BambullaCleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) is a cultural ambassador, infusing vitality, innovation and education into every community we touch—around the corner and around the globe.

Every action we perform is done with the intent to transform ourselves and others; to give a voice to the voiceless; to leave a lasting legacy of excellence and understanding.

CPRD was founded in 1970 and became a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization in 1974, continuing to build upon its dance school and ensemble origins. For five decades, we have developed into an internationally esteemed organization that operates beyond the traditional performing arts model.

There are four pillars of the organization, namely, the CPRD Ensemble, Academy, Theatre, and Education programs. Working in concert, CPRD programs have created an oasis where a varied population—by gender, race, age and ethnicity—gather to study and appreciate a modern, cross-cultural approach to creative community development. Housed in the historic A.M.E. Shorter Church in Five Points, CPRD serves as a convener of community, art and dance.

Leadership

Cleo Parker Robinson

Founder & Artistic Director

Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, artistic director and choreographer of the 50-year-old Denver-based artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She leads a professional dance Ensemble, Youth and Junior Youth Ensembles, a Dance Academy, an International Summer Dance Institute, a 240-seat …

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Cleo Parker Robinson

Founder & Artistic Director

Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, artistic director and choreographer of the 50-year-old Denver-based artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She leads a professional dance Ensemble, Youth and Junior Youth Ensembles, a Dance Academy, an International Summer Dance Institute, a 240-seat theatre that bears her name, and a myriad of community outreach programs. She continues to be the recipient of honors and awards from civic, community, and artistic organizations around the world, and is called on by a myriad of organizations and performance venues to bring her Ensemble for performances, and to conduct workshops, master classes, and motivational seminars. Her philosophy of “One Spirit, Many Voices” is reflected in all she does, and is the vision she brings to everyone she meets, everywhere she goes.

A master teacher/choreographer and cultural ambassador she has taught and performed with her Ensemble in such diverse places as Iceland, Singapore, Hawaii, Nassau, Belize, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, throughout Europe, and throughout the African continent. People of all ages and backgrounds have participated in Ms. Parker Robinson’s workshops and master classes at conservatories, universities and neighborhood dance centers worldwide Ms. Parker Robinson’s awards include the Colorado’s Governor’s Award for Excellence (1974), Denver’s Mayor’s Award (1979), induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (1989) and the Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame (1994). Recognized in Who’s Who in America Colleges and Universities she holds Honorary Doctorate from Denver University (1991), an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Colorado College (2003), and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Regis University in Denver (2008). Ms. Parker Robinson was a long-standing member of the Board of Directors for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and in 1998 Cleo Parker Robinson Dance became an affiliate of the Center.

In 1998, President Clinton named Ms. Parker Robinson as one of two artists to be appointed to the National Council on the Arts where she served until 2005 as one of the two appointed members of the fourteen-member council in Washington D.C. In 2005, Ms. Parker Robinson received a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor during the Center’s “Masters of African American Choreographers” series. Also in 2005, Ms. Parker Robinson received the King M. Trimble Community Award for service to the Denver community.

Ms. Robinson received the first-ever Peaceful Heart Award from Mile-Hi Church, and was honored by the Colorado Gospel Hall of Fame, and the Metro State College Plain & Fancy Ball. In 2006, she received the “Jill” Award from the South Suburban Denver Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., honoring her work with young people. Also in 2006, Ms. Parker Robinson was honored as a “Pioneer In Black Dance” by the Dynamic Dance Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, she received the Huntington’s Disease of America Distinguished Leadership Award., the “Fairfax B. Holmes Community Award” from The Denver Links, Inc. and the “Unsung Heroes Mountain Award” from African American Leadership Institute. In 2008, she was awarded the President’s Award of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, the Civil Rights Award of the Anti-Defamation League, and the Civil Rights Medallion of the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship program.

In 2009, Ms. Robinson received the Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award for Service to the Community, and the Dr. Martin King Jr. / William “Bill” Roberts Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, she was awarded the 2009 NEWSED Civil Rights Award, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver (2010).

