“Optical confusion” is how choreographer Moses Pendleton describes the inventive, arresting illusions he has developed over the past decades for his renowned dance theater company, MOMIX. In a recent interview, Pendleton spoke passionately about how he “conjures a world to be seen and felt as if it is an invigorating conversation.”
At its upcoming Center for the Arts performance, TOMORROW Night, May 1, 2015 at 8 PM, MOMIX will be giving Northern Virginia audiences its newest work, Alchemia. It is inspired by “the art of alchemy and the alchemy of art,” said Pendleton. The show will give visual appearance to the classic elements of alchemy; earth, air, fire, and water making a visual, sound and movement spectacle.
While neither Pendelton’s name nor MOMIX may slip off your tongue, unless you are a dance aficionado, you likely have seen his work and not known it. Pendleton choreographed some of the splendor of the closing ceremonies of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980 and the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. MOMIX was even seen in television ads for Hanes not long ago.
Alchemia will display moving bodies like a canvas painted with eye-popping lighting, vibrant costumes, mood-altering music, inventive props, and, of course, movement not to be believed, all aimed to take the breath away. MOMIX describes the composition as “a visually arresting theatrical experience full of whimsy, sensuality, beauty, and intrigue”.
For Pendelton, his newest work “is not a text-driven performance, but a work to fall into. To discover the universe it creates within you.” He suggests that “Alchemia” can be thought of as “taking a photograph that changes perspective depending on the angle, light, and emotions you bring into it.”
Music is a key for a dance performance. It is another connection of “exchanging energy” between the dancers and the audience. For “Alchemia” there will be about 18 different pieces of music used for the score according to Pendelton. The music will range from the classical to snippets of soundtracks from movies.
Pendelton also chatted about the importance of the artistic, creative lighting and costume design that all add to MOMIX’s aura of sensuality. He wants the Center for the Arts audience “to be drawn into the physicality and emotions of the performance, to open their eyes to it.”
A special informative treat for patrons, there will be a pre-performance discussion led by Dan Joyce, GMU School of Dance Professor. Joyce performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group appearing in over thirty works choreographed by Mark Morris. The pre-show discussion begins 45 minutes before the performance. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.