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Momix will take fanciful dance through the natural world in 'Botanica'

Momix will take fanciful dance through the natural world in 'Botanica'
August 13, 2013

Nature, like the weather, is ever changing. In its dance-theater production "Botanica," Momix revels in the animated world of nature and its evolving beauty. The internationally famous company of dancer-illusionists, last seen at Penn State in a 2009 performance of "Lunar Sea," opens the Center for the Performing Arts 2013–2014 season with its production of "Botanica" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

The dance theatre production "Botanica," from Momix, will be Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Eisenhower Auditorium.

A 90-minute, family-friendly work featuring more than 20 performance pieces, "Botanica" follows the seasons beginning with winter. The performers explore the qualities of earth, light, darkness and air with the help of fanciful costumes, multimedia projections, custom-made props and clever puppetry created by Michael Curry, who co-designed the masks and puppets for Broadway’s "The Lion King." The eclectic score ranges from birdsongs to music by Vivaldi.

Tickets are $38 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $28 for a person 18 and younger. Buy tickets online at or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at three State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays) and Bryce Jordan Center (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

“Momix deals in illusions, props and trippy images, and 'Botanica' has an abundance of all three ...,” wrote Brian Seibert in The New York Times. "I took a fancy to the blooming marigolds, poking their green faces and shapely bare legs out of torso-size orange hair scrunchies. I liked the woman in a Vietnamese-looking hat with beaded strands that hung around her like a birdcage before spinning up like a turbine when she whirled. A triceratops skeleton coming to life is a sight any kid would deem cool. An autumnal dance of golden boughs makes quite a pretty picture.”

The dancers evoke plants, animals and natural phenomena such as solar flares.

“There are more cool effects (centaurs, snowstorms), more pretty pictures (sunflowers, flashlight fireflies),” Seibert added. “Little beetles outrun a giant snail. Finches fly by on roller skates. Nature photographs projected on the set’s backdrop could be sold as screen savers, and the dancers’ feathered fans would be the envy of a Las Vegas showgirl.”

Momix artists are masters of precision in the way they use the dance elements of body, energy, space and time. As testament to the company’s mass appeal in dance and beyond, Momix has been featured in various film and television projects. The dancers have even appeared in commercials for Hanes underwear and the Target department store chain.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or local expert, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Eileen Leibowitz and Benson and Christine Lichtig sponsor the presentation.

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