The magic that is MOMIX continues on year after year, performance after dizzying performance. The 13 pieces in this year's "reMIX" sample some of the best of the company's creations over the past few decades. As usual the pieces are a fascinating mixture of muscular acrobatics, clever illusionistic puppetry and a humorous play of shadow and light.
It's hard to find too much fault in MOMIX: Moses Pendleton and crew seem perfectly aware of the company's strengths as well as its limitations. My overarching critique of the current selection at the Joyce, apart from the sometimes overly discrete choice of music, is the apparent lack of effort in truly pushing the envelope. MOMIX sometimes seems to belong to a long-forgotten Hollywood era of frothy Esther Williams or giddy Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire routines perhaps, rather than to the tough, hard-boiled world of 2014 ands the post-Cirque de Soleil acrobatics that we have become accustomed to of late. "Marigolds," "Pole Dance" and Baths of Caracalla" (set to music by Suphalaon, Adam Plack and Johnny Sames and Buddha Bar, respectively) are lovely but fail to truly dazzle.
The properly gymnastics pieces seem, pardon the allusion, like "Pilobolus light" with the exception perhaps of Steven Ezra and Rebecca Rasmussen's wonderful balancing act in "Tuu," to music from the album One Thousand Years. (The ensemble piece "Sputnik" on the other hand, set to "Diamante" by Brenda Perry and Lisa Gerard seemed a bit sophomoric.) In the end, though, the most enjoyable pieces took place behind a large white screen: animals, cityscapes and other wondrous shapes and forms put together simply by the judicious use of hand and leg, a noir et blanc heaven of insects and birds floating on high, before diving precipitously to their apparent deaths before being resuscitated again in new, even more wondrous forms. Thematically, that is certainly one of the greatest ways in which MOMIX continues to appeal to even those who have seen its admittedly repetitive schtick a dozen times over, i.e. its own almost unending enchantment with Phoenix-like rebirths, big and small.
MOMIX delights in all that is illusory in the world -- a butterfly from a chrysalis, a flower from a bud. My impression walking away from their 2013 performance was that the many children in attendance seemed to be having the best time; the adults in the audience also wore the type of childlike grin that they probably have been taught to repress in their daily life. Limitations aside, that is about the best compliment you could pay any dance company, especially around the holidays.