DJD offers an eight-month training experience dedicated to the development of skilled and knowledgeable jazz dance artists ages 18+ who aspire to have a career in jazz dance.



DJD’s Professional Training Program (PTP) was created to foster the development of skilled and knowledgeable jazz dance artists.  The PTP cultivates a solid understanding of the history of jazz dance and music while building a high standard of jazz technique that emphasizes stylistic and vernacular nuance. Students receive continuous individual feedback, guidance, and encouragement to strive for excellence and attain their full potential as dance artists. Training at the DJD Dance Centre provides PTP dancers the opportunity to observe the artistry of our company’s dancers and choreographers, an environment that enriches the PTP experience.


Dancers in the Professional Training Program train 9:00AM-1:00PM, Monday to Friday, September to May with various performance opportunities throughout the season including formal studio showings, special appearances, and a year-end final production performed in the DJD Theatre.


The dancers of the PTP train within the DJD aesthetic that is based in a rooted jazz philosophy that honours the rich history of the form; one that is grounded in its movement choices, borrows from an Africanist aesthetic, prioritizes rich rhythmic play and an authentic response to the music, allows for the influences from codified jazz techniques, and continues to innovate while carving a path into the future.

The following areas of study provide PTP dancers with a broad spectrum of training:

  • Classes in jazz dance, jazz improvisation, jazz history and jazz music appreciation
  • Dances from the African Diaspora including West African rhythms and dance, Latin styles, and Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular dances
  • The fundamentals of tap, vernacular/swing dance and rhythmic play
  • Core strength, ballet and somatic practices
  • Repertoire from the vast history of DJD and new choreographic work


Ingrid Díaz Céspedes

PTP Director

Born and raised in Cuba, Ingrid is a graduate of the Cuban National School of Art (BFA Modern, Contemporary and Afro-Cuban Dance, 2002) and the National Institute of Art (MA Afro-Cuban Dance, 2005). Ingrid is also a graduate of the School of Ballet Creole (Toronto, 2007) and Decidedly Jazz Professional Training Program (Calgary, 2011) Her professional career includes companies such as Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba (2002 - 2005 Company member), Ballet Creole (Toronto 2005 - 2009 Company member) and Three Left Feet Movement Creations (Calgary 2011 - To date. Company member / Artistic Producer) Ingrid also had the pleasure to perform as a guest artist with Nafro Dance (Winnipeg 2007), the South African Musical Umoja in its 2008 Canadian Tour Production, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre (Toronto 2008), COBA (Toronto 2009), Bach Tots Performing Arts (Calgary 2018) and TEADE (Matanzas, Cuba 2019) among other companies and independent choreographers. Since the early age of seventeen Ingrid has been choreographing and leading classes and workshops in prestigious dance schools and companies such as the Cuban National School of Art (Dance and Musical Theatre Schools), the National Afro - Cuban Dance Company, Havana Rakatan and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks; most recently becoming Assistant Director of the Professional Training Program. Since 2019 Ingrid has also been leading various courses in the specialties of Jazz and Ballet as a sessional instructor for The School of Creative and Performing Arts of the University of Calgary.

Jamie Freeman Cormack

Founding PTP Director

An active member in Calgary’s dance community for more than 30 years, Jamie Freeman Cormack danced with the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Company from 1994 to 2001, has contributed to the company’s repertoire and is the Founding Director of DJD’s Professional Training Program. In addition she has danced and/or choreographed for Dancers’ Studio West, Springboard Dance Collective, The Fluid Festival, eko Dance Projects, Soulocentric and the University of Calgary. She has taught at The School of Decidedly Jazz, The Young Canadians, and The University of Calgary and has conducted numerous workshops in Vancouver, Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto. Dance has also taken her to New York, Boston, Kentucky, Montreal, London England, Sweden and Japan. For the past 20 years Jamie has been studying anatomy and body mechanics, she is a certified C-I, Yoga, Pilates Mat work and Yamuna practitioner.

Vicki Adams Willis

DJD Founder In Residence

Vicki carries on a family tradition that began when her mother, Alice Murdoch Adams opened one of the first dance schools in Calgary in the 1920s. Vicki’s passion for dance and jazz has taken her all over the globe. Besides teaching and choreographing for countless local and international organizations, including the renowned School at Jacob’s Pillow, Vicki founded the Jazz Division in the Faculty of Fine Arts Program of Dance at the University of Calgary in 1978, and co-founded Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in 1984 where she continued her role as Artistic Director for 29 years. She is currently enthusiastically embracing her new role of Founder in Residence at DJD. Vicki has received U of C’s Superior Teacher Award, Global Television’s Women of Vision Award, The City of Calgary’s Community Achievement Award for the Arts, and an Alberta Centennial Medal. She has also had a U of C Fine Arts Entrance Award named in her honour, has been recognized by U of C’s Women’s Resource Centre, and was named one of the University Of Calgary’s Top 40 Alumni. Vicki received the Established Artist Award at the 2009 Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts as well as the MacLachlan Community Beacon Award at the 2016 Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, wrote Canada’s 2013 National Dance Week Message for the Canadian Dance Assembly and was honoured in 2017 with an Alberta Foundation for the Arts 25 Influential Alberta Artists Award. Vicki was most recently awarded by the UCalgary Alumni Association with the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement.


The Professional Training Program selects 10 – 15 advanced level dancers from across Canada and beyond to participate in the 8-month program. Dancers must be 18 years of age or older and interested in furthering their knowledge of jazz dance and the work of DJD. All dancers are encouraged, regardless of financial situation, to audition for the Professional Training Program. Opportunities for scholarships are available each season.


National auditions, for both our dance company and our professional training program, take place annually.

Please fill out the form on our Auditions page to be notified when our audition tour is announced.