MOMIX mesmerizes W&L community


The tour was advertised as a celebration of MOMIX’s 40th anniversary. Poster courtesy of Lenfest Center for the Arts.

Jacqueline Welsh, Staff Writer

The Lenfest Center hosted MOMIX in Washington and Lee’s Keller Theater on Oct. 4. The dance company is celebrating its 40th anniversary season with a tour titled “VIVA MOMIX.” The show was well-attended, with an audience made up of community members, students and faculty.

MOMIX is a self-described “company of dancer-illusionists,” in which performers use acrobatic techniques and unusual props to present an abstract performance. They have been featured in movies, television shows and commercials, and their performances have been broadcasted internationally to 55 countries in their 40-year history. 

Their founder and artistic director, Moses Pendleton, is “one of America’s most innova-tive and widely performed choreographers and directors,” as described in the performance’s program. The Dartmouth alumnus has extensive experience working in film, TV, prestigious classical ballet companies, opera and more. Pendleton also choreographed for the Closing Ceremonies of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Pendleton’s dancers in MOMIX seemingly defied gravity with their transcendent movements. From balloons to wrapping paper to skis and mirrors, the performers’ illusionist style captivated the audience and had them on the edge of their seats during the entire performance. Each dance was inventive, athletic, complex and kaleidoscopic. 

“I thought it was really interesting to see the combination of acrobatics with dance, and I was extremely impressed by their effective and unique utilization of props,” said dance company member and dance minor Lily Petsinger, ‘24. 

The eccentric drum beats and dramatic lighting accentuated the dancers’ mesmerizing movements. There were moments of striking uniformity and others of unconventional individuality. Elements of classical ballet were adapted into the alternative style of the performance. The dancers’ movements tricked the audience into imagining animals, plants and other scenes on stage instead of people. 

“The MOMIX performance was insanely inspiring artistically,” said dance company member and dance minor Irina Koleva, ‘23. “It made me think about just how many different ways we can move our bodies, and how we can incorporate lighting, sound, props and movement into wholly immersive experiences… really expanding what the meaning of dance as a performing art is.”

Washington and Lee puts an emphasis on supporting and exhibiting unique performances. 

Dance professor Jenifer Davies finds it important for students to experience artistic performances. 

“It’s about expanding one’s understanding of what dance is,” Davies said. “Especially with MOMIX, because they’re so different from traditional dance company. It’s about exposing the students to something new that they maybe have not seen before.”

She also said that she thinks it is sad when students graduate without ever having been to the Lenfest Center, and that performances like this one are part of a liberal arts education.