DJD banking on city money for new facility

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) is poised to build the largest dance facility in Calgary. On December 6 city council’s Community and Protective Services committee will review DJD’s request for $5.46 million from the city’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative fund to help build a new 3250-square-metre (35000-square-foot) dance centre in Calgary’s Beltline on Centre Street and 12th Avenue S.E. Imagine all the jazz hands.

DJD executive director Kathi Sundstrom says this funding approval is one of the final stages in a planning process that began in 2005.

“We’ve met all the criteria had all of the recommendations and the city has done their due diligence and risk assessment and it’s passed all the gates” says Sundstrom who is confident DJD in partnership with the Kahanoff Foundation will have funding in place for construction to begin in early 2014.

DJD has operated out of leased premises on 15th Avenue and Fourth Street S.W. since 1993. It currently has 4000 enrolled dance students.

Its new facility will occupy the first five floors in a 12-storey building to be shared with the Kahanoff charitable organization. It will contain seven studios with a 200-seat theatre available to DJD and other Calgary arts groups.

“It will be a great asset to the community” says Sundstrom. “The architectural philosophy was really to bring dance to the street and make it very visible and you can see that from the design.”

DJD has already secured $5 million from the Alberta government $1.9 million from federal grants $1.5 million from the Calgary Foundation and $3.5 million in private donations for this project. It intends to raise a further $500000 from the community before construction begins.