There's quirky. And then there's

The Best of Momix


Athletic, daring, wildly creative and masters of many types of movement, the dancers of Momix are celebrating the company's 25th anniversary with a retrospective of 13 short pieces this week at the Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theatre. (The program also marks the close of the 25th anniversary season of Dance Celebration, which brings high-quality performances to Philadelphia audiences.)

A 90-minute concert without intermission, The Best of Momix flows from one offbeat offering to another. Thursday's opening-night performance began with "Discman," featuring a glow-in-the-dark marionette some 30 feet tall. Puppets and complicated costumes were also behind the neon-light show "Arachnophobia," and the short, funny "The Last Vaudevillian," choreographed by Philadelphia's Brian Sanders.

In "Orbit," reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil, Yasmine Lee danced sensuously, keeping a hula hoop gyrating the entire time. Later in the program, "Dream Catcher" also evoked the surreal Canadian circus, featuring dancers Danielle Arico and Steven Marshall interacting with a large metal structure that they rolled around the stage, swung on like gymnasts on uneven bars, and controlled by shifting their body weight.

"White Widow," a clever solo for Cynthia Quinn, combined aerial and pointe work, and an especially wacky piece, "Millenium Skiva," put two dancers (Lee and Marshall, in futuristic silver costumes) on skis. The movement took them where skis were never meant to go - in crazy positions balanced on their curved tips, for example.

Martial arts were represented in "Pole Dance" and "Sputnik (Fellow Traveler)," which also made good use of yoga asanas. "The Wind Up" borrowed from rhythmic gymnastics. And "Moon Beams" made imaginative use of the stability balls used in fitness. The evening, fast-paced and entertaining, occasionally felt more like tricks than dance.

Oddly, The Best of Momix featured completely different pieces from what the preview materials and the Penn Presents Web site suggested would be offered; none of the dances pictured on the cover of the program were performed. And a promised solo from artistic director Moses Pendleton never materialized.