Malik Robinson

Executive Director

Malik Robinson grew up and into his role at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in African Studies from Regis University, he officially began his tenure as Development Director winning national awards for the acclaimed Ensemble. Malik …

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Malik Robinson

Executive Director

Malik Robinson grew up and into his role at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in African Studies from Regis University, he officially began his tenure as Development Director winning national awards for the acclaimed Ensemble. Malik then moved on to Booking Manager increasing the Ensemble’s annual tours to 15 cities nationwide. Leading with the arts as a force for transformation and peace, he secured and lead tours to Israel and Egypt during times of heightened civil unrest. Before being named Executive Director in 2014, Malik developed and directed evidenced-based after-school programming recognized for positive findings. Malik is active on several arts organization boards and initiatives as well as a member of the Denver Metro Chamber’s Leadership Denver Class of 2015 and a Bonfils Stanton Foundation 2015 Livingston Fellow.

“Malik has demonstrated a keen ability to provide strong management while developing strategic partnerships to ensure the legacy of one of Colorado’s longest operating cultural arts institutions.”
–Gwen Brewer, CPRD Board Chair

Board of Directors

Cleo Parker Robinson

Founder Artistic Director
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Cleo Parker Robinson

Founder Artistic Director

Cleo Parker Robinson is a graduate of the University of Denver, formerly Colorado Women’s College (CWC), in the field of Dance, Education and Psychology. Mrs. Parker Robinson began teaching college level dance at the age of fifteen at the University of Colorado and co-founded New Dance Theatre (d.b.a. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance) by the time she graduated from CWC. As the Executive Artistic Director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Mrs. Parker Robinson toured the dance ensemble throughout the world including Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Nigeria, Germany, Brazil, Peru, Belize, Singapore and South Africa. She has also created nationally recognized education programming linking extraordinary artists with communities throughout the country. Mrs. Parker Robinson has received numerous civic and academic awards for her service. Awards and honors include: 1974 – Governor’s award for excellence; 1979 – Mayor’s Award; 1991 – Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Denver; 2002 – University of California Irvine Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor; 2003 – Honorary Doctorate from Colorado College; and 2008 – Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Regis University. In 1999, she was appointed by former President William Jefferson Clinton, and confirmed by the Senate to the National Council on the Arts.

Jehan Benton-Clark

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Jehan Benton-Clark

Jehan Benton-Clark is a portfolio director with the Colorado Health Foundation where she oversees an investment portfolio of over $35 million annually. Trained as a social worker, Jehan has extensive experience coordinating public-private partnerships, implementing and supporting initiatives, and overseeing investments of local, state, federal, and private funding. With experience in capacity building, early childhood, and homelessness, she is passionate about facilitating opportunities for people and communities to address and solve their own challenges. This passion has fueled her work in philanthropy, where she has spent her career working to shift how philanthropy responds to and invests in communities they exist to serve.

Early in her career, Jehan worked within two housing authorities in North Carolina and as a behavioral health treatment counselor in Illinois where she developed a deeper understanding of the systemic challenges of structural racism and poverty that affect communities of color, low wealth communities and rural places. She also is attuned to the power of relationships, working with the private sector and government, and centering authentic engagement. With these passions, she strives to make positive impacts in communities, both personally and professionally.

Dance and free expression through movement has been a passion for Jehan from an early age. For sixteen years of her life she practiced various forms of dance and she credits this with her appreciation for the arts. Jehan believes that dance provides an opportunity for people across communities and spaces to connect and express themselves.

Darryl Collier

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Darryl Collier

Darryl is an assistant vice president for Empower Retirement, one of the largest financial services firms in the United States. He is also a member of the Speakers Bureau International as a professional speaker as well as a stand-up comedian with 30 years of experience. His entertainment resume includes being named Denver’s Funniest Comedian in 1994; an appearance on BET’s ComicView; along with performances with greats like Jamie Foxx, Steve Harvey, Damon Wayans, Dave Chappelle, Smokey Robinson, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and the late Ray Charles.

