Dancers silhouetted in a studio overlooking downtown Calgary
Dancers rehearse in the new DJD Dance Centre | Photo: Amy Jo Espetveidt

New Universe

DJD conquers its new home with intricate insect inspired show

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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The moment you sit down in the theatre at the DJD Dance Centre, the overwhelming sense of newness hits you. The seats are fresh, the floor is unmarred and the smell is similar to unboxing a prized new possession. So when the overture wraps and the curtain opens, it’s fitting that the first dancer you see is on a process of discovery.

Welcome to the new home of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and the space’s inaugural production aptly titled New Universe.

Drawing inspiration from the insect world, the production takes advantage of its new digs to the fullest and uses vignette-like parts to showcase the ins and outs of the new theatre. From the band being central on the stage and in the plot to the aerial additions and the ultimate unveiling of the entire theatre, it’s obvious that the production was made to fit the space.

 New Universe | Video: Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

Created by DJD Artistic Director Kimberley Cooper, New Universe features live, original music by New York City jazz great William Parker, who also leads the five-piece band on stage, and an impressive performance by the DJD company.

“We are thrilled to be dancing in our new theatre with this wonderful group of artists. It is an honour to be creating and performing with William Parker,” says Cooper in a statement. “I am so inspired by his music, his playing and his spirit, it is a huge gift and learning experience.  This is a magical time in DJD’s history. It’s amazing to be a part of it.”

The first half of the show immerses the audience into this new world and includes an epic, percussive, insect battle that beautifully captures the imagination. The second half is looser and borders on experimental with parts feeling more like a National Geographic documentary than a dance production but wraps nicely with a strong, grand conclusion featuring the entire company.

New Universe runs until June 12, 2016 at the DJD Dance Centre (111 12th Ave. SE). Tickets are available online at or by calling 403.245.3533.