Decidedly Jazz Danceworks unveils new $26M centre downtown Calgary

A dream decades old is soon to become a reality for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

The school is set to unveil a brand new state-of-the-art dance centre in downtown Calgary.

“This is what we thought was going to be a summer project at the time… and 32 years later, we have a building,” Vicki Adams Willis, the founder in residence of DJD said.

The 40,000 square foot facility at 111 12 Avenue S.E. includes seven dance studios and a theatre that can seat 320 people.

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    They’re expecting a full house Friday night for an opening gala and brand new performance, aptly called “New Universe”.

    “We’re interpreting bug-like creatures in this show,” described dancer Catherine Hayward.

    She has been with DJD longer than any other dancer and is excited that the group will finally have a permanent home.

    “So often we’re searching for spaces to rehearse or perform, and now we have a building with seven studio spaces and a studio theatre. So it will allow all different artists who are rehearsing or performing to come under one roof.”

    Willis, meanwhile, is happily growing the legacy her family leaves behind.

    “My mother, who was Alice Murdock Adams, opened the first full-on dance studio in 1927 and my aunt was a great pioneer in the city in the 1950s and 60s,” Willis said. “I guess it was in my genes.”

    Vicki Adam William’s mother, Alice Murdoch Adams (above) opened the first full dance studio in Calgary in 1927.

    “I often look around and think ‘look what you started mom, back in 1927’.”

    Final touches are still underway on the $26-million facility, with hopes the building will become a hub for Calgary’s dance community.

    “We hope to bring a new vibrancy and a new life to the arts and Calgary,” artistic director Kimberly Cooper said.

    Gala opening performances will be held at DJD Friday and Saturday starting at 6:30 p.m.

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