Cleo 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 became a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization in 1974, continuing to build upon its dance school and ensemble origins. In four 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.
Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, artistic director and choreographer of the 40+ year-old Denver-based artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She leads a professional dance Ensemble, Youth Ensemble, a School of Dance, an International Summer Dance Institute, a 300 seat …+
Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, artistic director and choreographer of the 40+ year-old Denver-based artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She leads a professional dance Ensemble, Youth Ensemble, a School of Dance, an International Summer Dance Institute, a 300 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 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 …+
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
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:
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.
Angela Norris Hawkins is the Supplier Diversity Manager for CenturyLink, a public telecommunications company. Ms. Norris-Hawkins is a dedicated professional who believes that having a positive impact on small business development is essential to the economic sustainability of the communities we live in. Her job has a purpose assisting with the economic growth and sustainability of minority business enterprises. Ms. Norris-Hawkins is also the President of the Alliance of Black Telecommunications Professionals (ABTP), a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to being a resource of education and community network connection for the telecommunications industry by collaborating with organizations and the general public. Ms. Norris-Hawkins serves as the Program Director for the African American Autism Center, an advocacy and resource organization dedicated to educating the community and providing services for persons along the autism spectrum. Ms. Norris-Hawkins currently serves on the board of directors for the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, Jack and Jill Denver and has served on the board of directors for the Minority Enterprise and Education Development and CARES Mentoring Denver.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
October 5, 2018 | Denver Business Journal
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance looks to future, “We see people soar and become leaders.”
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.
September 28, 2018 | Denver Post
Images of Cleo Parker Robinson's last performance of “Barrelhouse Blues”.
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.
Aug. 8, 2018 | Denver Post
Denver’s own Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is one of five dance companies nationwide receiving a $100,000 grant from the International Association of Blacks in Dance.organizationally and artistically,” IABD president Denise Saunders Thompson said in a statement.Read More
September 28, 2018 | Denver Post
Legendary dancer and 70-year-old Denver native Cleo Parker Robinson will take her last grand spin on the dance floor Friday night during her ensemble’s “Rhapsody in Black” on the University of Denver campus.
August 3, 2018 | Dance/USA
Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national association for professional dance, is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 Board of Trustees.
March 29, 2018 | Daily Camera
The "Lark" is a popular composition for dance choreography, and music director Michael Butterman is using it to realize a long-sought collaboration with Denver's Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. It is followed by the three-movement Fifth Symphony by Jean Sibelius.Read More
Dec. 31, 2017 | CPRD
CPRD is a Denver Institution, serving the community and teaching generations of families the beauty, fun, and healing power of dance for the past 47 years. This report covers some highlights from 2017, as well as year-end messages from Malik and Cleo.
Corporate Membership Benefits: CPRD now offers additional ways for companies to partner! Corporate Members receive year-round exposure and benefits; including tickets to shows, classes, and the Dancing with the Denver Stars annual Gala as well as marketing exposure.
2018 Corporate Members
Agency Off Record (AOR)
Arc Thrift Stores
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Want to know more?contact email@example.com or 303-594-3456.