Dancing in downtown’s skyline
Decidedly Jazz Danceworks at home in the Beltline
It is said that downtown is the economic and cultural heart of Calgary, and one place that’s very apparent is at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ (DJD) new beautiful Beltline dance centre.
“We have many people commenting on driving by at night and seeing dancers dancing in the sky,” explains Kathi Sundstrom, Executive Director for DJD. Opened in 2016, their six-floor, 38,000-square-foot space is encased in glass, allowing the dancers to see out and the public to see in – an intentional move to connect the studio with the community around them.
“The City wanted something that happened beyond Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, office workers coming and going,” says Sundstrom. When making plans for the new studios with The City, it was noted that DJD “was really attractive to add life and vitality to the Beltline.”
Calgary’s strategy for revitalizing downtown focuses on vacancy but also vibrancy. The downtown is a welcoming, inclusive and thriving place; a destination for Calgarians and visitors alike to help in the economic recovery of our city.
Unique businesses and buildings like DJD’s do just that. The stunning views created by the floor-to-ceiling windows add to that vitality, and are also worked into their dance productions. The company’s Juliet & Romeo, returning in January for a limited run, plays with the unique openness of the building, with the audience being asked to look through the windows. There, in the parking lot across the street, the production begins with a perfectly orchestrated brawl illuminated by headlights.
But being downtown is not just about creative gimmicks and a beautiful building. Kimberley Cooper, the Artistic Director at DJD, says she couldn’t see the studio being anywhere else in the city. “The dance facility adds a lot of vibrancy to the neighbourhood, and the neighbourhood gives us back that vibrancy,” she says, “It's wonderful to live and work downtown.”
The benefits of doing business downtown also include convenience and accessibility, with classes and performances easily attended by all those who live and work in the inner city.
“At Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, we believe life is better with dance in it,” says Cooper. “We want to share that with everyone.”
For those who aren’t dancers, DJD’s Dance Centre also includes a 2,500 square foot Community Living Room that can be rented out by the community for meetings and receptions.
To find out what’s playing at DJD or how to rent the space, visit their website at decidedlyjazz.com.
Calgary is a dynamic and resilient city, and The City of Calgary and its partners are committed to our economic recovery to make life better every day for citizens, customers, communities and businesses. To learn more about the Downtown Strategy and related efforts, please visit calgary.ca/downtown.