Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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Published on July 5, 2017
MOMIX in CACTUS COUPLES /Charles Azzopardi, photographer

Still Wonderous After All These Years


OPUS CACTUS runs throug JULY 16TH for tickets click this link to The Joyce Theater.

Conceived and Directed by: Moses Pendleton*
Assisted by: Cynthia Quinn, Kori Darling, Brian Sanders, Craig Berman, Amphamany Keohavong, Nicole Loizides, Jane’l Caropolo, Kara Oculato, Brian Simerson, Michael Holdsworth, and the Ballet Arizona

Performers: Anthony Bocconi, Beauy Campbell, Samantha Chiesa, Gregory Dearmond, Steven Ezra, Lauren Jaeger, Sarah Nachbauer, Matthew Ortner, Rebecca Rasmussen and Jason Williams
Lighting Design: Joshua Starbuck, Moses Pendleton Associate Lighting Design: John Finen III Costume Design: Phoebe Katzin
Puppet Design: Michael Curry Sculptural Design: Alan Boeding

Music Soundtrack for OPUS: Adam Plack, Johnny (White Ant) Soames, Peter Buffet, Brian Eno, TUU, Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors, Transglobal Underground, Brent Lewis & Peter Wood, Le Duc, Jose Nieto, Hemza Al-Din, NOMAD, Mickey Hart, Joanne Shenandoah & Tom Wasinger, Dead Can Dance, Douglass Spotted Eagle

*Fire Walker choreographed by Brian Sanders

When I was a girl, my brother and I would turn our living room upside down — chairs and tables all wrong-way-round, arranged in winding snake-like lines — as we pretended that we were explorers, or sometimes cartoon heroes, uncovering the mysteries, even dangers of foreign lands. Our play turned chairs into carriages, tables into forts, and mosquito nets into castles. By the end of the day when we completed our reverie and it was time for dinner, we felt spent and content.

DREAMCATCHER - Steven Ezra, Rebecca Rasmussen / Photo by Eddy Fernandez

MOMIX’s OPUS CACTUS, a surreal journey through the American Southwest, returned me, and I am sure the vigorously applauding people surrounding me, to the glee of childhood’s imaginary play — albeit more sophisticated. For those on the younger side of life, I figure this was a new and potent wonder — not CGI, but real people, in front of our very eyes creating the special effects. Imagine.

Momix OPUS CACTUS Dancers in lime green 2 dancers creating on ostrich creature...
OSTRICH OF THE IMAGINATION -Rebecca Rasmussen, Beau Campbell (center), Lauren Jaeger (L) / Photo by Eddy Fernandez

From the beginning, when neon balls of tumbleweed twirl about in the “wind” expanding, contracting, then laughing at us as they transform into a glowing sort of Michelin Man, to the end, when a gigantic frightful (but delightful) skeletal flyer hovers over floating beings whose lofty runs and mid-air spins defy time, we are awestruck.

POLE DANCE- Steven Ezra, Jason Williams / Photo by Eddy Fernandez

Super-sized poles become agents that enable earthly bodies to soar into space. Brilliantly big yellow fans double as rays of sun, crowns, and tutus of ballerina goddesses in a land where creatures dreamily metamorphose from stately nobility to radiant, levitating flowers. A feisty Gila Monster who loves to roar and preen may be made up of several very flexible men, but the marvelous illusions created by the combination of physical power, choreographic imagination, and striking costume are ones that refuse to be broken. We willingly suspend our disbelief because we crave the refreshment of this type of sorcery.

GILA MONSTER Steven Ezra at front / Photo by Charles Azzopardie

It has been 12 years since OPUS CACTUS has been to New York City, but I only knew because of the press release. Even my dance date who remembered and adored certain aspects of the show insisted that some of the sections were brand new.

CARAVAN: Anthony Bocconi & Jenna Marie Graves, Steven Ezra & Rebecca Rasmussen, Greg Dearmond and Amanda Hulen/ Photo by

Charles Azzopardi

The players of OPUS CACTUS work more in tandem than as solo artists. But the obvious precision teamwork, doesn’t indicate a loss of individual spirit. Each person’s beauty, sense of humor, and knock-em-dead physicality are crucial to the fantasy. Their sense of playful discovery and joy is palpable from the start of the evening to the deliciously exuberant encore bows. Each section seems a fresh adventure. How else would we enjoy a trip to the spectacular Southwest of Moses Pendleton’s genius conception? 

I would travel anywhere with MOMIX.

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