“To say I enjoyed the evening is an incredible understatement — I was so lifted in my mind, heart, and soul. Every second, every movement, every expression, every sound, was remarkably inspirational — enriching — and empowering!! I have often wondered what God’s Spirit looked like…..well, I certainly witnessed it during this concluding display of Excellence.” – J.M. Bledsoe
CPRD on Tour
February 6, 2019
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is dedicated to bringing to life choreography from emerging and master artists. CPRD is proud to perform pieces from each of these renowned artists:
Cleo Parker Robinson
is an American dancer and choreographer. She is most known for being the founder, namesake and executive creative director of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989, and named to the National Council on the Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1999. In 2005 she also received a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor during the Center’s “Masters of African American Choreographers” series.
CPRD repertoire: Romeo & Juliet, Carmen
was an American dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century, and directed her own dance company for many years. She has been called the “matriarch and queen mother of black dance.
CPRD repertoire: Southland
is an American modern dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and writer best known for creating socially conscious concert works during the 1950s and ’60s that focus on expressing the human condition and more specifically, the black experience in America. He was, “Among the first black men to break the racial barrier by means of modern dance,”. His talents extend beyond the concert stage as McKayle has also performed and choreographed for Broadway musicals, theatre, television, and film. He has worked with many choreographers such as Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Anna Sokolow, and Merce Cunningham. A Tony Award and Emmy Award nominee, McKayle is currently a Professor of Dance, Modern Technique and Choreography, at UC Irvine, in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts Dance Department. He has served on the faculties of Connecticut College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Bennington College.
CPRD repertoire: Songs of the Disinherited, Uprooted: Pero Resplando, Angelitos Negros
was a Colombian-American modern dance choreographer known for his politically charged productions depicting the black experience.
In 1947, he and his mother moved from Colombia, South America, to the United States, where Pomare attended New York’s High School of Performing Arts. He founded a company in 1958, dismantled it to travel to Europe to study and perform with Kurt Jooss and Harold Kreutzberg, then returned to the United States in 1964 when he revived and expanded his company. Notable productions include Missa Luba in 1965, Blues for the Jungle in 1966 (portraying life in Harlem), Las Desenamoradas in 1967 (based on Federico García Lorca’s play The House of Bernarda Alba set to jazz by John Coltrane), and Narcissus Rising in 1968 (a sensational solo portraying the psychology of a motorcycle gang member).
Pomare is often considered the angry black man of modern dance, although he does not consider himself angry or bitter, but that he is rather “telling it like it is”. “I’m labeled…angry…because I will not do what they want from a black dancer. They want black exotics… I have something to say and I want to say it honestly, strongly and without having it stolen, borrowed or messed over.