Denville Danceworks knows how to entertain audiences of all ages, so why not take the entertainment a step further? Christine Kohler, owner of Danceworks, has put that idea to the forefront by creating "The Moving Company."
The Moving Company is a non-competitive dance program for ages 10 and up. Through the program, Kohler brings the team to different places during the year to perform for groups, nursing homes, and Denville events. Kohler believes that teaching her students the art of giving back is important, but is always impressed with them, no matter what.
"It is a privilege and a pleasure for me to head the Moving Company. I learn so much from the amazing young people who participate," Kohler said. "The Moving Company has become my way to give back to the community while also honoring the commitment of the more serious students at the studio."
Some of the places the group visit are nursing homes. The group begins their season with the Denville Farmer's Market and the Denville Open House. The also group also has performed at the Denville Historical Society's Holiday Pageant. After showing off their talents to the Denville community, the girls hit the road. "We try to structure our repertoire around music and genres that elderly audiences will enjoy. We always include some tap dancing, and try to incorporate some "standards" into the music choices. The girls sing, dance and entertain the elderly throughout January," Kohler added.
Emma and Ally DiGiovanni, twin sisters and Moving Company dancers, find joy in being members of the team. Both are juniors at Mt. Lakes High School, are learning valuable lessons like time management and responsibility, from their time spent at The Moving Company.
"The Moving Company has not only improved my dancing technique, but has also exercised my memory and performance skills," Emma said. "Being a part of moving company requires you to develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for yourself. We learn the dances in only about 7 hours and after that, it's up to each individual to run through it on her own time and make sure she's prepared for the performance," Ally added. While the Moving Company is a time commitment, the girls find joy in what they bring to residents at local senior care facilities. Ally looks back on her time with The Moving Company with a smile. She noted that most young adults don't get the chance to feel what volunteering is really like.
"Sometimes the residents tap their feet or sing along and that's really satisfying. It feels really good to be able to give someone that joy and it's an experience that I don't think a lot of young adults get to have that often because they're so busy with school and with other activities."
For Kohler, there is no audtion process, she leaves it completely up to the dancers to decide if they want to make the commitment to serving the community. Of course, picking up choreography fast will help out as well.
"The Moving Company is open to any Danceworks student who is over 10 years of age, willing to make the commitment to the season and able to learn choreography quickly and make changes when necessary."
Where does the company get it's namesake? Kohler explains that the name has a double meaning. "The name has taken on a double meaning for me...because while obviously the dancers are moving...it is also very moving to watch them in action."