By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
USA contemporary dance company Momix has wowed Auckland show-goers with Opus Cactus’ Australasian Tour at the Aotea Centre.
Opus Cactus carries one into a world of colour, contrasts, silhouette, sound made palpable through the dancers’ form that transcends the physical, drawing its audience into a world of illusion, the realm of the ancients.
This Australasian performance of Opus Cactus draws earthy music and sounds from the Australian continent. Didgeridoos, sounds of wind, fire, the night are shaped by the grace of the human body, lizards, insects, snakes, birds brought alive within the observer’s mind - a mesmerising journey into a place of dreamtime and the far off Arizona Desert.
Within the dream is stillness, seasons, the elements, storms. It is a symbolism of being.
Momix is under the art direction of Moses Pendleton, who the Toronto Star entitled ‘Renaissance Man’, Pendleton is renowned for exceptional inventiveness in conjuring worlds of surrealistic images using props, light, shadow, humour and the human body.
Opus Cactus was conceived within the mind of Moses Pendleton on discovering the Arizona Desert. He says the giant saguaro cactus casts an impression of stillness within the desert – personifying power, presence and size. First created for the Arizona Ballet, Pendleton then brought the concept to Momix (based in Washington, Connecticut) it has since morphed into a collection of 19 desert vignettes.
The Australasian performance has a rhythm of sway, wave and fire. It teems with life. Beneath a desert sky, the dancers display amazing athleticism within a ballet so graceful it is almost inconceivable the routines include pole vaulting, body surfing, aerial gymnastics. It is a seamless illusion, which, in the Auckland premiere experience, literally held an almost full house audience within a collective hand.
Bravo, Opus Cactus is a must see performance.
Where: The Edge’s ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland.
When: Until Sunday February 15 2004.
How: Book at www.ticketek.com or 09 307-5000.