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After its premiere in 2001, Moses Pendelton’s Opus Cactus is enjoying a welcomed revival at The Joyce Theater. For a company who has been criticized for the overzealous use of tricks, Momix’s performance displayed a level of artistry and sophistication that did not rely on tacky spectacle.

On the evening of July 6th the audience was treated to the sublime realm of the American Southwest through a series of eighteen dancing vignettes; one more inventive and alluring than the next.

Lauren Jaeger and Rebecca Rasmussen in “Tracking the Earth”: photo by Eddy Fernandez

It all began with a series of glow in the dark tumbleweeds gliding, shifting, opening and closing across the marley and into the air with the most satisfying of clicking noises. It was a simple series of well-choreographed movements and props that immediately captured the attention and curiosity of the audience.

Beau Campbell in "Sun Dance": Photo by Eddy Fernandez

Beau Campbell in “Sun Dance”: Photo by Eddy Fernandez

The evening continued with greater triumphs including “Pole Dance,” a mesmerizing trio of men vaulting, playing, and dancing with incredible ease and finesse. “Tracking the earth” had the distinct feeling of a National Geographic special on lizards with dancers interacting on their bellies, zooming across the stage on gym class scooters and completely embracing their reptilian characters. As with many of Momix’s vignettes “Sundance” utilized props to their fullest expression; in this case a group of sunshine yellow fans creating the buzzing and undulating illusion of sun in the Sonoran Desert.

Momix’s Opus Cactus was collaborative in the strongest sense of the word. The powerful technique of the dancers, the intriguing use of music, the meticulously crafted lighting design, costumes, and use of props fashioned an interdependent, living and breathing landscape. The intricate blending of lines between humans, animals and nature was clearly the result of many years, meticulous reworking and adjusting an existing idea.

Will we have to wait to wait another ten years for Momix to produce something that achieves a satisfying balance between virtuosity and showmanship?

 

Momix will be performing Opus Cactus through Sunday, July 16th at The Joyce Theatre.

CLICK HERE for tickets.

Written by Morgan Beckwith

After graduating from Walnut Hill School of the Arts in 2009, Morgan Beckwith went on to dance at Southern Methodist University, performing in ballets ranging from classical undertakings such as Balanchine’s Serenade to the works of contemporary choreographers Adam Hougland and Jessica Lang. While at SMU Morgan decided to take on a double major in Art History, earning the senior departmental distinction award, along with interning at the Christie’s auction house Dallas regional office. She has worked toward combining her passions for dance and critical art writing with endeavors such as the grant-funded research with Mystic Contemporary Ballet. Morgan worked as a booker for the NBC broadcasting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.