31 Mar

Message from Kimberley Cooper on Dancers in Love

Monday, March, 31, 2014

An excerpt of Artistic Director, Kimberley Cooper’s message from our Dancers in Love program…

There must have been something in the water in Calgary in the early ‘80s, when so many amazing arts organizations were born; OYR, Loose Moose, DJD, among others. Think about what just these three organizations mean to performing arts in Calgary, and their ripple effect…

DJD is a creation-based company – we create new work all the time – and for thirty years most of that work was done by Vicki Adams Willis. We have a vast amount of repertoire. Some of it gets remounted, and we have signature pieces that audiences love and request, if you know the company you know them well.

As DJD’s new Artistic Director I wanted to honour Vicki by showing her work that has not been remounted, ever, or not for a very long time. And duets, lots of duets, starting with the piece Dancers in Love. I began selecting from memory, images I wanted to see again, the vines from Evanescence, the clown love duet from Soul Jugglers, the list went on.

Vicki has really done what she set out to do – she pulled jazz dance out of extinction and gave it a future. She’s infected so many of us with her passion, dedication and artistry, it’s almost impossible to measure the impact of her work. Students, audience members, board members, administrators, musicians, designers – she taught us all about jazz and what it could mean to our lives.

Dancers in Love is about Vicki and the dancers, that precious relationship. It’s about all the time in the studio. It’s about this crazy transfer of the incredible images that come from her head and translate through our bodies. It is about how she pulls something more out of you, even if you’re a decidedly whimsical character, the right part of your essence must be surrendered, must be honest. It’s not always easy and can require a huge investment, from all parties, sweat and tears and then some, hopefully leading to that magical moment when as a dancer, you fall in love with the work and it becomes a part of you.


So this one is for you Vicki. I know you look at your work through judging eyes, you can’t help it, but please try, for this one time, to look at it through our eyes, un-blinking, sincere, with our love, and with all of the best moments you have brought out of us.

On behalf of 30 years of dancers, thank you for saving jazz dance and allowing us to be a part of your mission.

Drink up!

– Kimberley Cooper, Artistic Director

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