Timothy Davis

Timothy Davis

Crisanta Duran

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Crisanta Duran

Majority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives

Quote:”For years, I performed Mexican Folklorico & Flamenco dance but I haven’t been on a stage in about 10 years! If I end up with a broken ankle, we’ll all know what happened! It is an honor to celebrate the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company’s 45th Anniversary & give back to an organization that has given education and the arts to so many.”

My Story: Family, Community, Education and Leadership

In late 2014, Representative Crisanta Duran was elected by the Democratic caucus in the Colorado House of Representatives to serve as majority leader, the second most influential position in the chamber.

Rep. Duran was chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, which are charged with balancing Colorado’s budget every year. She has also served on the Legislative Council committee and the House Judiciary, Finance and State, Veterans & Military Affairs committees.

She is a proud native of Colorado. Rep. Duran’s family has owned a ranch just west of Trinidad going back six generations, but she was born in Boulder and grew up in Northglenn and Arvada. She graduated from Arvada West High School with honors and was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the University of Denver. After getting her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Public Policy and Spanish, Rep. Duran began her study of law at the University of Colorado. While there, she was elected president of the Student Bar Association and president of the Latino Law Student Association.

She represents House District 5, which encompasses downtown Denver, Globeville, Elyria, Swansea, part of the Sunnyside and Lower Highlands neighborhoods and part of Southwest Denver.

Since elected, Rep. Duran has received the following acknowledgements.

Awards & Recognitions:

  • 2015 LCLAA People’s Award
  • Housing Colorado 2014 Legislator of the Year
  • Washington Post’s 40 Under 40 Rising Political Stars
  • Conservation Colorado Legislator of the Year
  • Denver Democrats Pat Schroeder Families First Award
  • Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans Certificate of Appreciation
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver Legislator of the Year
  • University of Colorado Alumni Legislative Award
  • Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Legislative Award for Championing State Policies for Fair Immigration and Higher Education
  • CLLARO Roger Cisneros Poder Award
  • Denver Women’s Commission & Colorado’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce Legislative Award
  • Planned Parenthood Champion of Choice
  • Colorado Association for Bilingual Education 2013 Federico Pena Community Leader Award
  • Health Care For All 2013 Legislative Hero
  • COLOR Legislative Champion Award
  • Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award
  • Mentioned in the Denver Post article, “Colorado Women Broke Political Barriers.”
  • United Veterans Committee of Colorado Distinguished Service Award

Tyrone Gant

Treasurer
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Tyrone Gant

Treasurer

Tyrone Gant, CTP, is a results oriented financial professional with 20+ years’ experience in the banking industry including sales management, business development and treasury management consulting. He leads the Treasury Sales group for Colorado Business Bank. Tyrone is a Denver native that is committed to the community. He currently serves as the Immediate Past President for the Rocky Mountain Association for Financial Professionals. Tyrone has also served on various youth sports organization boards.

Demesha Hill

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Demesha Hill

Community Relations Manager | Managing Director, Janus Foundation

As Managing Director of the Janus Foundation and Community Relations Manager for Janus Capital Group, Demesha serves as a champion for community engagement programs and provides leadership and strategic support for the corporate diversity and community outreach initiatives.

In her role, she actively develops corporate wide community employee engagement opportunities and fosters the 12 diversity & inclusion employee resource groups. Demesha invests time collaborating outside of Janus with non-profit organizations such as INROADS, Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement and Out & Equal. She also serves on the Board of Directors for B:CIVIC (Business Committed to Investing & Volunteering in the Community) and is on the Advisory Council for Colorado Succeeds.

Prior to joining Janus in 2001, Demesha held multiple leadership roles in various industries. She earned a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Associate of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal and holds a Certificate in Corporate Citizenship Practice.

Matthew Keeney

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Matthew Keeney

Matt is the President and the face of AOR, Agency Off Record. Matt is loved for his vast experience and contagious energy. Matt has the ability to throw fuel on the flames of passion, win new business, and delight current client partners. Because Matt is adept at cracking whips, he is able to lead the cultural and financial goals with a firm awareness of our market and competitive landscape. Matt has over 25 years of agency, sales, marketing, and client satisfaction experience. He holds a B.A. in Economics and French from Lake Forest College.

