Upon entering the packed lobby of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre Saturday night for the opening performance of Granny Dances to Holiday Drum, electric anticipation was palpable. The audience ranging from young to old was eager to grab a seat and experience the show.
The performance takes the audience through myriad mini-stories of Granny looking to remember. She is working to remember her life and the stories and songs about holiday celebrations worldwide. In the process, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance company takes us around the world from Mexico to Africa to Brazil and beyond. Through the use of live vocals and a live band, the entire theater comes alive with sound and movement.
Each act describes a different culture’s take on the holiday season with tolerance, acceptance and beauty. The grace of music and movement lull you into a cross-cultural journey viewing and receiving each nuance and difference as an entry into the otherness. Our world is full of variety and having a dance performance so eloquently spoken and moved was such a joy during this season.
A highlight during the performance was Grandmother Spider, danced by YooJung Hahm. Her sinewy, elongated movements were nimble and truly invoking of a spider moving across the stage. Joey Santos and Lara Kirksey should be applauded for their innovative costume design, which transports and conveys the various animals and imagery without detracting from the movement and physicality of the dancers. Cedric Dwayne Hall elevated energy and his entire body with gorgeous high kicks and soft landings. The enjoyment of each dancer while on stage was contagious. Throughout the room, the audience clapped and participated when called upon by Vincent C. Robinson, our preacher, for the evening.
Looking to experience the holidays with a little fun and flair for the entire family? Go see Granny, from the live vocals to the colorful costumes to the expression of difference during the holiday season, the performance is about joy and light. As Cleo says, “ I wanted to create a piece that would bring families, friends and communities together in celebration of their unique gifts, traditions and cultures…’Granny’ is the perfect way to encourage everyone to count their blessings…Together, as one family, let us celebrate our World of Cultures!” Join the celebration and get tickets today as performances only run until December 20th.
W. Celeste Davis Stragand: Published author, showcased artist and local Denverite, W. Celeste Davis Stragand is not new to the art world. Her passion for delving into the root of existence and movement will challenge and praise both choreographers and the audience. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Celeste holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Chemistry and the other in English. She is also a graduate of Naropa University holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A former national slam team poet, Celeste is a graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program and sits on the American Institute of Architects Colorado board. Her passion and enthusiasm for the kinetic arts will frolic and frenzy through the upcoming season of performances with many hopes for an encore!