Cleo Parker Robinson is the founder, artistic director and choreographer of Cleo Parker Robinson dance- a community artistic institution for 50 years.
She has seen Denver grown and change, and she talked to RMPBS about what's happening now in our city.
"I was thinking about, as a choreographer, what kind of dance I see going on right now. And, it's really phenomenal. It's radical. And, sometimes when you want change, many times in our history when you look for change, you have to have radical things go on because people get very numb. They don't listen, they think they care, they think they hear, but when something radical happens it's sort of like a gestalt moment. Everyone sees it at the same time and therefore everyone tries to problem solve and we have to hear all the different ways of problems solving and I think we're in a very interesting time."
Robinson adds, "I think it's a very painful time. Very painful, and it brings up a lot of pain we've already had that we haven't healed from. So, I think that's some of the concern that I have. That, and some of the things that have not been put into place that we thought maybe were in place through the civil rights movement. I think it just reminds us of how powerful that was - the civil rights movement-and how we have to go back to some of those things that really did work for our society. And, marching and protesting works. Rallying works. Rioting doesn't work. Somebody is going to get hurt, and lots of people get hurt and lots of people get angry."
"But, a lot of times people don't feel like they own that community so when there is destruction you have to say 'why would you ruin your own community?' But if they don't feel they own it, they have no ownership. Then, we have to look at it in a different way as well. We're looking at ourselves, which we need to do. We need to do that. We look at other countries and make a judgment but right now we have to self knowledge. We have to look at ourselves and see how the world is looking at us and know that we inspire the world..."
As she travels the world with her dance company, she makes a statement. " 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."
Watch the interview here: