Arts | Arts
Wellness | Physical Health
Living Standards | Education And Learning
Community Connections | Inclusion

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD)

We invite audiences and students to experience how jazz music shapes movement and feeling, to explore the connection between personal expression and collaboration, and to move.

Our Story

Why We Exist

DJD was founded to re-ignite an appreciation and love for the traditional values of jazz dance. The original company consisted of four dancers and an artistic director intent on sharing their vision of jazz with others. Established in 1984, DJD has carved a niche for itself as one of Canada’s most unique dance companies.

Moving forward, we want to continue to enrich Calgary’s arts scene and community through the creation of our dedicated jazz dance centre, and our world-class performances. We want to make Calgary a global destination for aspiring jazz dance artists through our professional dance program. We want to share our love of jazz dance and our knowledge of the history of jazz with school-aged children and communities all across Canada. And we want our recreational dance school to continue to inspire people of all ages and abilities to come move with us.

Our Impact

What We Do

Rooted in the history of jazz dance and music, DJD is constantly innovating and evolving this art form. DJD, a registered charity, is a professional dance company that creates original performances, at least one per year with live music. DJD also offers professional training to those wishing to specialize in jazz dance, outreach programs that educate the community about the history and importance of jazz in North American culture, and is Calgary’s largest recreational dance school.

Thanks to our supporters and government funders, DJD has:

Created more than 60 original full-length works and performed for over 400,000 people locally, nationally and internationally.
Enriched educational experiences for over 350,000 children and adults through our DJD School and many Arts in Education programs.
Enabled hundreds of kids from low-income families to receive bursaries to participate in a Summer Camp or class at the DJD School since 1997.
Provided intensive training through full and partial scholarships for talented young dancers in our Professional Training Program.
“I am a 56 year old man who has seen it all. I’ve seen Broadway performances, live concerts of the world’s best musicians (The Who, Stones, Pavarati, etc.). Until the night I saw you guys do Wow and Flutter, the highest experience I had even seen was B.B. King at the Jubilee in Edmonton….I didn’t know that a mere physical experience could be so exhilarating! … It moved me on so many levels, filled my senses and catalytically shocked my consciousness up a notch.” – Performance attendee

“Welcoming [our kids] to DJD’s show “Pulse” is more than getting them off the street or away from the television. It’s their first experience of losing themselves in a world of rhythm and dance, of sharing the energy of an audience, of seeing that creativity is limitless and valuable. AND – not only was it a great show, but the dancers were so strong and healthy and vibrant, demonstrating the beauty of every body type and not deifying some weird, anorexic shape.”       – Spectrum Youth & Family Service Association

We exist to enrich lives by engaging people in exploring, evolving and promoting the art of jazz dance.

Our Programs

How We Do It

DJD Professional Dance Company:

DJD has a one-of-a-kind international concert jazz dance company—a national treasure here in Calgary! Our company is respected for its pioneering work in regenerating and evolving the art of jazz dance. Known for innovative original choreography and musical creations, with over 60 full-length works in our repertoire including the groundbreaking international collaboration ¡BULLA! A Loud Cuban Jazz Experiment. Our Professional Dance Company performs locally, nationally, and internationally.

DJD Professional Training Program:

The Professional Training Program is a unique program for emerging dance artists seeking immersion in intensive training in the jazz idiom. Each year, DJD accepts 10 – 15 of Canada’s most promising jazz dancers into the eight-month program. Through this program we ensure participants have professional training in a variety of dance forms. This program is recognized as credit toward a University of Calgary Dance Degree and offers performance opportunities in addition to training.

A vital part of sustaining jazz dance and our company of professional dancers is training. DJD offers select, talented dancers a Professional Training Program that develops the next generation of dancers and leaders in the art form. Dancers audition to attend the program. A major barrier to training is the financial means to attend. We aim to provide bursaries to these emerging professionals.