Tony Price

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Tony Price

Tony Price is Director of Campus Recreation at Auraria (CRA), and is responsible for managing a comprehensive fitness, leisure, and recreational services program provided to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, spouses, and guests of the Metropolitan State College of Denver, the University of Colorado at Denver, the Community College of Denver, and the Auraria Higher Education Center. With over 15 years experience as a Student Affairs professional providing co-curricular learning opportunities that support student persistence, success, and lifelong values, Mr. Price supervises and manages multiple indoor/outdoor recreational and athletic spaces specific to campus recreation. He leads a staff of four, full time professionals and close to 80 student employees. In addition to his primary responsibilities, Mr. Price has chaired the planning committee for the annual Martin Luther King Peace Breakfast, Diversity Leadership Conference, and the Graduation Ceremony for African and African American Students. Mr. Price received a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Colorado, Boulder and received his Masters of Arts in Leisure and Sports Management with an emphasis in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa.

Robert Thompson

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Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson is an experienced telecommunications professional who brings more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Robert joined Comcast in 2014 as the VP of Field Sales and then quickly moved into the role of  VP of Sales and Sales Operations where he provided the coordination of the overall strategy as it pertains to sales forecasting, budgeting, business process improvement  as well as sales support and leadership effectiveness, compensation management and program optimization.  Prior to joining Comcast, Robert held various executive sales roles at Time Warner Telecom, Integra Telecom, NTT, and XO Communications. In his current role, Robert leads the overall as business strategy for the Mountain West Region serving as the Regional Vice President of Comcast Business with oversight of four markets: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. Robert holds a BBA from Howard University.

Gwendolyn Brewer

Board President
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Gwendolyn Brewer

Board President

Gwendolyn Brewer was born in Washington, D.C. She spent the majority of her early life traveling throughout the United State as her father’s career in the U.S. Army took the family to various army posts around the country and overseas. After graduating from high school in Okinawa, Japan, Gwen returned to the U.S. to attend college where she received a B.A. from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. from the University of Denver. Both degrees were in Speech/Language Pathology. Gwen is a high-energy educator with more than 20 years experience working in special education with preschool through high school students identified as having learning disabilities, speech/language disorders and social/behavioral problems. During her eighteen year tenure in Boulder Valley Public Schools, she was elected chairperson of the Speech/Language Department for 3 terms and supervised 14 speech/language specialists. Committed to her community and culture, Gwen is active in a variety of civic and social organizations. She presently serves on the board of directors of Mental Health America of Colorado. Gwen also serves on the board of directors of College Summit and is a Denver Associate of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. Gwen and her husband Moses live in Centennial, Colorado and are the parents of 2 grown children, Marques and Maya.

Lisa Hogan

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Lisa Hogan

When Lisa Hogan helps a company avoid a legal problem, she considers it to be one of her best achievements. But, when litigation is necessary, she’s the strategic, creative attorney you want on your side. Few employment litigators in the country can match Lisa’s extensive trial experience and knowledge of how business issues play out in court. Lisa knows employment law both as outside counsel and from inside business. As the former Vice President of Litigation for Level 3 Communications, she managed all outside litigation and related analyses in connection with six strategic acquisitions. This work included managing commercial, employment, class action and environmental litigation throughout the United States. She also brings the perspective of having spent five years as a Denver Deputy District Attorney.

Lisa knows employment law both as outside counsel and from inside business. As the former Vice President of Litigation for Level 3 Communications, she managed all outside litigation and related analyses in connection with six strategic acquisitions. This work included managing commercial, employment, class action and environmental litigation throughout the United States. She also brings the perspective of having spent five years as a Denver Deputy District Attorney.

Her clients include various large regional companies in industries ranging from health care to aviation, energy and engineering/construction to food service, public utilities to telecommunications.

