Momix not the same old song and dance

Jenna Gerling

Cleveland performance amazes audience

Amanda Sowards | Daily Kent Stater”>

Dance group Momix uses lights and costumes to “disappear” at their performance at DanceCleveland.

Amanda Sowards | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Headless ballerinas fly across the stage breezily, legs with no torsos attached creep along the stage like large crabs out of water, human-sized jellyfish flex on stage simply by using an umbrella and a white sheet — the dancers twirl and open the umbrella, making it move rhythmically while it swims on stage.

With the simple usage of white suits, black suits, white-and-black suits and backlights, the dancers are able to create a mystical experience that alters much of what the audience sees. People are often left wondering, “How did they do that?”

There is no question: for the first half hour or so, the visual aspects of Moses Pendleton’s “Lunar Sea” are absolutely stunning. From the first second on stage to the very last, Momix’s dancers try to evoke images the audience’s wildest imaginations from their illusions.

But, the performance’s 90-minute, two-part work (titled “Sea of Tranquility” and “Bay of Seething”) becomes tiresome once the illusions become apparent. Part of the illusion is the usage of the “ninja suits” — an all-black suited dancer. Often, most of the dance cast is on stage when there appears to be only two or three, helping drag or lift the visible dancers.

Audience members can find themselves looking at the same scene over and over again. The performance scream for a scenery change.

Both parts of “Lunar Sea” are performed behind a translucent fabric that a variety of split-images are projected onto, such as sunflowers; this effect makes the images appear as if through a kaleidoscope. In doing so, the additional dancers on stage who need to be kept unseen are easily masked behind the fabric.

Pendleton’s knowledge of bodily movement is the main point of this dance. With only white figures shining on stage to look at, every move is exaggerated. If the dancers were not in unison, it would be detrimental to the performance.

The dancers’ flexibility and strength adds to the visual illusions of the performance. Knowing that every illusion on stage involves some sort of human involvement, including the floating ballerinas, the sliding and darting “fish” on the stage floor, somehow makes the performance better. If there were lines attached to the dancers’ waists instead of hidden dancers, the aesthetics of “Lunar Sea” would mean very little.

Touring across the United States and Europe, Momix’s visually stimulating movement of the body will flood minds with amazement. Although repetitive, the experience of the show is worth it.

Contact ALL correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].