“Social justice drives Cleo Parker Robinson Dance productions. And the company’s latest, Rise and Resist — an evening of five dance numbers including pieces from 1947 as well as contemporary works — is no exception. It covers a wide swath of history, including stories about the lifelong struggles of entertainer James Brown, murders by the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction-era South, and the current Syrian refugee crisis.
Cleo Parker Robinson, a Denver icon, founded her dance company in 1970 in the city’s historically black Five Points neighborhood; her company is one of the last community institutions to survive in the now largely gentrified area. At the heart of the dance ensemble and academy is a commitment to preserving and teaching the traditions of African-American dance.
“We’re committed to an idea, and it’s an ideal,” Robinson says as she takes a break from fine-tuning the choreography for “The MOVE/ment,” one of the dances in the program. “It’s about our commitment to peace, harmony, everybody’s well-being and everybody’s opportunity for access to whatever brings us joy.””
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Wilber, Leslie. Westword 17 September 2019.