New Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre to open in 2015

By Megan Kimmerer
  • Rendering of the Kahanoff Tower
  • Kimberley Cooper, Artistic Director, DJD; Alan Moon, Board Chair of the Kahanoff Centre; Cathy Glover, Director, Community Investment, Suncor Energy; Linda Johnson, MLA; Kathi Sundstrom, Executive Director, DJD; Evan Woolley, Councillor; Janice Liebe, Architect, Dialog; Vicki Adams Willis, Co-Founder and Founder in Residence, DJD; Michèle Moss, Co-Founder, DJD; Hannah Stilwell, Co-Founder, DJD / Photo by Noel Bégin

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD), a company known for putting its own spin on traditional jazz values, is moving to the new twelve-storey Kahanoff Tower, which will open in Calgary in 2015.

“DJD has been in its current space since 1993 and we are bursting at the seams,” said Artistic Director Kimberley Cooper.

After years of planning and the majority of their $25-million target budget raised through government and private donations, on April 30 DJD hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre. The ceremony included speeches from politicians, DJD executives and other community members. A parade between the neighbouring Kahanoff Centre and the construction site was lead by musicians and dancers, with more than 100 guests joining in. “Dancing down that street with a jazz band felt so right,” said Cooper.

The new dance centre will include seven dance studios and a spacious studio theatre with professional lighting and sound, and seating for 200 people. It will also provide space for costume construction and storage, a media room and library, a box office, dressing rooms and company administration.

“This new space screams possibility to me,” she said. “Jazz comes from a history where dance and music are a part of everyday life and this pocket of the community will now have the chance to explode with the richness of that.”

The theatre and one of the seven studios will be available for community use. Also accessible to the public will be a community living room space that can be used for presentations, fundraisers, workshops and more. “We hope to create a real hub for all kinds of art and artists in Calgary,” said Cooper.

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