|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.