Lighting to Awe, Laugh and Inspire: MOMIX Stuns at The Barclay

By: Eashan Reddy Kotha

Photo Courtesy of: Charles Paul Azzopardi

The audience at The Barclay Theater was treated to a dazzling display of light and sound from “Viva MOMIX” on Oct. 25. MOMIX’s eponymous show contained many awe-inspiring moments. The visuals, lighting, audio, choreography and costuming captivated the viewers. The musical selections throughout the pieces worked really well to create a space-like aura as well. The rich atmosphere highlighted the movements of the dance illusionists onstage.

Every single movement made on stage appeared fluid and graceful. The performers might as well have been weightless when they came back down from a pole vault into the air or whenever they landed on their feet. The aptly titled “Pole Dance” was amusing. Three performers with long poles elegantly launched themselves up with controlled movements and synchronized nearly perfectly as they interacted and traded off positions on the stage.

During one of the moments between set pieces, a rope of light danced across the stage. As if in response, another wave got sent back to the other end of the stage. This seeming interaction between the two sides earned chuckles from the audience.

The flowing beams of white light within tubes carried by the performers was a striking visual for the piece “Light Reigns.” In pitch darkness, the singular light source coming from the illusionists’ light tubes had an eerie and captivating effect. When the performers formed a circular formation onstage, the chakra-like appearance of the flowing light was stunning.

“Paper Trails” was a really interesting segment as well. Long scrolls of paper were rolled out onstage and then began to oscillate up and down the stage before the light projector threw words onto the otherwise blank sheets. Ramin Djawadi’s score “Goodbye Brother” from the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” introduced an atmosphere of dreariness and loss. The metamorphoses of the dancers onstage as the musical selection cycles further was wonderful. The dancers rolled themselves up into the paper, forming cocoons and then tore the paper to become independent. The light projections onto the paper added to the mind-blowing effect, as the singular dancers slowly combined into a larger collective once more and left the stage as a cohesive unit.

Another high point was the “Dream Catcher” segment, which involved the use of a metal contraption that had a gyroscopic-like design. The two performers involved worked in tandem, balancing on the designed ‘dream catcher’. It appeared like a more intense version of seesaw as the two alternated between rising and falling under the contraption. However, there was great control in each movement which was showcased near the end of the segment when two performers split off and then from where they lay on the ground, rolled the metal object back and forth to each other. There was an inherent tension and great payoff with every pass.

The finale of the show “If You Need Some Body” was a sweet and light-hearted way to close. The dancers all came out and really had fun with the mannequin ragdolls on the stage and the audience found it especially hilarious to see these sometimes ridiculous movements being made by the mannequins.

Overall, MOMIX crafted a memorable performance. The synchronization of the performers, their graceful movements coupled with the kinetic energy of light and use of props all contributed to an eclectic show. Every element onstage had a purpose and there was nothing extraneous. Each reaction from the audience was earned and hard fought. As people filed out of the theater that night, one could hear the excited chatter about the technical prowess displayed by the ensemble.