gold, and you’ll see with the use of like props and lighting and choreography. We evoke that into an image on stage."

Clearly, MOMIX isn't your traditional dance company. More evidence? They rehearse in a converted, 100-year-old barn in the middle of the woods in Connecticut. They don't follow a specific technique. And their dancers, as well as their style, are each unique — some have backgrounds in ballet, some in gymnastics, and others in the past have even been rock climbers.

This non-traditional approach blew Ezra away when he first saw a MOMIX performance as a 15-year-old. 

At the time, Ezra knew about modern and contemporary dance, but he didn't really understand the use of props.

"MOMIX was one of the first companies outside of knowing Cirque du Soleil that would use props, and sometimes sets or something," Ezra remembers. "So when I saw MOMIX in Hartford at Bushnell Theater, I was just blown away. I was like, 'Wow, I didn’t really know this could be dance.' And it totally changed the way I looked at dance."

He says, "I knew that I wanted to be a part of MOMIX, so I graduated high school and I was able to join MOMIX right then and there. And I’ve been with them since I was 18 years old."

Ezra hopes that audience members leave Alchemia feeling similarly inspired.

"I think that’s what keeps this world going. I think it’s important. Art is very important because it keeps because  people thinking, keeps people motivated, and keeps them innovative," he says. "Art is very important, and I feel like we’re doing something very important because I feel like we’re sort of the innovators of dance, because we’re trying to bring something different to dance."

You can see Alchemia Friday, January 29 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, January 30 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For ticket information, call the Dance St. Louis box office at 314.534.6622 or visit dancestl.org. 


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