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PEOPLE OF DJD

There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.

JASON OWIN F. GALEOS
INSTRUCTOR/ APPRENTICE COMPANY DANCER

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
I have many biggest inspirations in life are my Family, Friends and Christ Himself.

WHAT SONG OR ARTIST ARE YOU REALLY INTO RIGHT NOW?
The piece of music I’ve been listening a lot lately is the Original Score by Composer Cliff Martinez titled “Solaris”

DO YOU HAVE A HIDDEN TALENT?
Aside from dance, I come from a sports background such as hockey, basketball and soccer and I also dabble with electronics.

IF YOU WERE ON AN ISLAND AND COULD ONLY BRING THREE THING, WHAT WOULD YOU BRING?
It doesn’t say if I was stuck or landed or a trip to specific island but I think I would bring a journal/pen, a blanket, and a flares…just in case.

WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE TEACHER AND WHY?
One of my favourite teachers up to this day is Niels Robitzky (Bboy Storm) from Battlesquad Crew Germany. My first encounter was actually hearing him speak on the Documentary Planet B-Boy and then the second time was through Pamela Tzeng, and the third time is when I finally met him in 2013 in person, taking his intensive classes. I got to meet him genuinely and really appreciated the way he introduced himself as the artist he is today. What I really appreciated about him is that how he shares the art form through his journeys around the world, wherever he goes, as a journeyman.

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – JASON OWIN F. GALEOS appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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Sweet Memories of Tommy Banks and Diane Miller from DJD Founder in Residence

DJD’s current artistic voice and ever evolving view of jazz is the result of incalculable ongoing influences, not the least of which are those of the long list of talented musicians we have had the honour of working with over the years. Sadly, we have recently lost two of our most beloved music making friends – Tommy Banks and Diane Miller. My heart is heavy.

As so many have noted since his passing, Tommy was indeed a brilliant guiding light for Alberta musicians – an immensely talented man who was the ultimate doer – he was a master of making things happen and his musical impact on our province has been profound.

We had the pleasure of collaborating with Tommy on two creations – Stolen Moments in 1995 and Soul Jugglers in 1999. Stolen Moments featured jazz vocalist Mark Murphy with Tommy taking on the combined roles of composer, arranger, bandleader and musician for the production. His compositions for the act two “film noire” story were absolutely perfect for the genre and his playing, as always, was outstanding. He was completely tuned into the specific needs of dancers (such as consistent tempos) and as the ultimate pro he was brilliantly mindful of the importance of the pacing of the show. We were in good hands.

Soul Jugglers was our epic clown creation and Tommy not only wrote and arranged the remarkable marathon score but he also demonstrated his humble willingness to do whatever was best for the show and this included nightly clambering up a narrow ladder to the band’s tight perch high above the stage and then trying to wrap his head around the challenges of the unfamiliar buttons, knobs dials and settings on a newfangled electric keyboard used to create the circus sounds and effects. Of course, all the while he managed to skillfully stay on top of the overwhelming number of musical cues in this whirlwind of a show and of course he did this all with immense charm, dignity and good humour. I also remember that while we were developing the show he would calmly and respectfully listen to all of my wild and crazy visions and suggestions without once batting an eye – which was immensely liberating for me. Feeling his trust really buoyed me through the intense creative process of this immense project and once again, with Tommy, we were in good hands.

Yes, Tommy left his mark on our company through these collaborations but his impact went far beyond the rehearsal studio and the stage. As we all know, he was an incredibly active, enthusiastic and generous advocate for Alberta arts as well as a tireless community builder, and DJD was one of the many community organizations that he championed. He was always willing to lend an ear, give advice, write letters of support and generally sing our praises out there in the world, and for all of that we feel forever grateful.

You will always be with us, Mr Banks.

And yes, I have also lost my dear dear friend Diane Miller

My favourite jazz vocalists have always been those with deep and rich life experiences buried within their voices and Diane’s had one of those voices. In the late 70s, she left her successful television and singing career in Toronto to venture west and Toronto’s loss was our gain.

