Edgar and Chris FusionCleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble is internationally esteemed as one of America’s foremost modern dance companies. Under the direction of Cleo Parker Robinson, the Ensemble performs a dynamic body of works inspired by the African American experience and rooted in ethnic and modern dance traditions worldwide. Legendary and emerging artists alike are drawn by the spirit of the company to create works that transcend the boundaries of culture, class and age while unequivocally communicating the complexity of the human condition. Seen by an estimated 2,000,000 fans throughout the United States and more than 40 countries on five continents, CPRDE continues to be a leader in dance innovation and the promotion of American dance heritage.

CPRD Ensemble members are a key component to our outreach programs—performing thousands of hours of outreach in our local community and beyond.

Catch Ah Fire | World Premiere 2023
Choreography: Thomas Talawa Prestø
Ellie Caulkins Opera House | Denver, CO

Catch Ah Fire deals with resistance and affirming yourself. What we in the Caribbean call ‘mation’ to become smart is to become somebody, somebody of importance to yourself, to your community, and also just lighting that fire, or trying to catch the essence of that fire that we have as black people that allows us to stand, move, and groove in dignity… and Catch Ah Fire is that journey that we all embark on as we move from the indignity of being made objects into the journey of personhood and being soul.”
— Choreographer, Thomas Talawa Prestø, Founder and Artistic Director of Tabanaka Dance Ensemble, Oslo, Norway

CPRD Ensemble Members

Michael Battle

Caeli Blake

Corey Boatner

Jasmine Francisco

Samiyah Lynnice

Gabriela Maduro

Lauren Slaughter

Devrae "DJ" Jefferson

Lamar D. Rogers

CPRD Ensemble Bios

Learn more about our Ensemble Members by clicking on their name below!

  • Michael Battle

    A native of Detroit, MI, Mr. Battle began his dance training at Detroit School of the Arts at the age of 14. In 2009, he joined the Lula Washington Dance Theatre as a company member, and in 2019, joined Ronald K. Brown/ Evidence, A Dance Company as a company member. Mr. Battle has traveled to China, Russia, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. He has performed with Grammy Award Winning and Nominated artists Kamasi Washington, Meshell Ndegeocello, Terence Blanchard, Aurturo O’Farrill, and Jody Watley. After guesting with the Ensemble in 2022, he is now in his first full season with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

  • Caeli Blake

    From the DC Metropolitan area, Ms. Blake began her formal training at BalletNova Center for Dance in Arlington, VA. She attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Washington DC) under the tutelage of Charles Augins, Sandra Fortune-Greene, and Katherine Smith. She has studied with various company institutions including Deeply
    Rooted Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem at the Strathmore, and Jazz & Contemporary at Joffrey Ballet. Ms. Blake graduated from Southern Methodist University, with a BFA in Dance Performance and BS in Education & Human Development. While a full-time student at SMU, she danced with B.Moore Dance. She has performed in works by Robert Battle, Christopher Huggins, Kevin Iega Jeff, Bridget L. Moore, Silas Farley, Nicole Clarke-Springer, among others.

  • Corey Boatner

    Growing up in Hammond IN, Mr. Boatner trained in multiple dance techniques at the Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts. An alum of Indiana University, he performed there in notable works including Kyle Abrahams “Radio Show”, Jose Limon’s “Psalm”, Andrea Millers “Spill”, Jerome Robbins “Fanfare”, and the original restaging of Twyla Tharp’s “Deuce Coupe” and Rennie Harris’ “Home”. He has also toured professionally with Elizabeth Shea Dance in Philadelphia and New York and performed overseas with Norwegian Creative Studios. After one season as an apprentice, Mr. Boatner is now in his first season as an Ensemble member.

  • Jasmine Francisco

    Originally from Houston, Ms. Francisco graduated in 2012 from the High School of Performing and Visual Arts as a dance major. She subsequently received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2016 from Point Park University with repertoire from Jessica Lang, Terrance Marling, Troy Powell, Bennyroyce Royon, Garfield Lemonius and MADBOOTS. In 2010, her sophomore year, her student choreography project “Tales of Courage“, was featured at the American College Dance Association Conference. After graduating from Point Park, she joined the Lula Washington Dance Theater in Los Angeles for two seasons, performing works by Kyle Abraham, Donald Bryd, Rennie Harris, Christopher Huggins and David Roussève. In 2018, Ms. Francisco moved to Denver to join the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble where she is now in her fourth season.

  • Samiyah Lynnice

    A Florida native, Ms. Lynnice began her training at the Academy of Ballet Arts and Artz 4 Life Academy, Inc. in Tampa Bay. A graduate of New World School of the Arts, she received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from The Hartt School in Hartford, CT. Touring nationally as a principle dancer with DunDu Dole West African Ballet, she performed in the Chocolate Nutcracker as ‘Claire’ and ‘The Dream Princess”. She has performed works by master choreographers including Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Doug Varone, and Darrell Grand Moultrie, and attended summer workshops with Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, RIOULT, and White Mountain Dance Festival. This is Ms. Lynnice’s fourth season with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.

