Spring Concert by MHS Dance Company

Montclair High School Dance Company shows their talent at three shows over the weekend for the 2017 Spring Concert, “Where to Begin.”

Montclair High School showcases true talent at their 2017 Spring Dance Concert.

spring concert 2017 mhs dance
Photo by Scott Kennedy for The Montclair Dispatch.

This is a photojournalistic article and a gallery is attached to this article. All readers should click through the gallery to view the entire set. 

The Montclair High School Dance Company showed us their moves this past weekend at the 2017 Spring Concert, putting on three consecutive performances as riveting to audiences as they were contagious.

Emotions ran high on Sunday, with pride clearly etched in the director’s face as she battled against tears to provide comments. “I couldn’t have asked for a better show,” said Kamille J. King,  Artistic Director of the shows this past weekend. “We missed two rehearsals because of the blizzard last week, but all of the dancers just really pushed through in the end.”

King, who had been studying dance since attending Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts at age 11, was new to Montclair this year. “I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year now, though,” said King.

This would come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to see her dancers, composed of the four grades attending Montclair High School, who really put on a show to be remembered. Words fail to do justice to the passion and fervor displayed by these young women and men, as images captured from the show can attest to. Experiences such as these truly must  be seen to be believed.

Violet Ullman, a MHS Senior Dancer. Photo by Scott Kennedy for the Montclair Dispatch

Kicking off the afternoon with a dance choreographed by Earl Mosley and music by Len Faki, it immediately became apparent that the audience was in for a real treat. The red and blue backdrops combined with black dresses and constant movement made for a fiery, impassioned atmosphere which would have felt almost Lynchian if not for the thumping bass music permeating everything.

From there, the dancers donned white outfits and put on a slightly more subdued show, punctuated with moments of staccato where the performers struck poses like something out of Greek Athenian sculpture. With music coming from pop idols like Kanye West to beloved electronic artists like Nosaj Thing, and even up-and-coming composer Ramin Djawadi, the mood could not possibly have been better.

Djawadi has become famous in the past decade for his scores on golden age television productions including Game of Thrones and Westworld. His cover of the Rolling Stones classic which he composed for Westworld provided the musical foundation and costume theme for Dance 7, “Paint It, Black,” which was choreographed by Hillary Nicola. This performance, along with others such as “Deep End,” which preceded the finale and utilized a new song by pop virtuoso Jamie XX called “The Rest Is Noise,” produced some of the most enchanting acts of the afternoon.

In the end, whether the dances involved torn jeans and street fashion, tee shirts and leggings, or just elegant dresses, each presentation was as lively and intoxicating as the next. The finale, “GO OFF!” was aptly named indeed, and left everyone off with good vibes and happy faces. Sophie Claman and Maiya Blaney, both senior dancers at Montclair High School, served as choreographers in this instance, and accomplished a feat which was nothing short of monumental. They should be very proud.

spring concert 2017 mhs dance
Photo by Scott Kennedy for The Montclair Dispatch.

“Dancing for me is a way for me to escape, and also to express myself,” said Claman, who has been dancing since the age of three, and will be attending Ohio State University next year to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dancing. “I’m just really grateful to have been a part of this and to have met so many cool people. Plus, [I get] to tour with an artist as a back-up dancer, and getting to direct as well.”

Claman plans to only do more in this line of work, so here’s hoping for many more wonderful years ahead of her, and that these tremendous accomplishments end up being stepping stones on her way to an even brighter future.

“I want every dancer to know that it’s okay to dream big,” said King. “I just want all of my dancers to keep pushing forward and not hold back.” If these three shows are any indication, it is safe to say that everyone involved is without doubt on the right track.”

Scott Kennedy, Photographer with Studio042 Photography of Montclair said, “I have photographed tens of thousands of images on the MHS community, the MHS Dance company is always the most challenging. The low light, and fast action present the technical challenges. I only get to see and photograph the concert once during the dress rehearsal the night before the opening night. The dress rehearsal is the first time I get to see their routines so it always fun to try and anticipate when and where their striking movements will be, compose, focus and click at the right moment.  I have been truly humbled to be asked back each year. The photo gallery should, if I have done my work correctly, deliver to the reader a thorough idea of the beauty and majesty the dancers delivered on stage.” 

To view the gallery, please visit montclairdispatch.smugmug.com.

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