I first worked with her in 1980 (pre DJD) when I brought together a group of talented local jazz musicians and some of my U of C dance students (including Hannah Stilwell and Michèle Moss) to create a jazz evening that we performed nightly at Alberta Stage on the Stampede grounds (the swinging sounds being quite a contrast to the ubiquitous country vibe seeping out of every other corner of the Stampede). It was a glorious experience and Diane and I became fast lifetime friends. Throughout the 80s she sang in all the jazz haunts in the city from the big band afternoons at the Delta to joyous jazz celebrations at Café Calabash, often sharing the stage with her wonderful singing soul mate, Joyce Kelly, and on occasion with our beloved Big Miller – Oh they were indeed wonderful times.

In 1988, four years after creating DJD, it was time for us to take the leap into our first full evening, live music creation, Dancers and Other Musical Instruments – and Di bravely took the leap with us. It was a roaring success and since then we have been committed to creating a minimum of one live music dance show every season. Our next one with Diane was Summer Songs in 1990 – then came an unexpected feature in 1992 when the incomparable Big Miller died suddenly nine days before the opening of No Small Feets, an evening about his life that he was meant to sing and narrate. In a last minute scramble to turn the evening into a tribute, we managed to cobble together some rough rehearsal tapes of the show that we used for most segments, with the band playing along – but the segment about the women in his life was unsalvageable (other than Big singing My Funny Valentine) and it occurred to me that one way of dealing with the challenge might be to have a woman sing the other tunes. A late night call to Di and she was immediately on board. It was only a few days before opening but bless her, she boldly stepped into the breach and did a brilliant job of honouring our lost friend. Her last show with DJD was Classic Jam in 1998 but over the years our audiences were also able to get their Diane “hits” at our Black and White Balls either singing with the big band in the Palliser Ballroom or with a small combo in the “Jazz Lounge” in the Oval Room.

Diane taught me so much about jazz and jazz vocalists. We would spend entire evenings together indulging in Hank Jones Solo Piano or Carmen McRae Sings Monk – and I still remember the day when she marched into my house with a bottle of wine and presented me with my first Shirley Horne CD – again we spent the entire evening listening to it, sighing and smiling in all the same places.

About fifteen years ago my friend moved back to Toronto to care for her aging parents. Whenever I visited the city we would cherish our short bits of time together and of course we always listened to jazz and I would inevitably insist that she sing me a tune or two. To make the times between visits more bearable I would sometimes phone her and say “Sing me a wee tune, Di”. Dang, I miss that wonderful smoky voice and my beautiful and dearly loved pal.

Of course, Tommy and Diane will forever remain treasured members of the DJD family, but they have now been promoted to a new and elevated department of our organization – the department of music-making angels – and we trust they will continue their benevolent influence on and guidance of DJD from afar.

And onward we go with immense love and gratitude in our hearts…

Vicki

The post Sweet Memories of Tommy Banks and Diane Miller  appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD
 
There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.
 
CONNIE JAKAB
Instructor
 
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR TEACHING INSPIRATION?
My teaching inspiration comes from the 20 years of resilience work I have done with youth at risk. I have had to quickly learn the art of making people feel comfortable expressing themselves in hard situations. Through this I’ve learned that creating a sense of community in a dance class is powerful to help people let loose and find their inner groove.
 
WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST MOTIVATION?
My children are my greatest motivators to continue to be creative and connect with people on deeper levels.
 
IF YOU WEREN’T IN YOUR CURRENT CAREER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
If I wasn’t doing what I do right now I would probably be working at Indigo spending all my paycheques on books lol!
 
YOU’RE A NEW ADDITION TO A CRAYON BOX, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would be bright yellow because I love to party and brighten things up.
 
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE 90’S JAM?
The 90’s! That’s where hip hop was AT! So many choices but I think I’d have to go with Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J released 1990.

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – CONNIE JAKAB appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD
 

There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.

ELIZABETH EMOND-STEVENSON
Professional Training Program Dancer


WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME TO DJD?
The first time I came to DJD was at the end of this past summer. Before then, I had auditioned for PTP and done the Toronto Intensive.

WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES YOU?
I love all kinds of music: folk, rock, soul / Motown … My favourite Canadian artist is probably Joel Plaskett.

  

WHAT IS SOMETHING NICE YOU’VE DONE FOR YOURSELF RECENTLY?
I’m going to visit family and friends in March!

 

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I’m from Orléans, Ontario.

  

WHAT ARE ON YOUR FEET RIGHT NOW?
Mohair socks.

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – VANESSA PADILLO appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD
 
There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.
 
JULIA COSENTINO
DJD Company Dancer
WHATS THE ONE THING THAT PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
My parents are both of Italian descent.
 
 
WHAT SONG INSTANTLY PUTS YOU IN A GOOD MOOD?
Firefly – Mura Masa
 
 
WHAT SUPERSTITIONS DO YOU BELIEVE IN?
Don’t walk under a ladder.
 
 
BEST CAREER ADVICE I’VE GOTTEN?
One of the best career tips I have gotten so far came to me during the run of Velocity. It is to practice instant forgiveness while on stage. It makes no sense to waste energy and thought on something that went wrong, when there is so much going on and so much more to come. Practicing instant forgiveness allows you to move forward with positive energy and creates space for you to focus on being present in the moment.
 
 
IF I COULD COMPETE IN AN OLYMPIC SPORT IT WOULD BE?
Beach volleyball…. soooooo dope!
 
Photo by : David Walker

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – JULIA COSENTINO appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD
 
There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.
 
SEAN DEF
Professional Training Program Dancer

 
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME TO DJD?
I began my official training at DJD in September 2017, however my first visit to DJD was in July that same year. Working as a dancer in Toronto, I made an intuitive decision to further my dance vernacular through DJD’s Professional Training Program. I was visiting some family in the city this summer and I saw it as an opportunity to visit what would be my future home. I found myself in an O2 contemporary class with Sarah Dolan. It was then, after experiencing the passion and professionalism of the DJD community, that I knew I had made the right decision to come here.
WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
There are too many to list! Gail Lotenberg (LINK Dance Foundation), Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot), Karole Armitage (Armitage Gone!), Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz (MADboots dance), to name a few. I’m a huge fan of dancers that explore the intersections of disciplines to create new narratives within their art.
WHAT ARE ON YOUR FEET RIGHT NOW?
Jazz shoes… To be honest, I’ve gotten more use out of my jazz shoes in these past three months at DJD than I ever have in my entire career.
SUPERHERO POWER I’D WANT TO HAVE?
A supernaturally accelerated capacity for regeneration. Beyond the basics, like hair and skin. I’m thinking full tissues and limbs, like how certain reptiles can grow back an entire tail. Imagine being able to run a marathon just hours after ripping your achilles tendon. Now that’s the dancer’s dream.

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – SEAN DEF appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD

There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.

CORINNE VESSEY
Instructor

WHAT BRINGS YOU THE GREATEST JOY?
What brings me the greatest joy is helping others. I think that’s why I went into the teaching profession. There is no better feeling than knowing I made someone feel a bit better, learn something new, or find confidence in themselves.

WHAT IS ON YOUR BOOKSHELF?
I actually went to school for English Literature, so I have a very eclectic bookshelf with classics from 17th century literature, all the way to the Harry Potter series!

WHO IS YOUR TEACHING INSPIRATION?
I would say that I don’t have one single teaching inspiration, but that each teacher I have got to learn from leaves a mark on my heart that inspires my teaching somehow. I have a lot of amazing colleagues who are so passionate about what they do, that they continue to inspire me as well!

HOW I MADE MY FIRST DOLLAR?
It was actually a dance job when I was about eleven I would say? It was a fashion show for Polaris (the winter sporting company) and we had to perform dance numbers in snow suits!

MOVIE WITH THE GREATEST ENDING?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. Well this is a pretty sentimental answer, but I love the ending to “You’ve Got Mail,” when Tom Hanks comes around the corner into the park to meet Meg Ryan. I cry in anticipation of that moment every time!