Lisa has taught courses in criminal law and ethics at Metropolitan State College and presents regularly on trial advocacy issues. She also serves as a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) helping to develop and teach courses on trial techniques, strategy and practice management.

Deborah Herrera

Board Vice President
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Deborah Herrera

Board Vice President

Deborah Herrera, SPHR, is the Human Resources Director for Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. Ms. Herrera leads a Human Resources Division for 165 employees, and a team that consists of a HR Generalist and part-time Recruiter. In her role, Ms. Herrera has developed a leadership program framework to improve the leadership capabilities resulting in higher levels of leadership engagement and reduced employee relational issues. Providing one-on-one coaching for 33 members of leadership for his/her 360 degree assessments, Ms. Herrera has helped achieve cost savings of $49,000 due to established trust, objectivity, and professionalism as a valued business partner. Ms. Herrera leads the Diversity and Inclusion initiative resulting in a formation of an Inclusion Team and an organizational three year road map leading to increased employee engagement. Currently, she co-leads the strategic planning process using an inclusive process based on the balanced scorecard methodology and framework. Within three months, she created a strategy map, strategic objectives and key performance indicators to align with organizational budget and individual goal process. Ms. Herrera is a graduate of the University of North Florida and holds her M.S., Human Resources Management and B.S., Psychology.

María Sepúlveda

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María Sepúlveda

Vice President, Community and Government Partnerships

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

María Sepúlveda leads Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver’s advocacy program, collaborating with community and government partners in furtherance of the organization’s mission and vision. She manages the government grants and contracts team and is responsible for advancing Habitat’s community development strategy.

Sepúlveda’s work experience includes practicing law for Denver firms focusing on commercial litigation, serving as Staff Attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and serving as Vice President in Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate and Community Relations divisions.

Sepúlveda received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder in International Affairs with an emphasis on Latin America and her Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Sepúlveda currently serves as board member of Community Resources Housing Development Corporation and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, steering committee member of Mile High Connects, advisory committee member of Colorado Enterprise Fund and member of Barrio E’ Puerto Rican Music and

Dance Ensemble.

Matt Thornton

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Matt Thornton

J. Matt Thornton is an associate in the Litigation Group. Matt’s practice focuses on commercial litigation in both federal and state courts, including individual actions and class action defense, privacy and cybersecurity matters, product liability and mass tort, and disputes implicating the First Amendment.

Matt is involved in all aspects of his cases and prides himself in providing creative, business-oriented solutions for his clients. Among other things, Matt has extensive experience briefing dispositive motions, defending discovery disagreements, handling third-party discovery disputes, arguing substantive motions in court, preparing witnesses to give testimony, taking and defending depositions, negotiating individual and class action settlements, spearheading mediation, and maintaining clear, concise, and timely communications with clients.

Shelley Thompson

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Shelley Thompson

Shelley has 14 years of experience raising money for a broad variety of organizations serving Denver, Colorado and the United States. She has been fortunate to work at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Outward Bound USA, the University of Colorado and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Shelley has raised millions in support of education, and she is formerly the Executive Director of the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges, where she works with a talented team of fundraisers at 13 colleges across the state. Recently, she was hired as the Chief Development Officer at Centura Health. Shelley volunteers her time teaching young development professionals in the Institute for Leaders in Development at the University of Denver about major gifts and coaching rising stars at small to mid-size non-profit organizations. She served one term on the Englewood School Board from 2005 – 2008. Shelley has a BA in Politics & Government from the University of Puget Sound and a MA in Political Science from the University of Colorado. She is the proud parent of two perfect children.

Josett Valdez

Secretary
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Josett Valdez

Secretary

Chief Operating Officer – American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming

Josett Valdez joined the American Red Cross in 2002 and over the last 14 years has had the opportunity to support each line of Humanitarian Services at the local and National Headquarters level. Josett recently joined the Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming as the Chief Operating Officer in August of 2015. She also recently finished a stint as Interim Regional Chapter Executive Officer for the New Mexico Red Cross.

