Birds, bees, flowers and trees. That is the world that Momix’s inhabits in its “Botanica.” And on Thursday night, the mystical movement ensemble established a kinship with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
There, performing its homage to the natural world, Momix won over a crowd of hundreds who came out and filled the large amphitheater, a first for any dance company other than SPAC’s resident ensemble — the New York City Ballet.
Choreographer and company founder Moses Pendleton surely must have been pleased, but so too was the audience that savored Momix’s portrayals of earthly delights — starting with a brisk winter wind and ending with a raging river through a golden-leaf forest.
The cycle of life, minus humans, was fully represented in Momix’s evening-length celebration of nature. It all bloomed with only 10 dancers, who crawled, leapt and scurried while manipulating puppets and props to create the illusion of sunflowers, tornados and solar flares. They were accompanied by the company’s trademark blend of world music, with a large dose of Peter Gabriel, as well as snippets from Celtic Woman, Vivaldi, Delerium and Bluetech.
As in all Momix shows, the sights and sounds combined into a psychedelic display that rendered its viewers blissfully mesmerized.
Among the highlights was “Hornets Hop,” five buzzing insects that hummed and swarmed until they shriveled and died. Also memorable was “Branches Gathering for Autumnal Ball,” in which trees paired up to shimmy and swoon in the fading fall sun.
The flowers — Spanish dancing marigolds and swaying sunflowers — were also delightful for their elegance and beauty. The “Owls Hoot” and fireflies exalted the freedom of flight. Glorious abandonment was also discovered in “The Beaded Web,” in which a dancer whirled and whirled as if soaring through the air.
There was a primal feel to it all, which Pendleton hit on directly with his silly nod to the dinosaur and prehistoric man. A woman rode a triceratop, which eventually devoured her while a man slept on. “Botanica” also exploded with a battle of mythical centaurs who sparred like martial arts masters.
Not all of “Botanica” excited, however. The earlier section with neon arms and legs that glowed in the dark grew tiresome. So too did the sole dancer who rolled around on a mirror. At first, her reflection intrigued. But after 30 seconds, this ode to Persephone and her spring arrival looked trite.
Still, Momix is a lovable ensemble that certainly looked at home in SPAC’s outdoor environs. So at home, in fact, it will likely earn an invitation next year, which is once again lacking in the dance department.
Momix could come to the rescue.