The History of Legacy!

Recognizing that our own 53-year history is built on a foundation of iconic artistry and tradition in Black dance, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble takes particular pride in presenting our Spring 2024 concert Legacy: Opening the Way. Sharing treasures long unseen from our richly diverse repertoire of artistic brilliance, we can’t wait to welcome our Denver audience on Mother’s Day weekend!

For patrons seeking an even deeper experience, Saturday’s performance includes a pre-show reception from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This $75 ticket includes drinks, food, and a chance to mingle with Cleo and other concert creatives! Saturday attendees will also receive a signed limited-edition copy of the newly released book Swans of Harlem, sharing the stories of Karlya Benjamin-Shelton and four other Black Ballerinas of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. 

Performance Information

Legacy: Opening the Way will take place at CPRD 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205

Dates & Times:

Friday, May 10 · 7:30PM · $45 Adult · $40 Elder · $35 Child/Student

Saturday, May 11 · 7:30PM · $75 All Premium Tickets · 6:30 pm VIP Cocktail Reception Included

Sunday, May 12 · 2PM · Mother’s Day · $45 Adult · $40 Elder · $35 Child/Student

Purchase 6 or more tickets to utilize our group ticket rate of $5 off each ticket!

Included Works

When Wet Came to Paper

World Premiere 1992

When Wet Came To Paper is choreographed by Winifred Harris, current CPRD Associate Artistic Director and CPRD Ensemble alumna. 

“The work is a tribute to those who have passed on and those that are far from me/us In joy we celebrate.  The work is based on in a poem that I wrote when Curtis Frazier passed and I was missing my friends. Curtis was part of the CPRD Ensemble and one of my first dance partners. The work is a moving poem. It is also a letter as I’ve moved around the globe and the connections that have been created and the people forever in our lives.” —Winifred R. Harris

Spiritual Suite (exerpts)

Series of CPRD World Premieres, 1971 TO 1985

Considered by many to be the master work of Cleo Parker Robinson, Spiritual Suite is a powerful and critically acclaimed suite rooted in the traditions of African-American spirituals.

Spiritual Suite is a series of pieces which evolved throughout 14 years. It offers profound portraits of joy and sorrow, despair and triumph. The work was inspired by my early childhood experiences in the Baptist churches of Dallas, and is dedicated to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” — Cleo Parker Robinson, Founder, CPRD

While the suite consists of seven sections, the audiences of Legacy: Opening the Way will be able to witness:

  • Roll Me Through The Rushes
  • Mary Don’t You Weep
  • To My Father’s House

Other Works


Four Women

Choreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson, inspired by the Nina Simone song Four Women.


One Nation Under a Groove, Part 2: 24 Hours in Birmingham

Choreographed by David Rousséve.

See a clip of the Ensemble in rehearsal here.

Read the NY times article from 2023 here.

CPRD Co-Founder and Poet Schyleen Qualls

Schyleen Qualls, Co-Creator & Co-Founder of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, is an actor, writer, producer and filmmaker. During CPRD’s first decade, Schyleen co-directed the administration, performed poetry in the ensemble’s concerts, and served on the board of directors — helping to lay a foundation for the world renowned dance company and arts institution. A highlight of her years with CPRD was FESTAC ’77, aka the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. A month-long gathering of 17,000 artists of African descent from 55 nations, it was the largest reunion of people from the African Diaspora ever to take place. Schyleen wrote and narrated the film Family Reunion — Americans at FESTAC, which has been shown in 74 countries Learn more about Schyleen here.