As Chief Operating Officer Josett is responsible for leading a team of four Executive Directors throughout Colorado and Wyoming. She leads the strategic direction for business operations, real estate and fleet management and ensures collaborative partnerships between internal and external stakeholders. In addition, she is responsible for the ongoing analysis, monitoring and forecasting for financial reports to ensure fiduciary responsibility.

Prior to that she was the Service to the Armed Forces Division Director for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division, where she oversaw policy and program development and strategic vision for nine states. She and her team worked to provide support to members of the military, veterans, and their families. Ms. Valdez Negley has responded to various national disasters as a training supervisor and has been an International Humanitarian Law instructor.

As a Colorado native, Ms. Valdez earned her master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado, School of Public Affairs in Denver and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Alfred Walker

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Alfred Walker

Alfred Aristotle Walker was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and moved to Colorado to attend college on a track scholarship. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Al’s professional background is in the grocery business where he has worked in management for over 20 years with Safeway Inc. and now Kroger Inc. Al has been responsible for many multi-million dollar budgets in his career. He has extensive training in billing controls, salary management, employee training, controlling expenses, coaching/mentoring and providing strategic direction. Al is a member of the King Soopers/City Market African American Associate Resource group. This group offers support and progress to minority managers through engagement, mentoring and education. Al Walker is a husband, father, businessman, real estate investor and lover of sports, arts and culture in Colorado. Al resides in Aurora with his wife Melanie Walker and their two sons, Wyatt and Austin.

Shale Wong

Board Vice President
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Shale Wong

Board Vice President

Shale Wong, MD, MSPH, is a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics and family medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, teaching child health, advocacy, policy and health care reform with focused interests in integrated care and achieving health equity. She is director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center and Vice Chair for Policy and Advocacy in the Department of Pediatrics. Wong served as health policy advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama for development and implementation of her signature child obesity initiative, Let’s Move, and assisted in launching Joining Forces to improve wellness and resilience of military families. Additionally, she was a senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Wong continues to serve on several national and community boards. As a lifelong dancer, she is inspired to advance health through the arts.

Jennifer Wozniak

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Jennifer Wozniak

Director, Strategic Communications, Xcel Energy

Jen leads the corporate communications function for Xcel Energy’s operating companies across Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico, focusing on reputation management. Prior to her current role at Xcel Energy, she led the development of customer strategy and key functions including market research, web marketing, and customer experience. Her professional experience spans several industries including financial services, retail grocery, office supplies, and sports management, with an ongoing focus on customer strategy and behavior. One of her proudest accomplishments was the design, creation, and execution of the first-ever strategic plan for United States Figure Skating.

Jen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and an MBA in Marketing. She is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Denver. Jen was also a member of several non-profit boards in the Western New York area, and served as the President of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association from 2003-2005. She is the founder of a Denver alumni association chapter for her alma mater. Jen is a graduate of the Chamber 100, Impact Denver, and Leadership Denver (Class of 2011) programs through the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Ascent for Women. Jen is a member of the National Ski Patrol and is a finisher (twice!) in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. She lives in Denver with her husband and three children.

Staff

Rhetta Shead

Director of Administration

Rhetta Shead

Director of Administration

Hillary Harding

Director of Development

Hillary Harding

Director of Development

Shelby Jarosz

Senior Director of Programs and Education

Shelby Jarosz

Senior Director of Programs and Education

Winifred R. Harris

Associate Artistic Director

Winifred R. Harris

Associate Artistic Director

Amelia Dietz

Academy Director

Amelia Dietz

Academy Director

Trey Grimes

Theatre and Technical Director

Trey Grimes

Theatre and Technical Director

Mary Hart

Director of Bookings and Sales

Mary Hart

Director of Bookings and Sales

Zach Reese

Marketing Manager

Zach Reese

Marketing Manager

News

Choreographing the Revolution: Cleo Parker Robinson Celebrates 50 Years as a Cultural Force in Denver

Friday, October 2, 2020, 5280.com—Since founding her modern dance institution, the Denver icon has used her art to honor the African American experience—and as an agent for change. Now, as the nation reckons with systemic inequity, Cleo Parker Robinson reflects on her company’s milestone and the work that still lies ahead.