Photo by: Jeremy Fokkens Photography

 

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – CORINNE VESSEY appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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PEOPLE OF DJD

There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From administrative staff, company members, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.

SALLA CARSON
Volunteer Coordinator/Dance School Administrator

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

Not sure if this is the best advice I’ve been given, but it’s something I try to do every day – Treat others as you would wish to be treated.

WHAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I love traveling and there are still so many places I would like to see! One of the top things on my bucket list is a road trip to Norway and Sweden. I have been to the Finnish Lapland and briefly Alta on the shore of the Arctic Sea in Norway when I was young. Those majestic views took my breath away and I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

WHAT CAN YOU NOT MISS ON TV?
Right now, I’m in between shows so I’m trying to find a good show to binge watch next. I have been watching a lot of historical dramas, such as Call the Midwife, the Crown and the Paradise.

DO YOU HAVE A SECRET TALENT?
I guess my secret talent in Canada is that I speak Finnish!!! I have some Finnish friends here in Calgary and whenever we speak our native tongue in public it feels like we have a secret language!

PERFECT DAY BEGINS WITH?
Porridge.

ENDS WITH?
It’s irrelevant how the night ends, if it ends early. Especially when I have work the next day! Sleeping is one of my favourite things to do and I like to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

The post PEOPLE OF DJD – Salla Carson appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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With the holiday season upon us, the DJD Dance Centre continues to be a true hub for the arts community in Calgary. Check out what’s happening throughout December:

December 7-10th
Alberta Dance Theatre presents An Impossible Question Means a Journey

In this seasons performance, Alberta Dance Theatre is joined by a zen master panda for a journey into mindfulness. Stumbled upon by the ADT dancers, Pan imparts his wisdom to those around him through ancient stories and anecdotes revealing tales of zen and impossible questions. Stories of generosity, friendship and fate are woven together into a contemplative journey for both dancers and audience. Through shadow puppets, starfish, monks, a giant snow globe, 43 dancers and a zen master panda, Alberta Dance Theatre uncovers a whimsical yet accessible perspective on mindfulness and zen.

December 14-15th
The Calgary Men’s Chorus presents A Christmas Carol

 Join the Calgary Men’s Chorus for a creative retelling of the Charles Dicken’s classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Written in collaboration with film director Seth Michael Donsky and featuring actor/professor James Dugan as Scrooge, this performance tells the story of a mean spirited old man who is visited by a number of ghosts on Christmas Eve.  It is through their visions of the past, present, and future (along with some fantastic singing by the CMC) that Scrooge learns the true spirit of the season.

 December 16-17
The SHOW presents Let it SHOW: A Canadian Christmas with Special Guest Lexi Strate

 Be a part of Calgary’s newest December tradition and brighten up your holiday season with The SHOW (and special guest artist, Lexi Strate). The SHOW will be singing and dancing to classic Christmas songs and new favourites, while journeying acrossCanada. This high-energy, family-friendly show will be a pleasure for the eyes and ears. See what everyone has been talking about! Don’t miss seeing The SHOW in a full spectacle of sound and movement at their annual Christmas celebration, Let It SHOW!

December 19th
JazzYYC and DJD present George Koller and The Willows

 Celebrated Canadian vocal trio, The Willows, with award winning bassist, George Koller, present an evening of original tunes and holiday classics from their albums “Tea for Three” and “This Is Christmas.” Together, their signature nostalgic charm and refreshing harmonies will transport you to a classy, refined and adventurous time in music. Festive, jazzy and utterly charming. DJD fans will remember George Koller as part of the band for Pivoting Echoes (2004) and Pulse (2006)

Engage, experience and enjoy!

The post DECEMBER AT THE DJD DANCE CENTRE appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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In this series we listen to the relationship between the mover and the music and creative inspiration from DJD company dancer Natasha Korney for her piece in the upcoming Dancer Choreographed show Velocity. Velocity is on stage at the DJD Dance Centre from November 16-26, 2017.

http://www.decidedlyjazz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Natasha-Velocity.mp3

The post VELOCITY CREATIVE PROCESS AUDIO SERIES WITH TASHA KORNEY appeared first on Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

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