MHS Dance Company: Joining Hands

The Montclair High School Dance Company performed their spring show, "Joining Hands," this past weekend. The dance company is comprised of 45 dancers who are all extremely dedicated to their art, as was apparent throughout the entire show.


MHS Dance Company amazes audience with their performance.

The MHS Dance Company’s show, “Joining Hands,” was headed by artistic director, Denise Brown. “The show was a collaboration between the choreographers and the dancers,” said Brown. “The choreographers planned it, and I didn’t really know exactly what they were doing until the show unfolded. I like to let it be a surprise.”

Dancers of Luz Dance Theatre perform on stage
© Jaroslaw Grudzinski | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On the side, Brown also does some other artwork, including painting and drawing. Featured on the front of the programs for this specific dance show was one of Brown’s own pieces, a charcoal drawing with some rose petals on it in the shape of dancers holding hands. This beautiful piece was inspired by the famous “The Dance” or  “La Danse” works by Matisse.

Alongside Brown were the two choreographers, Jules Bakshi and Emily Claman, both extremely avid dancers. Bakshi has recently done work with the renowned dance company Pilobolus, based in Connecticut and hosting international entertainment.

In addition to Brown, Bakshi and Claman, five alumni dancers also did work in the show. One alumni, the late James Wiggins, Jr., had his work featured in the show. According to Brown, his wife brought in his work in order to preserve his memory.

Although there was not just one overall theme shown throughout the works this past weekend, there were many messages shown throughout the pieces. From the community to caring for the world, the MHS Dance Company showed how they could preserve relationships through the art of dance.

In addition to showing relationships through dance, this show was also dedicated to the late Ella Kottick Bandes, a member of the MHS Dance Company from 2003-2007 and who passed this year. A scholarship fund is now being created in her name, which can be found at

“I was really happy with the outcome of the overall theme of the show,” said Brown. “With everything that has been going on in today’s age, it’s really important to relieve some of the tension that is going on in the world.”

With the amount of dedication that the MHS Dance Company put in to their work, it is no surprise that the show was such a success. As Brown explained, the dancers train both in and out of school, as well as with outside dance companies. They try out, train, take classes and meet certain criteria, “just like any other athlete.” Brown also mentioned how they rehearse every day for months before the show.

The MHS Dance Company’s hard work certainly paid off, amazing friends, family and residents of the town. “The future of American dance was on full display this weekend,” said Scott Kennedy, professional photographer attending the event. “The talent, dedication and professionalism these young adults demonstrated was peerless.”

To see a calendar of events coming up at Montclair High School, please visit their website. Any shows the MHS Dance Company performs next are sure to amaze any audience.

Copyright © 2013, The Montclair Dispatch

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