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Cleo Parker Robinson marks its 50th anniversary with virtual show

Denver Post/TheKnow, August 20, 2020—....And you can celebrate with them by catching a performance of “Out of the Box”

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Denver’s thriving arts scene was headed for its best year yet. And then the pandemic hit.

Sunday Cover Story, Denver Post, June 28, 2020—The city’s identity is at stake as cultural nonprofits scramble to survive

by John Wenzel, Denver Post; Lisa Kennedy and Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special To The Denver Post

When crowds of people return without fear to public events, they’ll be hungry for musicals and symphonies, street festivals and First Fridays. But ready and willing as they are, Denver’s best-known cultural nonprofits have grown increasingly nervous about their uncertain future.

For the past three months, social distancing and thousands of canceled events have ravaged one of the city’s most vulnerable sectors. Cultural nonprofits rely on fundraising, tax dollars and people buying tickets to support live dance, theater, music and visual art. Since March, all are at risk.

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The MOVE/ment: A Modern Ballet about Civil Rights

June 25 through July 8, 2020, Streaming free of charge (https://www.coloradoballet.org/presenting)—During an unprecedented collaboration, Tour De Force, presented March 2019 with Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and Wonderbound delighted sold-out audiences in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

For the first time, streaming free of charge through July 8, The MOVE/ment, choreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson, is presented by Colorado Ballet along with behind-the-scenes interviews with Cleo and dancers from Colorado Ballet and the Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble. The World Premiere of this work in March 2019 was a life-changing experience for all.

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Cleo Parker Robinson: Her Words. An interview on Rocky Mountain PBS, KRMA Channel 6

On June 6, RMPBS news producer Brian Willie sat down with Cleo Parker Robinson in an empty theatre and talked about marching and social justice.

"I've always protested from day one, and my company is a protest. I would say when I arrive in other countries or places I go—I got a posse, I got a gang, and they say 'you do? I say ' yeah' they're all dancers, they're all artists. But, we come in with an intention. We come in to bring beauty. I mean that's our intention. We come in to unify people, and we come in together—not alone. We come in as a group and we come in to make change. We come in to have a powerful experience that uplifts us. And so, I think marching uplifts people. I think it's uplifting them."

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Juneteenth, an IABD Roundtable

June 2020 | Cleo Parker Robinson participates in a seminal conversation with leaders in the International Association of Blacks in Dance (she is one of its founders).

In celebration of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, this IABD virtual roundtable discussion celebrates Black Dance and Black Music’s relationship with each other and its connection to Resistance, Revolution, Resilience and Remembrance.

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Choreographing The World She Wants

June 2020 Issue | Cleo Parker Robinson is profiled in the June 2020 edition of Dance Magazine.

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Dance Magazine, Cover Story Profile of Micaela Taylor

May 2020 Issue | Don't Even Try to Deny the Groovy Appeal of Micaela Taylor

In this article, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is mentioned in a list of recent work commissioned with Micaela Taylor. ("Resist" was commissioned with a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation. It was performed July 2 and 3, 2019 at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C.)

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2020 Five Points Jazz Festival: Virtual! Cleo's Five Points History

May 16, 2020 | Denver, Colo. — Denver Arts and Venues presented the Five Points Jazz Festival in a virtual format this year with Rocky Mountain Public Media. Cleo Parker Robinson was interviewed (at approximately 25:00 timestamp). "Born in the Rossonian," it was her first home from the hospital, and a neighborhood in the center of her upbringing with art and culture. Journalist and co-host Tamara Banks introduces Cleo and shares her own connection with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. Enjoy the great music and performances in this historic first virtual Five Points Jazz Festival.

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Arts Funding during the COVID-19 Crisis

April 30, 2020 | Denver, Colo. —CBS4 Denver, KCNC has been covering arts stories during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cleo Parker Robinson's interview with CBS4 addressed how performances have been cancelled.

