Artistic Director’s Message From the Road – Family of Jazz Tour
It’s already Thursday, August 3!
What a wild week it has been so far. It was only last Wednesday (July 26) the band joined us for two days of rehearsal before we hit the road on Saturday (July 29) for our 2023 Family of Jazz summer tour.
We flew to Montréal and bussed straight away to Saint-Sauveur – about an hour away. A sweet little Québec town deeply engaged in their summer festival – Le Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur (https://festivaldesarts.ca/).
Sunday (July 30) was a long day of technical work – prepping the stage, setting up and sound checking the band, setting the lights, spacing the dances, we performed for an almost full house at 8 pm that very night. The theatre was referred to as the “Big Top” and was a tent, but a fully equipped tent! I think there were 550 seats but still seemed very intimate.
The performance was electric! The band and dancers were on fire, Karímah was so charming, speaking in French and English between pieces. The audience loved us! We had a standing ovation at the end, and people were chatty and excited at intermission and after the show. Former DJD company dancers Audrey Gaussiran and Malika Srivastiva – both living in Montréal, came to the performance, it was so lovely to see them and have DJD family in the house.
There was a post-show chat with the festival’s Artistic Director Guillaume Côté and Executive Director Etienne Lavigne, that Rubim de Toledo and I attended. We spoke about DJD history and mission, how we train, how we work, how we work with live music, jazz history etc… Guillaume was particularity interested in our musicality, (if you don’t know who he is – look him up) it was a great conversation, and even though Etienne was translating, it had a wonderful flow. It’s a great festival and it was a magical night.
Monday, we came to Ottawa by bus, had a chance to chill, and then had another long set up and performance day yesterday (Wednesday) at the National Arts Centre (NAC – https://nac-cna.ca/). After the opening piece, the kid behind me exclaimed “I LOVE IT.” It was a great show too! The audience was energetic and excited throughout the performance – which also ended in a standing O. The dancers and band were solid, despite some technical weirdness that only we would pick up on. There are some great photos from the show on NAC social media (https://www.instagram.com/NAC.CNA) that of course DJD has shared too (https://www.instagram.com/decidedlyjazz/), check them out!
It’s a real honour to perform at the NAC. Backstage there are photos of dancers, musicians, actors, all kinds of stars from all over the world that have performed here, it’s really something to feel that history and energy and to be contributing to it.
We have another performance tonight (Thursday) and then tomorrow we have an event with the Ottawa Swing Dance Society, then the weekend off. I’ll check in again in a few days.
Love from the Family,
Photo Credit: Family of Jazz at Le Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur. Photo by Sarah Minor.