The famed dance company known as MOMIX is coming to New York City’s The Joyce theater to present their latest show that bears the self-title of “MOMIX.”

The multi-media extravaganza runs from July 24 to August 12 and combines dance, music, flamboyant costumes, incredible lighting and overall stunning visuals to create pieces that celebrate nature, the human form, and more. MOMIX is helmed by Moses Pendleton who is regaled for his astoundingly beautiful performances that he invents for t company he founded more than thirty years ago. The visually stunning works on display this year are a collection of the company’s most renowned sets from years past.

More than merely dancers, the performers of MOMIX infuse gymnastics and acrobatics into their movements to make these shows a highly artistic mix of performance art, theater, interpretive dance, and circus.

Modern dance sequences and artistic music

Soothing yet lively music, brilliant lighting, clever use of props, and top-notch dancers are all factors that make MOMIX one of the greatest modern dance companies in existence. Now celebrating their 38th year in business, the organization is staging a breathtaking celebration.

There are seventeen sequences in this two-hour show (with one intermission) that range from the artistically beautiful to the comedic. The opening sequence “Pleiades” takes the audience on a seemingly intergalactic stroll through space—as does “Light Reigns” later in the show.

“Tuu” and “Table Talk” are testaments to the unbelievable skill and strength of the dancers whilst the playful (and crowd-pleasing) “Marigolds” sequence is as much a celebration of effective costuming as it is dance. “Pole Dance” and “Baths of Caracalla” rely on minimal props to create a visual feast whereas the comical “Daddy Long Leg” treats audiences to the antics of alien-legged cowboys.

“Paper Trails” and “Spawning” are two highly artistic pieces that both feature partial nudity whereas “Aqua Flora” and “Brainwave” feature well-created costumes.

The best sequences of the show are largely included in the second half. “Echoes of Narcissus” is a stunning display of flexibility that uses a mirror to celebrate the human form; contorting a being into a beautiful abstract sculpture that resembles a kaleidoscope.

“Snow Geese” uses black lights to create incredible effects as the performers contort and dance seemingly in mid-air. It is a truly breathtaking sequence that is as artistic as the music is entrancing. “Dream Catcher” features two performers dancing and balancing on a silver sculpture-like apparatus that bares more than a passing resemblance to Cirque du Soleil. “Man Fan” features a single male dancer using his body to manipulate a giant fan that dances and turns and changes colors on stage as if it is a living being (or part of his body; like a male peacock showing off his plumage). The final act—“If You Need Some Body”—features the cast dancing with mannequins. It is played entirely for laughs and celebrates its own silliness (like a dance-off contest in an insane asylum) and it was a brilliant way to end the show, leaving the audience laughing and clapping and cheering.

Interview, imagination, and future plans

It is no secret that MOMIX is a high-quality troupe that offers shows at affordable rates. It is easy to see why their performances fill up so quickly and have a dedicated following who eagerly await each year’s new offerings. Moses Pendleton, the founder and artistic director of MOMIX, is very proud of his company and what they have achieved. In a recent interview, Moses discussed the growth of his company over the past 38 years and how he hopes to keep it growing for many more decades to come.

Meagan Meehan (MM): You grew up on a farm where you showed cows at county fairs, so how did that ignite your interest in dance and did your childhood influence the “Daddy Long Leg” sequence at all?

Moses Pendleton (MP): Those county fairs didn’t have anything to do with dance, as such, but they were my introduction to showmanship. I had to learn to lead a calf in a ring and show off its best points. I was a coweographer before I was a choreographer! Yes, there’s a taste of the ring in “Daddy Long Leg” – it’s all about display.

MM: MOMIX has now been in operation for almost forty years. When you started the company did you ever imagine it would last this long and what are the secrets to your success?

MP: The reason that we’ve lasted forty years is that although I may have lost my mind I was able to hold on to my imagination. The secret is the energy that comes from the natural world and having a mind open to the mysterious.

An ice-cold lake can shock the brain into imagining. The older we become, the harder we work, because the diminishing time ahead forces us into the present. And into the past…

MM: How did you select these specific seventeen sequences?

MP: They’re a cross-section of the Momix aesthetic across almost forty years. It’s a sequence of highlights from several shows, plus some new work, mixed into a kind of surreal suite of dances.

MM: Your dances are really amazing—and so are the props and costumes! Who designed the amazing “Marigold” frocks and the wonderful sculpture used in “Dream Catcher”?

MP: Associate Director Cynthia Quinn and I created the marigold costumes with the help of our costume designer, Phoebe Katzen, and Mother Nature.

The “Dream Catcher” sculpture was created by sculptor Alan Boeding for Momix. It’s beautiful just sitting there, but it’s designed to move and be danced in. We give equal weight to props, costumes, lighting and choreography. We invent costumes and props as well as the movement for them.

MM: “Paper Trails” and “Spawning” contain nudity and are really high-concept pieces. So, what are the themes/meanings behind those sets and why did you decide to feature partial nudity in them?

MP: Amphibians don’t wear bras, so “Spawning” strives for a more natural look, and the dancers in “Paper Trails” needed to match the blankness of a sheet of paper. It’s not erotic nudity, it’s a kind of wearable purity, a costume made of skin that clings tightly to the body and moves when it moves.

Like many of our dances, these two are about metamorphosis.

MM: “Echoes of Narcissus” features a mirror and one—or two—dancers to incredible effect. So, how did you design this mirror and how long did this beautiful sequence take to perfect?

MP: One and one is two, no? We created this piece for the Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva. The extension and fluidity of her arms and legs inspired me to want to multiply them. The mirroring is very simple, but of course the movements had to be worked out by trial and error and made expressive.

MM: “Snow Geese” is also nothing short of a feast for the eyes, so how did you suspend the dancers and get the costumes to light up in the dark?

MP: Some light up, some don’t light up, that’s the secret of black light (which I was introduced to in the 1960s).

How the dancers are suspended (as you say) is for the audience to imagine.

MM: “If You Need Somebody” is absolutely hilarious! How did you first get inspired to create a dance with dummies and how fun was it to work out the details of that set?

MP: I started out with Pilobolus. We weren’t trained dancers, so we were each other’s dummies some of the time. I’ve always been interested in animating the inanimate. Someone made me a set of life-size paper mâché dummies forty years ago, and I put them in chairs on my porch for security and someone to talk to; they’re still there. Cynthia Quinn danced with a dummy (that bore some resemblance to me) in a MOMIX dance called “When We Are Alone” some years ago; I called it her “man-a-quinn.” Should there be MOMIX for Dummies?

Or perhaps Dummies for MOMIX?

MM: The music in this show is hypnotic! How did you find and/or create it and can people buy a CD of it or download it somewhere?

MP: I spend a major part of my day wandering the Litchfield hills listening to music on my Bose noise-reducing headphones. Music drives imagery. And if I don’t find the right music, it finds me through some algorithm that responds to my tastes. We don’t have CDs, but you’ll find full music credits in our printed programs.

MM: What are your biggest hopes for the future of MOMIX over the next forty years?

MP: Hah! I would hope that the company would dance on my grave once in a while to keep me awake.

MM: So, Moses, is there anything else that you would like to add in closing?

MP: No, I would like to subtract. To take away -- like chips of marble from the block -- or to concentrate a substance alchemically by reducing it into some highly distilled essence. To be used as a supplement! In the form of a show.