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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Dance Review of Momix in "Alchemia"

Dance Review of Momix in "Alchemia"


Performance Date:
Monday, July 6

Freeform Review:

A Review by Katherine Bartley, (Dance in the City, Barnard College Pre-College Programs)


On Monday, July 6th, Momix lit up the Joyce Theater stage with their newest show titled

Alchemia. Though officially split into two parts, “Quest for Firewater” and “Led into

Gold,” the performance felt like one long blur of optical illusions and extravagant uses of

props, costumes, and lighting. The dancing itself, conceptualized by Momix founder

Moses Pendleton, seemed to be often upstaged by the dramatics of every other aspect

of the show. The audience spent much of the time marveling at the beautiful backdrops

or at the x-ray-like body suits moving in the dark. I just have to wonder what the

production would have been like and how it would have been received if not for the

extravagant non-dance-related elements that so appealed to the viewers. At every

moment throughout the show, there was some sort of prop or costume that was to credit

for the audience’s fascination, whether it was a dancer elevated by a cable, creating

illusions with her dress, or dancing in a black cloth. The dancers themselves danced

beautifully and I wish I had been able to see them in raw moments without the magic of

visual effects. Although the creative visual effects were enchanting, the show would

have been an even more powerful experience if the extravagance had been contrasted

with the raw beauty of dancers simply dancing at moments. Overall, there were many

qualities of the production that were wonderfully unique, creative, and stunning.

However, the choreography would have benefitted from including even simply one

moment of dancing unassisted by props, lavish costumes, or any sort of otherworldly

visual illusion. Just like a dance piece benefits from dynamic contrasts, so does a dance

production. To fill the entire performance with wow-moment after wow-moment simply

diminishes the effect each moment has on the audience. Whereas if Momix had

provided time for the audience to build up their suspense for the next wow-moment,

Alchemia would have been an even greater success and piece of work than the

beautiful performance that it was.



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