MOMIX returns to Park City with 35 years of dreams
When MOMIX last visited Park City, the performing-arts company presented "Botanica," an evening of works inspired by movements in the natural world.
Birds, fish and plants found their way into the surreal choreography of the company’s director Moses Pendleton.
MOMIX will return to the Eccles Center on Saturday, Feb. 7, with a production called "Dreamcatcher," which will feature an evening of works culled from the troupe’s past 35 years, Pendleton said during a phone call to The Park Record from his home in New York.
"The works for this production will be more ‘supernatural,’ as opposed to the natural works seen in ‘Botanica,’" Pendleton said with a chuckle. "The program itself is a dreamcatcher, if you will. It caught dreams from the past 35 years and [the show] will be is a cross-section compilation — kind of like a greatest hits of MOMIX."
There will be 17 pieces included in the performance.
"If you include the curtain call then it will be 18," Pendleton said whimsically. "We are known for our lively curtain call."
For a performing arts company to be around for 35 years is a "blessing," the choreographer said.
"It means we get the rent paid," he said with a laugh. "Like any business, if it lasts 35 years, there’s a good chance it will last 35 more years.
"It’s a real pleasure to continue working in a creative way and to be in charge of your own operation," Pendleton said in all seriousness. "It’s nice to be challenged and come up with creative ideas. It keeps the rust off the dendrites."
While the production is a mix and match of different works, Pendleton still had to look at it with a critical eye.
"Even though we’re drawing from pieces from our history, it has to work as a show," he said. "Some of the choices are made because I have to have a dynamic flow.
"That’s kind of what MOMIX is," he said. "It hopefully goes on without too many breaks. And while there are a couple of bridges we have to cross to keep the show going in its Vaudeville pace."
Pendleton takes this approach with any MOMIX performance.
"I have thought about MOMIX as being a rock album with two sides that had the dynamic of shorter pieces and ‘singles,’" he said. "This is, in a way, going back to that idea. There are a lot of different kinds of pieces that have their own world in a 3- to 5-minute span and jumps to something else."
The music for the works range from Peter Gabriel to Vivaldi.
"That’s what’s fun about MOMIX," Pendleton said. "You never know what will come next. So the best thing for the audience to do is expect the unexpected."
One of the aspects of the show that the choreographer enjoys is seeing new, younger dancers perform the older pieces.
"Part of the thrill of MOMIX is seeing these highly trained physical bodies do amazing things, and I think the new dancers have better bodies. They do a lot of cross training — yoga, I think. Or more skiing.
"They are all in very good shape and I think that some of them are so good that when they perform these older pieces that we are reviving, they’ve interpreted them differently and make them better than the original," he said. "That’s a very serious draw of MOMIX. It’s a celebration of the human body and what it can achieve if you have the discipline to take it to the next level."
Regardless of who dances the works, Pendleton believes the selections in "Dreamcatcher" still have resonance.
"It’s a valid show that way and it was fun to revisit the past," he said.
One reason is because of the various tweaks and adjustments he makes during rehearsals.
"There are situations when you were involved in a piece and it never turned out quite as well as you imagined," Pendleton said. "So you stop working on the piece and it becomes what it is.
"Since we do live theater, it’s easier to change things in a piece than it is to take films out of the cinema to reedit them," he said. "A live piece is never really done when it premieres. That’s just the beginning of its life. So we do change them and hopefully those changes are for the better."
That’s important because the audience expects something innovative and visually stunning from a company like MOMIX, according to Pendleton.
"We have been to Park City many times and the audience wants to go on a trip or to dream or escape with us," he said.
The Park City Institute will present MOMIX’s "Dreamcatcher" at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $69 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.ecclescenter.org or by calling 435-655-3114.
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