Body art

Posted on 09 Sep 2010 at 7:00pm

Gay dancer Rob Laqui finds therapy in the fantasy of MOMIX’s ‘Botanica’

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

‘Botanica’ turns nature into art through dance with cast member Rob Laqui, below.
AU NATUREL | ‘Botanica’ turns nature into art through dance with cast member Rob Laqui, below.

MOMIX: BOTANICA
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
Sept. 10–11. 8 p.m. $19–$125.
TITAS.org

According to Rob Laqui, he’s pretty easy to spot. In MOMIX’s Botanica, amid the vast imagery created by the cast, you’ll know it when you see him onstage. And it’s not because he has an inflated sense of ego.

“I’m the only Filipino guy!” he laughs.

Laqui is soft-spoken but with a sense of humor that’s part dry, part snappy. He also has a flair for the poetic. As a gay man, he can see why the community might be fascinating by MOMIX, which brings its latest show to the Winspear Opera House this week, courtesy of TITAS.

“In my experience and in my opinion, there is this certain soft masculinity there,” he says. “I think everyone responds to the beauty of the images of this show but especially the LGBT community. We like pretty things! But also, gays have a certain sensitivity to that [beauty].”

Laqui is starting his seventh season with MOMIX — quite a run for a man who started out as a musical theater major in college. Moving to New York City from Minnesota, he planned a career on the stage acting and singing, but something clicked in him that made him decide traditional theater wasn’t exactly his thing. He began working on body movement that played into some of his characters and slowly surfaced into his interests.  Then he saw MOMIX perform.

“I remember thinking that it was just awesome and I wanted to work with that,” he says.

His dream came true.

Rob Laqui
Rob Laqui

He describes MOMIX as “Cirque du Soleil Lite,” but with a wink and a nod: In the same vein, but minus ethereal acrobatics and eerie clowns.

Ultimately, though, Laqui considers the troupe illusionists.

“I will describe it as modern dance, but with us, the audience will look at our movements and then it takes a second for them to wrap their mind around what they are seeing, “ he says. The eclecticism of the movements into images and shapes, is more than dancing; it’s a challenge.

In Botanica, the show lives up to its name. Choreographed by Moses Pendleton, the cast creates a world of nature by moving their bodies into different kinds of natural imagery be it flowers or creatures or both.  Pendleton paints these pictures with each dancer serving as his brushstroke — a role Laqui cherishes for its art and his sanity.

“Dance allows me to go to these places where I can be fierce or cruel even thought I’m super nice in person,” he says. “That’s the beauty of it.

Every dancer has the capacity to encompass every emotion. It’s our job to communicate that. That’s why I do it. It’s the cheapest form of therapy.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

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