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"..topless trapeze artist in black spandex pants.." [Jul. 16th, 2005|02:46 pm]
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Momentum Place 2005

By N. G. Kent

In the beginning, a man fell in love with his feminine side standing in an empty child’s wading pool. Then came a dancing hunchback, a poem about organic baby food, a Shakespearian dance, the actor in Bulgaria, two men with suitcases full of dyed feathers, a pair of arrogant balls, a hanging, crystal and joint rolling, and a topless trapeze artist in black spandex pants. All of this, of course, happened after Vermouth performed a song about a velvet circus and everybody warmed up in front of the audience of some odd 150 members.


By now you’re probably wondering what I was smoking. And this is where I tell you, unflinchingly, that I don’t smoke.

I spent the last Saturday of June at Momentum Place 2005.

Momentum Place is a unique display of random and spectacular acts cultivated and performed by talented, determined professionals. It is an annual project undertaken by Mo’ Dance West and Pearl Productions, a company run by local dancer, Lexi Pearl. It has been a reoccurring event held at the Theatricum Botanicum for the last seven years.

As you may have gathered from the first paragraph, Momentum has a bit of everything. While dance is a running vein, it draws on many other aspects of the performing arts, creating an inspiring two-hour rainbow of, as so eloquently written on the flyer, “Expressive, original, and dynamic talents.”

Original indeed, for aside of the circus, in what Saturday afternoon would you see a woman named Katia dancing to French ballads several feet from the ground, following a wordless scene in which two men called Jon and Scott emerge from the audience and can’t keep their hats on or their shoelaces tied? People of this nature aren’t exactly abundant, and are almost never in the same room. It’s nice to have a place to see not one, but several things that wouldn’t necessarily be seen all together.

“Momentum Place is like a year in review for me,” says Pearl, who has been making her living as a performer since she graduated from the University of Santa Barbara seven years ago. “It’s a showcase of everybody I’ve worked with. I literally call people up the day of and ask them to perform. And it’s great for everyone involved; gives the artists a chance to perform their own material, which doesn’t happen much.” Although spontaneous, the end product is smooth and keeps the audience riveted.

But as this event only comes once a year, Pearl would like to establish a dance season at the Theatricum Botanicum—a program to provide a venue for other dance companies to utilize, as they are hard to come by. “Plus, I think dance is something definitely lacking in our community,” Pearl goes on. “I’m looking to find grants, other funding opportunities, people to help out…”

Judging by how the audience responded to Momentum, Pearl’s initiative is right on target. There’s something refreshing about dance that people forget more easily than any other art form, as it touches on interrelating without words. Unlike theater, dance depends on the body’s response to nearly everything. Dance is literally putting thought into action. And what’s more personally empowering than that?

Nothing, that’s what.

Look out the last week of June next year for Momentum Place 2006, and if you think you could help out with Lexi Pearl’s new project, feel free to email her at modancewest@hotmail.com.

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