Dianne Reeves, Cleo Parker Robinson collab for “Journeys” – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-09-21 08:00:45 –

Singer Dianne Reeves doesn’t remember the day she met dancer Cleo Parker Robinson, her friends, fellow artists, and more recently her collaborators.

“Cleo has always been there,” said Reeves, who grew up in Denver. Robinson also calls him his hometown. “We always knew her.”

Hillary Harding, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Cleo Parker Robinson and Dianne Reeves are in the studio.

Robinson can’t even remember the exact moment. Reeves’ uncle, legendary jazz bassist Charles Burrell, when he was born 73 years ago, actually took Robinson home from the hospital and benefited his father, she said.

Indeed, they met before each put themselves in the top tier of Denver’s performing artists. Reeves won five Grammy Awards along the way before gaining international fame for her easy and fluid vocals. Prior to Robinson’s creation of her company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, into a movement powerhouse, he established himself as a high-demand choreographer in North America, Europe and Africa.

All the while, they said in an interview last week that they plan to work together. But with their busy schedule, it never happened. Someone was always out of town, always playing somewhere and preparing for the next action.

After all, it was the song that put them together: Reeves’s “Freedom Dance” first appeared on her landmark, the 1994 album “Art and Survival.”

She recently returned it to a live show and ran it during a pre-pandemic event in San Francisco, where former Robinson co-creator Schyleen Qualls currently lives. Qualls caught the concert and knew that the moment of unity was imminent.

She immediately called Robinson.

“Sirene said,’It’s time,'” Robinson recalled.

And, in a sense, the pandemic, which seemed to stop the whole world, allowed the start of a long-delayed partnership. As Reeves said, both women have time in their hands and thoughts about the projects they want to do in their lives, in places that are “really important and I kept putting off.” It was parked.

They started the connection by text message or phone and pushed the collaboration towards the finish line.

3 images: Choreographed Cleo Parker Robinson standing on the shoulders commissioned by the Vail Dance Festival. World premiere, Vail Dance Festival 2021. Denver Premier: “Journey” Autumn Concert in Erie. (Provided by Christopher Dagan, Vail Dance Festival, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance)

They crossed it at the Erie Colekins Opera House on September 25th and 26th, where Reeves sang, and Robinson’s troupe performed a whole new choreography she created for the song. This piece is part of an action-packed autumn concert, with four major pieces running in succession.

If you go

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance’s Fall 2021 Concert “Journey” will take place September 25-26 at the Ellie Cole Kins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets and information at

Among them is the premiere of another work, The Four Journeys, choreographed by Amalia Vivianaba Santa Hernandez, a revered contemporary dance maker in Mexico City, which will be part of the CPRD folklore. The monumental work traces the history and intersection of four different cultures that coexist in Mexico today: indigenous peoples, Spain, Africa and Asia.

CPRD commissioned dance before the pandemic and challenged for two years primarily to develop dance through zoom. Most recently, it was assembled in its final form during a complete face-to-face rehearsal.

There is also a costume-colored “fusion” that explores the influence of indigenous peoples, Africa and France on Haiti’s culture, where choreographer Jungy Santus lives. Santus expects to attend the concert.

Jerry Meters, provided by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Freedom dance named after Dianne Reeves’ song choreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. Reeves perform live with dancers. CPRD co-founder Schyleen Qualls will also perform her new original work, Freedom Poem, with a performance. CPRD Ensemble Member and Rehearsal Director Chloé-Grant Abel.

Finally, there is the Denver premiere of “Standing On the Shoulders”. This is Robinson’s work “Celebrating Unity, Renewal and Reunion” commissioned by the Bale Valley Foundation, which premiered at a spectacular reception at the Bale International Dance Festival this summer. The music was created by renowned composer Omar Thomas.

Still, what the local audience most hopes for is the Reeves-Robinson alliance. Although they have much in common, their performance styles are very different.

(One of them: Both were honored at the Kennedy Center. In 2018 Dianne Reeves received the NEA Jazz Masters Award. In 2004, Robinson was awarded the Kennedy Center Medal of Honor at the venue’s Masters of African. Awarded. American Choreographer “program.)

They gathered for “Freedom Dance” with the source material, Reeve’s song as a guide.

“When I first talked to Diane, she said,’Well, what do you think we can do?'” Robinson recalled. “And I said,’Well, the dance of freedom sounds like the dance I’ve been doing for a lifetime.'”

This work, as Reeves says, has been transformed into a fun expression of femininity and liberation, the “energy of the goddess.” Robinson’s sense of freedom is found in women as “mothers, lovers, wives, caregivers. All because they are warriors.”

When Robinson began thinking about the procedure, Reeves immediately gathered the band in a studio in Los Angeles to record an updated version of the song. They sent the audio to CPRD, which used it during the rehearsal.

Reeves will perform live at the Erie Colekins Opera House, but will be free to feel the moment. She imagines a real moment when a singer, musician and dancer improvise based on each other’s energies. This is the place where jazz and contemporary dance meet.

Robinson initially thought she would only cast women in her work. The main movement is set up so that 10 female dancers perform a coordinated series of steps. But she said during the studio rehearsal, she added another smaller role for men because the male dancers in her company wanted the energy they were seeing.

Provided by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Dianne Reeves will perform with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

According to Robinson, the process of putting together the entire autumn concert program was organic, but the “Four Journeys” was never easy, especially because of the cross-border cooperation between artists during the pandemic.

At some point, she faced the question of whether members of the company needed to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to participate. She said it was difficult to weigh the various wishes of individual dancers with concerns about greater interests.

In the end, she asked them to take a shot. But she is still questioning the decision.

“All I know is that I think this is the right thing to do. We want to work and we want to work together,” she said. “So if this is what we have to do, we will have to do it. We must walk together in faith.”

Both Reeves and Robinson are still shaping the “Freedom Dance” tweaked in this week’s tech rehearsal.

Dianne Reeves, Cleo Parker Robinson collab for “Journeys” Source link Dianne Reeves, Cleo Parker Robinson collab for “Journeys”

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