Lisa Engelken

Lisa Engelken
February 27, 2020 Presenting Denver
Lisa Engelken Breaking Barriers Photo Adrienne M. Kendall. Courtesy of Breaking Barriers.


Presenting Denver would like to shine the spotlight on Lisa Engelken and Lisa Engelken Breaking Barriers !

Lisa Engelken Breaking Barriers Photo Adrienne M. Kendall. Courtesy of Breaking Barriers.

Lisa Engelken Breaking Barriers Photo Adrienne M. Kendall. Courtesy of Breaking Barriers.

Choreographer Name: Lisa Engelken
Company Name: Lisa Engelken Breaking Barriers
Hometown: Denver, CO
Current city you live in: Denver, CO
Education: BA: Social Action Through the Arts, Metropolitan State University of Denver





Presenting Denver: Can you describe an aspect of your work and/or creative process?

Lisa Engelken: My creative process happens in the moment. I am a sprinter, not a long distance runner so planning beforehand doesn’t usually work for me. I like to create in the moment where the dancers affect what the work will be. I am blessed to have a dynamic group for this piece with a variety of skill sets. I want to bring out their individual voices and stories for a more shared experience. 


PD: If you are originally from Colorado, what is something you love about living here?

LE: I am born and raised in Denver. What I love about being here is drinking tap water! Also, I cherish my community. My dearest friend Kayla Marque is an incredible singer/songwriter. It is incredible to mix with the music scene, Denver has so much talent that is still underground just waiting to pop off.


PD: Who is your audience? Do you often see the same people at performances, or is there a wide variety of faces?

LE: Breaking Barriers has seen a wide variety of faces over the past seasons. Our last event was a Speakeasy featuring a local band called the Royal Street Ramblers, which brought out many new faces from the swing dance community. That is our aim: to literally break barriers. The mission is always to bridge and mix communities. I also throw an event called Backyard Sessions which draws a dynamic crowd. It is a curated open mic that I host at my childhood home where my parents have lived for 30 years. There is something about grassroots art-making that draws people from all backgrounds and that will always be part of my mission to build culture and community.  


PD: What motivates you to get up and dance?

LE: Music! Music is what motivates the dance for me always. 


PD: How were you first introduced to dance, and what did you think at the time?

LE: My older sister is also a dancer so I always danced at home. I started taking classes at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance from a young age and I had terrible stage fright. I remember feeling sick every time I was backstage about to go on, even at the age of five. But then there was always this threshold that I passed through when I got on stage and suddenly I would enter another realm, freedom. I have that same feeling to this day, I love performing.   


PD: Please list any upcoming events, programs, classes or shows that you would like Presenting Denver and our audiences to know about. Thank you!!

LE: My weekly classes are at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance: Wednesdays 5-6:30 intermediate Horton based modern. Thursday 7-8pm House dance. Friday 10-11:30 Professional Horton based modern

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