MOMIX premieres Botanica, a visual tour-de-force, closing Dance Celebration’s Season

MOMIX premieres Botanica, a visual tour-de-force, closing Dance Celebration’s Season, May 20-23, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. Due to demand for tickets, a special Sunday, May 23, 2 pm matinee has been added.

Known for conjuring up worlds consisting of surrealistic images and unfathomable beauty using props, light, shadow, humor and the human body, MOMIX has been sought after to collaborate in commercial ventures such as car ads (Fiat, BMW, Mercedes Benz), MAC cosmetics and Hanes underwear commercials, and Kohler fixture ads to promote water conservation. Ironically, it was in these ventures where the otherworldly Botanica took root.

Conceived and directed by Moses Pendleton, the full-length work features ten sensational dancer-illusionists, Michael Curry’s large-scale puppet design (The Lion King), Pendleton’s  multiple camera eye-catching video projections, outlandish constructed costumes, sensual and expressive choreography, and an eclectic soundtrack ranging from bird song to Vivaldi, from new age to techno. The Daily Gazette notes, “All in all, it’s easy to see why MOMIX is such a favorite. MOMIX equals magic.”

Under the artistic direction of Randy Swartz, Dance Celebration presented by Dance Affiliates and Penn Presents, maintains the tradition of bringing to Philadelphia the world’s best contemporary touring dance companies.  This season’s The Magic of Movement pays tribute to American dance and showcases its diversity of styles: tap, Broadway, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, multimedia, and dance theater.

Performances will take place on Thursday, May 20 at 7:30 pm; Friday, May 21 at 8:00 pm; Saturday, May 22 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 23 at 2 pm. Ticket prices are $48, $42, $38, $28 (evening) and $42, $36, $32, $24 (matinee). Tickets may be purchased by calling the Annenberg Center Box Office at 215-898-3900 or by visiting www.AnnenbergCenter.org Following every performance, there will be a post-performance chat with Moses Pendleton in the lobby.

Botanica is a deepening of Pendleton’s 30-year fascination with nature through its seasonal changes and transformations evoking beauty, fear, humor, and excitement.  This four-part work opens in winter featuring a fantasy tree, a river of fluttering ice-blue silk and otherworldly snow creatures moving to Tuu’s “Frozen Land.”  Sections show man and nature inhabiting a dreamlike cosmos where dinosaurs roam, boulders swallow humans, centaurs battle, bulbs bloom, snakes crawl, birds fly, and tiny organisms mate and multiply.  Phoebe Katzin’s flamboyant costume designs – a dancer spinning with strings of beads, giant yellow and orange feathers resembling fans and sunflowers, fiery red feather tutu-like skirts, and a gigantic parachute fan – add grandeur while conveying a message of ecological connection and evolution.  Pendleton states, “You have got to use your imagination, and in our shows we try and create what I call ‘optical confusion’ designed to excite brain cells and stimulate creativity.”

Moses Pendleton will be honored with an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of the Arts in conjunction with the commencement ceremonies on May 20 at The Academy of Music. One of America’s most innovative and widely performed choreographers and directors, a founding member of the ground-breaking Pilobolus Dance Theater in 1971, he formed his own company MOMIX, in the early 80’s. Pendleton has worked extensively in film, TV, and opera and as a choreographer for ballet companies and special events.  He was a recipient of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Governor’s Award in 1998, received the Positano Choreographic Award in 1999 and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1977.  He received the 2002 American Choreography Award for his contributions to choreography for film and television.

In addition to performances, MOMIX will offer outreach activities including a master class as part of The Artist to Artist Series and a special school performances for The Student Discovery Series.  For more information call 215-636-9000 ext.110 or visit www.danceaffiliates.org.

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