Lisa Engelken

Lisa Engelken


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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