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October 17, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                             Media Release

                                              DJD Celebrates the Spirit of Josephine Baker in Year of the Horse

CALGARY, AB… DJD kicks off its 2014-15 Season with Year of the Horse, the completely fictional adventures of Josephine Baker from November 7-15, 2014 at Theatre Junction GRAND.  Featuring eight dancers, three musicians, and eight mechanical horses, DJD Artistic Director and choreographer Kimberley Cooper is creating a fictional fantasy in an exotic, erotic, otherworldly setting.

“I have been interested in the idea of Josephine Baker for some time,” says Cooper.  “She was such a brilliant jazz dance icon and an interesting and inspirational person. Last year, visual artist Lisa Brawn told me she was buying a collection of mechanical horses, the kind you put the quarter in and rode at the mall when you were little. I fell in love with the idea of Josephine Baker in all of her scantily clad, wildly physical, sexual but comical, mad survival instinct glory dancing in a landscape filled with these sandblasted ponies. Josephine was born in the Year of the Horse so it all seemed to fit.  It is going to be abstract, dream-like and non-linear.”

The music is original contemporary jazz played live by a piano trio: Rubim de Toledo (composer and bass), Chris Andrew (composer and piano), and Jonathan McCaslin (drums).  The production features eight dancers: Rodney Diverlus, Audrey Gaussiran, Marc Hall, Catherine Hayward, Shayne Johnson, Natasha Korney, Rubens Lopes, and Dinou Marlett-Stuart. Costumes, created by Natalie Purschwitz, will be influenced by the look of Josephine Baker in the 1920s and lighting will be designed by Wladimiro A Woyno Rodriguez .

Special Panel Discussion
As part of the Canadian Jazz Festival Kimberley Cooper, the three musicians and one dancer from the production will participate in a special 30-minute panel discussion, facilitated by Kenna Burima, following the matinee performance of Year of the Horse on Sunday, November 9.  FREE.
Tickets to performances of Year of the Horse and DJD’s spring production Ziriguidum are now on sale by calling 403-245-3533 or by visiting
DJD acknowledges the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development, Canada Council for the Arts, and corporate sponsors and partners Suncor Energy and FirstEnergy Capital.
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For further information please contact:

Helen Moore-Parkhouse, Marketing Consultant or 587-227-0150


June 19, 2013

DJD Appoints New Artistic Director


CALGARY, AB… Big news for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks as Founding Artistic Director Vicki Adams Willis takes on a new role while handing over the Artistic Director reins to current Artistic Associate and Resident Choreographer Kimberley Cooper.

“Vicki Adams Willis co-founded and has been the Artistic Director of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks since its inception, and under her leadership over the past 29 years the company has developed a signature style and gained a solid reputation throughout the jazz world,” says DJD Board Chair Claudia Moore. “What better time than now, as we embark on an exciting new chapter in the history of DJD, to announce the appointment of a new Artistic Director. Not only are we on the brink of our 30th Anniversary Season, we are also getting closer to realizing the dream of the Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre. At the same time that Kimberley Cooper takes on the role of Artistic Director, Vicki Adams Willis will shift to an important new position within the company, that of Founder in Residence.”

“As we navigate through the significant growth spurt afforded by our new facility, we want to ensure that artistic integrity remains our number one priority,” says Vicki Adams Willis. “The mentoring and training of the next generation of jazz dancers, choreographers, teachers and company leaders is going to be of vital importance if we are going to not only survive, but indeed soar into the future. I am excited about taking on the new role of Founder in Residence and handing over the artistic direction of the company to Kimberley Cooper. Kim’s deep understanding of the jazz idiom and the essence and breadth of DJD’s work within the idiom, her unwavering respect and immense passion for DJD and the art form, her remarkable talent and breath-taking imagination,  and her many years of dedication to DJD are unbelievable benefits to our company and our city.”

“I have had such an amazing career with DJD,” says newly appointed Artistic Director Kimberley Cooper, “and now to be taking this next step at such an exciting time in the history of this company and with so much support, I am so lucky.  And so busy!  Our future is very bright and full of possibilities. Right now I’m preparing the details of DJD’s 30th Anniversary Season which we look forward to announcing soon.”

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For further information, please contact:
Helen Moore-Parkhouse   phone 403.802.3406 


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