What a complete treat it was to be invited to attend this year’s MOMIX in the Garden.
To see MOMIX perform is always sure to be an incredible experience, but to see MOMIX perform privately for a small group of about 200 or so attendees – well, it was one of those never to be forgotten evenings! The half-hour performance (a selection of dances from their varied shows) took place at the home of Kristin & Grant Mudge in Norfolk. The evening would benefit the Susan B. Anthony project based in Torrington.
The scene: A hilltop in Norfolk, rolling fields, lofty barns, split-rail fences, blue sky, and a warm evening sun. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before the show began.
The amazing dancers were just hanging out in the field beforehand, stretching it out, letting us mere mortals observe their pre-performance rituals!
With the sun lowering to just the right point in the sky, introductions and acknowledgments were made, then it was time! Anticipation was high up there on the scale…and MOMIX did not disappoint.
MOMIX is a company of dancer-illusionists. They use the human body, props, light, and shadow to create the most amazing dances you can imagine. You can’t help but make up your own story for each unique routine. Case in point – the first piece. White circus tent-y thing (not the official name I’m sure). Enjoy a few more photos of the various dances…
Way to capture the audience’s attention, white tent-y thing!
Moses Pendleton, Artistic Director, answers questions posed by the audience after the performance.
The sky trying to steal MOMIX’s thunder. Almost sunset, almost.
This is the lovely couple, Neal and Gina White. Neal is a partner at Cramer and Anderson and a Gold Sponsor for the evening’s event. We spent some time with Gina after the performance to hear about her connection to the Susan B. Anthony Project.
Tell us why you support MOMIX and SBA Project?
I support MOMIX and SBA Project in earnest for two reasons. First, I am a survivor. Domestic abuse knows no socioeconomic status. I won’t elaborate because the memories are painful and I have had to work so very hard to keep them in the past, forgive, and move forward. I am an empath. I am intuitive, perceptive, and introverted. I’ve suffered from abuse. I know only too well what these people have to endure and the fear of staying and/or leaving the situation. I know the gut-wrenching choices victims are forced to make, for themselves and their children. Anything I can do to help victims, I will.
Second, I have a close personal love for MOMIX because I am a professional dancer and performer myself. I have worked successfully in the industry for close to two decades as a member of the Actors Equity Association. My first job was with the television show Nickelodeon Rugrats. I have toured nationally and internationally and most recently with America’s Got Talent top twelve finalists Catapult Entertainment. I was fortunate enough and blessed to have worked with the legendary Debbie Allen on her NBC show FAME in 2004 and consistently picked up industrial work.
However, the most important factor of my support to MOMIX and SBA Project, and making the grueling choice to stay or leave an abusive relationship, has ultimately had to do with my career and the sacrifices and balance congruent to being a wife and mother. If I stayed home to be a mother, wife, and take care of children, I was called lazy, stupid, and unambitious. I was told I was a nothing, living in a make-believe world, and couldn’t make money to take care of my children. When I went on tour or had to leave for work, to put money in the bank and provide for my children, I was accused of being selfish and abandoning my children to put myself and my career first. People say what we as dancers and performers do isn’t “real” work for moms and dads. I felt like no matter what choice I made, it was a lose/lose situation.
Sadly, I did not know of MOMIX (can you believe it?!) until 2013, when I began dancing with Steven Ezra, a MOMIX dancer. He then introduced me to Rebecca Rasmussen, another dancer with MOMIX, and we all have shot with photographer Ron Compton. Since then we have become close friends. I watch the dancers in MOMIX, my peers, friends, and colleagues and the painstaking work they do at the event. My eyes sting with burning tears. I let them fall freely. Wistful thoughts come in waves, such as “I wish I had”… “if I only did this differently”… “I should have searched harder”… “how could I have not known” and I let myself ride with the emotions, knowing that I did only my best with the tools I had. I let those feelings pass and rest quietly with my memories.
My age and physical capacity have sorrowfully pushed me past a performance career with MOMIX. Supporting the Susan B. Anthony Project and this stunning fundraiser, and anyway I can support my fellow dancers in MOMIX, which brings me all the joy in the world. It’s my way of bringing light into the darkness I have experienced as a survivor.
Your husband’s company was a gold sponsor. Can you talk about why they chose to be involved?
The philanthropy of Cramer and Anderson LLP, to give to the Susan B. Anthony Project is because of the core elements regarding education and empowerment as well as arts and culture. C & A’s involvement and sponsorship promotes charitable engagement through kindness, compassion, and empathy as well as supporting and giving to creating awareness and prevention programs within the community.
Neal and I were a personal sponsor to MOMIX in the Garden in 2015 in addition to Cramer and Anderson’s sponsorship. This year in 2016, and because my husband has a close personal tie to the event, I feel his passion increased the support of his law partners and inspired them to continue to give to this very special fundraiser.
What’s your favorite thing about the event?
Easily my favorite thing about the event could be the delicious spread of meats, cheeses, fresh fruits, and vegetables or the scrumptious passed hors d’oeuvres crossed with the fine selections of wines. The SBA staff, Gina Devaux, and Jeanne Fusco, and their kind volunteers are so passionate and heartfelt about the event, it’s contagious. Having the moment to personally tell Cynthia Quinn what a legend she is in the dance world was astounding.
However, I would have to say watching my friends dance in the intimate performance with my technical eye, and talking choreography one-on-one with an industry echelon such as Moses Pendleton, takes the cake for being my favorite thing about the event. When my husband took a moment to say hello and shake hands with the artistic director, Moses turned to me and said, “Oh yes, Gina, so nice to meet you! I was watching you, thinking you were one of my very own dancers standing there drinking a glass of wine”. Moses did not know that I was a dancer until that moment. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Moses. You have no idea how much those few little words mean to me. They will stay with me forever.
Susan B. Anthony Project: sbaproject.org 860-489-3798
MOMIX : www.momix.com 860-868-7454
Photos: Lora/Words: Bev
Assistant: Julie Alleyn. Thanks Julie!