Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) is a 36-year-old Calgary based dance organization dedicated to the rich history and traditions of jazz dance. We dance in the spirit of jazz and recognize ourselves as guests in the form born out of Black American culture and the African American experience. DJD’s professional company is creation based and works with live music as much as possible. The aesthetic of our work is historically rooted and evolutionary, rhythmic and percussive, and has been called “music for the eyes”.
We are pleased to announce that the documentary Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance is part of the Calgary Black Film Festival from May 26-30 (calgaryblack film.com). The film first premiered in the US on July 19, 2020 and in Canada on February 10, 2021 as part of the Toronto Black Film Festival. We are grateful to be a part of this important film as one of two Canadian jazz companies represented (the other being the amazing Holla Jazz in Toronto).
Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance
The history, lineage and future progressions of jazz dance. The story of Jazz Dance is a complex one, it goes to the very heart of humanity. It is a story of triumph over adversity, oppression and privilege as well as a celebration, because ultimately, what all people have in common is rhythm and a basic human need to get down.
To celebrate the Canadian premiere, is an online panel discussion featuring the film’s creators Khadifa Wong (Director), Zak Nemorin (Original Concept), Lisa Donmall-Reeve (Producer), Joan Gill Amorim (Editor), and Matt Simpkins (Director of Photography), as well as Kimberley Cooper (AD DJD), and Natasha Powell (AD Holla Jazz), and moderated by Kimberley Browning (AP LDR Productions).
Listen to Creative Team discuss the project:
“A thoughtful and impassioned look at the often ignored roots of a quintessential American art form.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“No film in the festival is more urgent” – The New York Times
“This film will make you fall in love with jazz dance all over again.” – Dance Magazine
a FREE livestream performance Co-presented
by NAC & Springboard Performance
We regret to announce that due to the recent Alberta Health Services (AHS) announcement of implementing stage 1 health restrictions to the province, DJD is unable to proceed with our dance on film project suspended disbelief as planned. While we are disappointed in not being able to move forward with this production, we put the health and safety of the people in our city and province first and foremost.
suspending disbelief is a series of shifting and morphing dance pieces created in and about this time of instability, when it feels like tectonic plates beneath our feet are constantly shifting, emotions are running high, dreams are strange. With one foot firmly rooted in rhythm, Kim feels compelled to dance forward with quirk, hope and bravery, asking her audience to join her in suspending their disbelief, as defined by Wikipedia “the intentional avoidance of critical thinking or logic in examining something surreal, such as a work of speculative fiction, in order to believe it for the sake of enjoyment.”
djd’s drive-in dance performance:
there is something in the details
There is Something in the Details is a short, site-specific dance piece choreographed by DJD co-founder Michèle Moss and the seven DJD dancers who will perform it. The making of this piece was undertaken with masks on and is now presented to you during COVID lock-down as a site-specific drive-in performance, experienced from the safety of your car alone or with your family cohort.
“The world does seem off-kilter, my mind crowded and current affairs amazingly discombobulating,” says choreographer Michèle Moss. “Yes, that’s the word and I’ll run with that. Make no mistake it was hard; hard to focus amid the chaos, dancers cannot touch each other and have to wear masks… we will be looking at you, looking at us, looking at you–you know, bamboozling and bewildering are the words of the hour! Leave behind any toxicity or troubles for 30 minutes. Take deep breaths just like the dancers will do and feel the connection. Bop your head, oh and don’t forget to bring some drive-in dance show snacks!”
Thank you for driving-in with us!
Works in Progress
If you know us, you know that every couple of seasons we present a performance created by the professional dance company. This fall we chose to continue on that path, though we took the focus off the performance, and put it more on the creation. The dancers spent about seven weeks on their personal creative processes. They were asked to really focus on where they are on their jazz journeys, and without the pressure of an opening night deadline, create something, without the stress of a finishing a piece, without worrying about lighting or costumes, just to focus on movement.
On November 21st we filmed these unadorned works in progress, and I must say, I am very proud of what they have all created. I hope you will enjoy these beautiful raw glimpses that these talented artists have made, and who knows, maybe you will see them live, fully polished and adorned, in the future.
CLICK HERE to watch our virtual Works in Progress presentation.
We are thrilled to be able to share this work with you for free, however if you would like to make a small donation in support of DJD we would truly appreciate it. CLICK HERE to donate.
We miss you.
In the spirit if jazz,