Dance is Black people’s ‘soul food,’ says company founder Cleo Parker Robinson

    Robinson discusses her eponymous dance organization's re-visitation of Jacob's Pillow, celebrating 50 years, the eventual fate of her organization, and that's just the beginning.


Starting on August 17, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble will get back to the renowned Jacob's Pillow in Beckett, Mass. during 50th commemoration season with six exhibitions investigate feeling, womanliness, war, race, and tastefulness.


"That is wild, that we haven't been there in 20 years," the organization's organizer and Artistic Director Cleo Parker Robinson said in a new meeting with theGrio. "We're excited [that] the local area will see us at Jacob's Pillow after so long."


Gracing the scene's stage interestingly starting around 2002, the troupe will perform five distinct pieces: Katherine Dunham's "Jazz," Robinson's own "Mary, Don't You Weep," Nejla Yatkin's "Salomés Daughters," Donald McKayle's "Crossing the Rubicon," "Passing the Point of No Return' and Garfield Lemonius' "Therapy." Each piece recounts to an alternate story that reverberates with present day while exhibiting the rich history of the organization and giving a stage to its capable experts.


Initially booked for 2020 however deferred because of the pandemic, this presentation will likewise act as the 50-year festivity for the outfit. Established in 1970 in Denver, Colo. during the Black Arts Movement, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble exemplified its pioneer's obsession for dance while giving a stage to Black craftsmen in the business.


"We needed to see ourselves," she said. "We needed to hear our own accounts, and I believe that is the reason we were so determined."


Robinson's motivation for making the dance organization originated from her own childhood. With her dad a functioning entertainer and her mom a performer, she experienced childhood in an imaginative family that wanted to move. Her folks involved dance as a method for uniting everybody; thus, Robinson fell head over heels for dance as an investigation of what humanness could be and kept it close all through her life. At last, her enthusiasm for this type of articulation would turn into the main impetus behind the production of her organization.


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Fifty years subsequent to establishing her outfit, she accepts dance is fundamental, and that it is nourishment for the spirits of Black individuals.


"[Dance is] groundbreaking," she said. "While we're moving, I believe we're utilizing uncommonly high mind. It's a theoretical structure … so tracking down approaches to communicating all of that and showing kids how to make it happen, I believe it's significant for all youngsters, all teens [and] all seniors."


As the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble enters its 52nd year, Robinson is centered around laying the preparation for the fate of the organization fully intent on keeping up with harmony, love and regard for all interested parties. She presently is centered around "Sacrosanct Spaces," the organization's task investigating the consuming of Louisiana houses of worship in 2019. As a team with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the presentation will debut on September 17 and 18 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.


Look at the full meeting with Cleo Parker Robinson in our video above.


Kayla Grant


Kayla Grant is a media columnist with bylines in Business Insider, Shondaland, Oz Magazine, Prism, Rolling Out and the sky is the limit from there. She expounds on culture, books and diversion news.

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