In a second story, the SCFD Arts Through It All Campaign addresses funding for non-profit art organizations: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/04/30/coronavirus-colorado-arts-through-it-all-museo-de-las-americas/?fbclid=IwAR2ZR9Z-UJ6XC3Tl-X-UzzZzc8bnqis2KGCpgUYcaR-OH9BghEFdacuja50#.Xqr4RNIgIvM.facebook

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Neighborhood Zumba Class Goes Viral

April 9, 2020 | Denver, Colo. — KDVR Fox 31 | What happens when one of our Zumba classes inspires a student? They dance!

Video of a Denver neighborhood and an Amazon Delivery Driver dancing together in a social-distancing Zumba class has gone viral, viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media, much to the surprise of the women featured in the video.

Holly Porterfield said her neighbor encouraged her to start a Zumba class for her neighborhood. Porterfield loves to dance and has been a long-time supporter of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Denver Arts & Venues. While she trained as a Zumba instructor, she’d never taught a class. Turns out, Porterfield was an excellent teacher and her neighborhood latched on.

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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Launches CyberDance 2020

April 1, 2020 | Denver, Colo.,— The Denver Channel 7, KMGH conducted Cleo Parker Robinson's first interview on Zoom! CyberDance 2020 is the virtual academy connecting students and the community to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

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Facing budget crisis, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance takes its classes online

March 30, 2020 | Denver, Colo. —The Know/DenverPost.com
The renowned Five Points dance institution goes virtual ahead of its 50th anniversary
As dozens of dance studios sit idle across the metro area, one prominent company is moving deliberately into the virtual world.
To cope, Robinson’s nearly 50-year-old Five Points-neighborhood institution — known for its focus on African-American stories — on Monday launched its Cyber Dance 2020 program.

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Legendary choreographer Donald McKayle lives on in Cleo Parker Robinson’s “Rise and Resist”

September 20, 2019 | The Know Denver Post
Cleo Parker Robinson counts herself lucky to have gotten so much of late choreographer Donald McKayle’s work, including his final piece.

But as is often said, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“The first time my (dancers) ran it on Aug. 20, I thought they were going to die,” Robinson said with a laugh over the phone last week. “And I thought, ‘Oh my God, we have an entire performance before we even get to this piece!’ But it was so moving, emotionally. People in the room were crying and couldn’t breathe. You felt like you were in the middle of a hurricane.”

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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Creates Social Justice Movements

September 17, 2019 — 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.

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Cleo Parker Robinson's ADF Show Was a Master Class in the History and Future of Black Modern Dance

July 5, 2019 | REVIEW | IndyWeek, Raleigh-Durham, NC — There are rare, transcendent moments when art is imperative, and the audience becomes a collective witness to a communion that leaves them cleansed, at least momentarily, and enlightened.

Such was the case at Duke’s Reynolds Industries Theater on Tuesday night during the American Dance Festival performance by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. The legendary choreographer and dancer’s Denver-based company offered a stunning and inspiring tribute to several masters of the black tradition, including Katherine Dunham, Talley Beatty, and Donald McKayle.

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Dance/USA Leadership Corner: Malik Robinson, Chair Elect Interview

February 20, 2019 | Dance/USA
Washington, DC – From the Green Room continues its feature, Leadership Corner, disseminating the voices and experiences of leaders in the professional dance field across the United States.

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Arts and Culture: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance embraces history, looks to future

October 5, 2018 | Denver Business Journal
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance looks to future, “We see people soar and become leaders.”

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Dancer and Choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson's Last Barrel House Blues

September 28, 2018 | 9News
Nationally-known dancer and choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson said that she will be passing on one of her signature dances, Barrel House Blues, to another dancer. She said this does not mean retirement--it's merely passing the torch.

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Cleo Parker Robinson's Last “Barrelhouse Blues” Is Tonight

September 28, 2018 | Westword
A two-minute ragtime shimmy choreographed by Katherine Dunham in 1938, “Barrelhouse Blues” was always meant to capture the moment when a lonely old woman channels her lost youth through dance.

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