Artistic Director’s Message – Family of Jazz

By Kimberley Cooper
2 min read | March 25, 2022

It’s been a long time since it has felt like this.  The countdown is on and the things are happening.  In about a month we are going to be opening a live show.  It’s hard to imagine, but it’s coming.  We are working hard, there is an urgency in each day because the future is uncertain.  Many days there are less dancers than there should be in the studio, covid is still with us, some days feel more vulnerable than others. We keep testing, and washing our hands, and time marches on.

I mentioned earlier this season that I had an experience of seeing a live jazz music show last fall, the first live concert experience I had since 2020 and how beautiful, moving, and cathartic it was. That was the inspiration for this work. It’s about music and dance, and yes, it’s always about that in my/our work, but in this case even more purely so.  Each tune, each choreographer, each dance, has a different vibe, mood, sound, feeling, and for that 3-minute, 7-minute, 10- minute moment, we are all asked to just be there together.

Sometimes in dance-making we ask ourselves specific questions. In this case I think, as is common in jazz, we ask, what does this music do to my body? What does this music look like, how can these bodies play this music, how can they play with this music?  There is common ground in how we, the jazz dance-makers in this project create.  It’s been lovely to have these choreographers here. I’m thrilled to introduce you to them through their dances.

This show is called Family of Jazz because I love these people and they feel like family. Because there is kinship in our approach to our work. Because much of the music in this piece isn’t straight ahead jazz, but has influences from the massive world or family of jazz. Because many of us are Canadian, and many of us are white, and so we relate to the form as guests or perhaps distant cousins…

I hope that we can sweep you away in this joyous celebration with us. I hope you can have the feeling I had at that concert last fall, where you can dig these moments that these incredible humans are creating for you. This will be the opposite of isolating, this will be coming together.

Keep your fingers crossed, keep washing your hands, see you next month!

Kimberley Cooper

Artistic Director