Bodies soar through the air, bend at unnerving degrees and appear to lose limbs without warning—and this is all just in the first act! For the past 25 years MOMIX, a company comprised of dancer-illusionists, relies on the combination of black lights and fluorescent costumes to put forth visual images which can only be described as animation. Dance takes on a truly unique form of art in director Moses Pendleton’s “Lunar Sea Performance”—in which the actual choreography is just one part of the many aspects that make it a piece of art.
From May 27th to June 8th, audience members packed the Joyce Theater to experience this surreal magic, I rushed in to the theater June 4th to grab my seat and wait for a piece of the magic. The show began in complete darkness, with half of each dancer’s body illuminated by the black light. In a powerful piece that started with original partnering and complex choreography, I found my senses immediately heightened. The show continued as I tried to make sense of the unnatural shapes on stage. I attempted to see the other half of the body that was kept in darkness as well as the extra person that must have been supporting the dancer as she spiraled through the air at an impossibly high height.
As the second act began, I put my need for logic on the backburner and became truly immersed in a world of magic in which dancers fly and objects transform from dancing screws to vindictive spiders. My decision was rewarded as later on in the second act dancers clad in bright green costumes with yoga exercise balls graced the stage (with al of the stage lights on)! For the first time, we could clearly witness each dancers’ bright smiles, effortless movement and soaring confidence. Perhaps the magic isn’t just in the illusion but, rather, in these dancers who exhibited uncharacteristic physical strength and creativity.
During the show my fellow MOMIX attendees may have given in and put their need for explanation behind them (just as I did in the second act). Or they may have chose to tap their feet anxiously while trying to uncover how a dancer can swim mid-air from stage right to stage let. Whatever path they took, I assure you they came out with a lasting impression. The constant use of lighting effects coupled with the sheer physical strength of the MOMIX dancers leave audience members with what can only be described as an eye-popping, mind-tripping experience.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.