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Artistic Leadership

Kimberley Cooper, Artistic Director

Kimberley Cooper is a prominent member of Calgary’s dance community, having been dancing and making dance professionally for more than two decades.  She has been working with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) since becoming an apprentice with the company in 1989, and has been Artistic Associate/Resident Choreographer since 2001.

Cooper’s work is often described as cinematic and otherworldly. The dance she makes is grounded, visceral, passionate and often involves a lot of movement in the spine. It frequently comes from the African roots of jazz but is reinvented respectfully out of context. She responds to the vernacular and human side of jazz but loves to “creaturize” it.  Cooper enjoys working with live music and has made her mark as an improviser. She likes to make work for non-traditional venues, to bring audiences impossibly close to the dancers. She is endlessly inspired by the spirit of jazz, an art form that was born in a culture where dance and music are madly in love, hungry to evolve and greatly influenced by what’s happening in the moment.

Since 2001 Cooper has created 11 full-length works on DJD, two in collaboration with DJD co-founder Hannah Stilwell (Velvet in 2003 and ¡BULLA! a Loud Cuban-Jazz Experiment in 2005) plus nine on her own.  Two enjoyed major Canadian tours (¡BULLA! in 2005, and wowandflutter in 2009). Before its cross-Canada tour, ¡BULLA!  opened at the Havana Jazz Festival in 2004.  One of her most recent works, The Great Jazz History Mystery, an educational show for grades K-6, created in collaboration with Cory Bowles, has been seen by almost 14,000 Alberta kids since its premiere in 2011.  She has made two BravoFACT! films with director John Albanis, one of which, Distemper, with music by renowned electronic recording artist Amon Tobin, was released in a box set of Tobin’s work by his record label Ninja Tune in 2012.

In 2002, Kimberley Cooper was named Emerging Artist of the Year by Alberta Dance Alliance. Although closely associated with DJD, Cooper also dances and choreographs independently.  She has performed, studied and or taught in Canada, the USA, Spain, Japan, The Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba and Brazil.  Her independent choreography has been presented by One Yellow Rabbit, The University of Calgary, eko Dance (Youth Dance Unlimited), Alberta Dance Theatre, DSW, Loose Moose Theatre Company, Theatre Calgary, Springboard Dance, Dances For small Stages (Vancouver), Alberta Dance Alliance (Edmonton), and SUNY Potsdam (NY USA).  In June 2012 Cooper was an Artist in Residence for Calgary as Cultural Capital of Canada.

Organizational Leadership

Kathi Sundstrom, Executive Director

Kathi Sundstrom attended DJD’s premiere production, Body and Sole, in 1984 and became an instant supporter. In 1989, Kathi joined the DJD Board of Directors and in 1992 became President of the

Board. In 1993, Kathi made a courageous career move when she left the for-profit world to become General Manager of DJD. The move offered Kathi myriad new challenges along with a radical reduction in her annual income. She promised to work with the company for two years, and now, over 24 years later, is still at the helm. She was the proud recipient of the 2005 Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management and the 2017 Calgary Awards for Community Achievement in the Arts. In addition to those awards and other achievements, Kathi also led the major expansion of DJD with opening of the $28 million DJD Dance Centre in April 2016.

Before coming to DJD, Kathi worked for 10 years for three different operating divisions of TNT Express Worldwide in western Canada, in roles in Sales, Management and as a Facilitator and Trainer in Total Quality Management. Prior to that she spent four years in Management in western Canada for Mariposa Stores, where she coordinated the openings of their first two stores in the United States. Kathi graduated from SAIT with a major in Business Administration and Consumer Marketing and was listed on the President’s Honour Roll. Kathi served as Treasurer of the Canadian Dance Assembly from 2007-2011, was co-chair of the Mayor’s Lunch for Business and the Arts in 1999 and 2000, and was a member of the executive committee of the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance from 1994-2000.

Board Leadership

pam corbett, DJD BOARD CHAIR

Pam is a Partner at Cenera, Calgary’s leading HR and Business Consulting firm. Pam leads Cenera’s Career Transition practice. Starting with a core belief in the current expertise and future potential of her clients, Pam thrives on working with them to generate new possibilities for career renewal. Clients are motivated by Pam’s energy, resourcefulness and enthusiasm. As part of Cenera’s participation in Career Partners International (CPI), Pam served as Region Leader for Canada, helping align and support the work of this global partnership.

A sense of community investment and participation was instilled in Pam from a young age. And she has continued to find ways to support the community, volunteering as a Board member with some incredible organizations including The YWCA of Calgary, The Women’s Centre and currently, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

When not at work, you can find Pam on a travel adventure, volunteering somewhere in Calgary or finding her bliss in a yoga class.



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