DJD Arts in Education Outreach Programs:

School Residencies & PerformancesDJD reaches children K to 17 in schools, including schools serving low-income families, with art-enriched educational experiences, including bringing our kids show to schools, participating as artists in residence, and conducting student and teacher workshops.

Dancing Parkinson’s YYCWith support from the Rozsa Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, this program offers high quality dance instruction to participants. The aim is to offer a service program that is the foundation for an evidence-based research program. The class consists of participants with Parkinson disease and their care-partners, spouses and/or companions.

Children’s Bursaries we offer bursaries to enable young people from low-income families to attend a summer dance camp or class at the DJD Dance Centre. We want to make it possible for children in poverty and youth at risk to gain greater self-confidence and coordination, make new friends and learn creative and constructive ways to express themselves.

Getting Families Jazzed – we provide performance tickets to deserving families that could not otherwise afford to attend. We work with various social service agencies and community organizations to distribute the tickets. Families benefit from the experience as imaginations and conversations are sparked on a wide range of topics, as well as from developing healthy bonds through quality time spent together.

Student Dress Rehearsals – DJD offers students a free or highly discounted chance to look “behind the curtains” while enjoying the spectacle of a fully developed DJD Company show in the theatre.


Our Requests

What You Can Do

There are a number of ways to support our work – we are lucky to have a vibrant community of people who support DJD. You can become an important part of our vitality and passion by making a personal tax-deductible donation.

The DJD Dance Centre | The brand new DJD Dance Centre provides an intersection where highly trained professional jazz experts, people taking dance classes, other arts groups, and audience members will all share the same space as they experience the joy of jazz dance and music. The dance centre includes 7 dance studios with high ceilings, natural light, sprung floors, spacious change rooms, a parents’ lounge, and access to parking.  One of the studios transforms into a 230-seat theatre space for performances by DJD and others. We are 90% of the way to reaching our $26 Million goal, you can either make a general donation for a value of your choosing or for $1000 you can Name a Seat in our new theatre!

Send a Kid to Camp | For $300 you can help to fund a bursary for a child ages 5-17 from a low-income family to attend a summer dance camp or class at our School of Decidedly Jazz.  Learn more about children’s bursaries.

Donations under $500 | DJD gratefully welcomes and rewards donations of all sizes. Help us bring dance, new artists and dance education to life!

Jazz Roots Club Donors | DJD donors who contribute $500 or more become members of our Jazz Roots Club. Members have direct relationships with our dancers, enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, and are vital contributors to bringing original jazz works to life and to the lives of others. Learn more about the Jazz Roots Club.

Contribute In Kind – Valuable Items & Professional Services | Are you a retailer or professional seeking to make an impact with what you do? Prizes and auctions are a vital way that DJD fundraises at our events and we welcome donations from flights, to vacation homes, to art through to electronics and jewellery. As a non-profit, we also welcome free expertise from professionals, from lawyers, to HR advisers to PR experts, strategic planners and facilitators.

Tribute, Memorial and Planned Gifts | Become part of DJD’s legacy by making a gift by bequest (remembering DJD in your will), through stocks, securities or insurance policies. Mark a special occasion, sympathize with a loss, honour an important individual, or celebrate a great accomplishment with a gift to DJD.

Artistic Development Fund | Looking to make an artistic mark with your donation? Invest in the creation of vibrant, original jazz performances and talented Canadian artists. DJD is one of a mere handful of full-time, professional jazz dance companies in the world.

Endowment Fund | Guarantee the long-term financial stability of DJD and leave a legacy by making a gift to the Endowment Fund. The interest earned by this fund will allow DJD, its dancers and its students, to further create and expand their artistic repertoire many years into the future.

Volunteer | Volunteer with DJD and help share the love of jazz. We are always looking for volunteers as community ambassadors and for our special events committee. Bring a little jazz into your own life, meet new people, see your name in the program at our shows and help enliven our community!



Stay Connected


Kathi Sundstrom

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD)


Charitable Number: 118883545RR0001

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