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Momix - 'Opus Cactus'

by Ana Abad-Carles

September 14 , 2005 -- Peacock Theatre, London

“Opus Cactus” used the flora, fauna and folklore of the Arizona desert as inspiration, and the resulting work, created through the visionary eyes of the group’s main choreographer Moses Pendleton, was a stunning, visual piece that transported the audience at certain moments to the realms of dreamlike imagery.

The work flowed through its different passages effortlessly, bringing out imagination and colour, a spectacle that combined music, stagecraft, choreography and acrobatics in the recreation of landscapes and the different moods that these provoke.

From the opening number in which a woman seemed to float in a dreamlike state to the closing moments in which the dancers floated across the stage with the aid of ropes, the whole piece sailed through a range of visual feasts that at no moment tried to disguise the physicality of the whole work. If there was one thing that was apparent at all times, it was the physical precision and power of all the performers. There were moments when it was difficult to discern if what one was watching was applied physics or choreography or simply the sheer brilliant skill of the combination of both.

There were many interesting ideas that are worth exploring in pure choreographic terms, passages in which the combined effort of human movement and machines provided images whose impact and beauty were especially impressive in a new work. I especially recall one moment in which women crossed the stage while using their male partner’s legs as platforms on which to enact the action of walking on water or simply floating. Their male partners were, at the same time, lying on skate boards that provided the whole movement with the kind of dynamics that bodies alone could never achieve. Perhaps it would be interesting for choreographers working in integrated dance to explore the possibilities that wheels have to offer in the transformation of new dynamics into pure dance.

There were other moments in which the pure athleticism of the dancers was the main focus of attention for both audience and choreographer. The beauty of human bodies in the pure display of their physicality was something that was celebrated and showcased to the dancers’ limits.

It was a wonderful evening of discovery of how different elements can be integrated and enhanced by their simple use on the stage in unexpected combinations. “Opus Cactus” was fun, enjoyable and, at some moments, magical to watch.

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