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Fine Arts

Fireworks on stage: “Viva Momix” showcases the best of acclaimed dance company

In a way, you could describe “Viva Momix” as almost a greatest hits collection.

After all, the multimedia dance experience – which is set for a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the College of Saint Benedict’s Escher Auditorium – is a collection of the most iconic pieces in the Momix repertoire since the company of dancer-illusionists was first formed by choreographer and director Moses Pendleton almost 42 years ago.

Since that time, Momix has performed live in over 22 countries and its repertory has been broadcast to over 55. It has been featured in PBS’s “Dance in America” series, as well as in commercials for Hanes underwear and Target.

It’s work was featured in “Imagine,” one of the first 3-D IMAC films to be released in IMAX theaters world-wide, as well as in the late director Robert Altman’s 2003 film “The Company” starring Neve Campbell.

“Viva Momix” is a collection of the best of that memorable work.

“It’s the greatest hits we could come up with,” Pendleton said. “It’s kind of a compilation of highlights from various works across more than 40 years. It provides a very nice cross-section of the ascetics of Momix.”

“It’s really a highlight reel,” added Leslie Hanlon, the director of community engagement for Fine Arts Programming at CSB+SJU. “It’s a celebration of the things that really make them stand out. The evening will feature 16 sections from some of their most well-known pieces, including Botanica, Alchemia, Remix, Opus Cactus and Lunar Sea.

“They are very high-energy. The last time I saw them it felt like watching visual arts come alive on stage. It’s definitely a dance performance, but there is a huge visual art component to Momix that is significant too. They’re incredibly inventive and use both props and their bodies to create playful and surreal worlds on stage.”

“I tell people if you don’t like what you’re seeing you won’t have to wait that long before it changes,” Pendleton said. “There is that element of metamorphosis present.

“This is physical theater. It’s not just a modern dance show. We employ lighting and the use of props and costumes to create a kind of physical, visual theater inspired by nature.”

Tickets for the performance cost $30 for the general public, $27 for seniors, $23 for CSB+SJU faculty and staff and $15 for youth/student ID.

They can be purchased here. The performance is free for current CSB+SJU students.

Educators, health care workers, veterans or active duty military personnel receive a 50 percent discount on regular and senior priced tickets using the code CARE in recognition of their efforts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On the night before the performance, Momix company dancer Anthony Bocconi will present a 90-minute open level class featuring MOMIX-inspired floorwork, choreography and a short question-and-answer session.

“Anthony is a very good teacher,” Pendleton said. “He has a lot of dance experience and puts on a very good class.”

The class is free and open to the public. But registration is required. Participants must provide proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination (CSB+SJU students and faculty can provide their ID) or of a negative COVID test within the past 72 hours.

Masks must be worn during the workshop.

“That’s one of the wonderful parts of our program here,” Hanlon said. “Artists visiting Saint John’s and Saint Benedict almost always host workshops off the stage during their engagement with us. For our community to have access to a workshop with a dance company like this is an amazing opportunity.”

VIVA Momix Table Talk

VIVA Momix dreamcatcher

VIVA Momix Light Reins