  • Gabriela Maduro

    Originally from Fremont California, Ms. Maduro began training in dance under the direction of Yoko Young and later joined Nor Cal Dance Arts under the direction of Tawnya Kuzia. She has studied at the Ailey School, the Martha Graham School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and the University of California, Irvine where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance. While at UCI, she was honored in 2017 to perform as part of the distinguished Donald McKayle’s Etude Ensemble. She has performed works by Donald McKayle, Martha Graham, Darshan Singh Bhuller, and Tong Wang. Upon graduation, Ms. Maduro joined Cleo II, and after one season as apprentice, is now in her first season as an Ensemble member.

  • Lauren Slaughter

    A Colorado native, Ms. Slaughter began dancing at a local competitive studio before moving to St. Louis to attend Washington University where she expanded her training to include Modern and West African and received a Minor in Dance. Ms. Slaughter performed for three years with the Washington University Dance Collective (a modern dance company) and worked with multiple MFA candidates on their thesis projects. While at Washington University, she performed works by Ting-Ting Chang, Diadie Bathily, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, and Dana Tai Soon Burgess. Following graduation, she returned to Colorado and is now is now an apprentice with the Ensemble after one season with Cleo II.

  • Devrae "DJ" Jefferson

    A native of Atlanta, GA., Devrae “DJ” Jefferson is now in his first season as an Apprentice to the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. He began his training in the Magnet Program for Visual and Performing arts at Tri-Cities HS where he focused on all genres of dance. With a special affinity for ballet, he attended summer programs including Metropolitan Ballet Theater and Lines Contemporary Ballet. Having furthered his training, he subsequently received a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem NC. Mr. Jefferson has performed with Ballethnic Dance Company and Dallas Black Dance Theater Encore. With extensive experience in coaching gymnastics and teaching a variety of dance techniques, he first joined Cleo Parker Robinson Dance as a guest artist for the holiday production “Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum.

  • Lamar D. Rogers

    Mr. Rogers is a performer and choreographer hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having graduated from The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, he later earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The University of the Arts under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield. During his college career, he toured and performed with Eleone Dance Theatre under the direction and mentorship of Shawn-Lamere Williams. He has trained at various institutions throughout the Philadelphia area as a scholarship student attending Koresh School of Dance, DCNS Summer Dance Intensive and the Rock School for Dance Education. Following graduation, he joined the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) as a full-time company artist. He has performed works by Sidra Bell, Kyle & Dinita Clark, Merce Cunningham, Ulysses Dove, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Helen Simoneau, Rennie Harris and other acclaimed choreographers. He now joins Cleo Parker Robinson Dance for his second season with the Ensemble.

Cleo II

Cleo II was founded in 2011 in Denver Colorado. This pre-professional/apprentice company focuses on developing young adult dancers in preparation for entering the professional field of dance. The company’s major focuses are community outreach and education, technical development and the cultivation of artistic excellence.

Cedric D. Hall, Cleo II Director

Katie Carothers

Kayla Massey

Melvin Sutton

William Davis

Cleo II Bios

Learn more about our Cleo II Members by clicking on their name below!

  • Katie Carothers

  • Kayla Massey

    From Upper Marlboro, MD, Ms. Massey is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she received a dual degree in Dance (B.A.) and Information Systems (B.S.) with a minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. She began her formal training under the tutelage of Vicki Wooten Tchanque. Simultaneously, she trained at The Washington School of Ballet. During her college career, she has performed with the Baltimore Dance Project, and at venues such as the REACH/Kennedy Center and the Baltimore Lights Festival. Additionally, her choreographic work, Between You & Me (2021), was selected to be in the American College Dance Association’s gala concert. Upon graduation, Ms. Massey received two Departmental Honors from the UMBC Dance Department. She has performed works by Shaness Kemp, Brandon Perry Russel, Ann Sofie Clemmenson, Doug Hamby, Nicole Clarke-Springer, and Tracey Franklin. She has also had the opportunity to attend intensives with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and Cleo Parker-Robinson Dance. This is Ms. Massey’s first season with Cleo II.

  • Melvin Sutton

  • William Davis

“Absolutely Amazing! Thank you for holding such space for voices and cultures to be shared so loudly and beautifully!”

—Bethany Laney, UI Faculty, Moscow ID

For information regarding national and international touring, special event and corporate performances, contact Mary Hart at 303 295 1759 x20 or mary@cleoparkerdance.org

Youth Ensembles

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Youth Ensemble

For ages 13-19, a member of the Training Track who has demonstrated technical and artistic excellence will be selected for the Youth Ensemble. The Youth Ensemble is the performing aspect of the Training Track–they perform throughout the community as well as some CPRDE Concerts such as Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum and Dance Africa.

JYE (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Junior Youth Ensemble)

For ages 8-13, a member of the Training Track who has demonstrated that they are performance ready and dedicated to increase their training and performance opportunities. They will also have the opportunity to perform in the community as well as some CPRDE Concerts such as Granny Dance To A Holiday Drum and Dance Africa, to name a few.