News: Ground will be broken this fall for the $20 million Cleo Parker Robinson Center for the Healing Arts, and to prepare for this milestone event, the 53-year-old dance company on Tuesday conducted a ground blessing celebration that was attended by board members, donors and a host of cultural, spiritual and civic leaders.

The gathering honored ancestors of the land and the dance company’s legacy of artistic excellence and giving voice to those who otherwise may have gone unheard.

Thirty-five years ago, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance moved from a single studio loft at 20th and Lawrence streets to the Landmark Shorter AME Church, 119 Park Avenue West in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, transforming the facility into a cultural hub featuring a theater and dance studios.

The addition of Cleo Parker Robinson Center for the Healing Arts, designed by architect Curt Fentress and built by Mortenson, will nearly double the size of the 98-year-old historic structure. Features include a glass atrium that will rise nearly three stories on the east side of the former church, creating a grand entrance and lobby for what will be a 25,000-square-foot, four-level education and performing arts addition with ADA-accessible features that include:

  • A garden-level, 240-seat performance venue with telescopic/scalable seating
  • Four new dance studios
  • Dressing rooms
  • A reception area, café and office facilities for administrative staff and theater tenants

“The Cleo Parker Robinson Center for the Healing Arts is a legacy project that will have impact for at least the next 100 years,” said Malik Robinson, executive director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. “This facility will amplify our ability to serve as a gathering space where communities and creatives come to exchange ideas and inspire us. The pandemic underscored the links between the arts, movement, community and health advocacy. Our expanded hub continues this critical mission.”

His mother, company founder Cleo Parker Robinson, praised architect Curt Fentress for weaving “Our African American movement legacy, modern dance heritage and elements into a vibrant new space. “The Rocky Mountain region is a crossroads of culture and our local leaders have recognized the impact of our work in transforming the dream of this beautiful facility into reality.”

Funding for the addition is 75 percent complete and comes from a capital campaign, grants and individual donations. Sources include the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade; the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation; the Colorado Health Foundation; the Colorado Trust; the Boettcher Foundation; U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet; philanthropist Merle Chambers; Jim and Kathryn Kaiser; Tina Walls; Hal and Ann Logan and Jane and Skip Netzorg.

Spring of 2025 is the projected opening date.

Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler, founder of The Equity Project and member of the project’s capital campaign committee, emceed the ground blessing. Guests included:

  • Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera
  • Rev. Timothy Tyler, senior pastor of Shorter Community AME Church
  • Father Tom Rochford from Regis Jesuit High School
  • Rabbi Sara Gilbert from Beth Israel Congregation Denver
  • Pastors Reginold Holmes and Terrance Hughes from New Covenant Christian Church
  • Doug Good Feather, executive director of the Lakota Way Healing Center and descendant of Chief Sitting Bull
  • Brother Jeff Fard of Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center

About the organization: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is a nonprofit organization that was founded with the belief that the language of dance transcends the boundaries of culture, class and age. It is committed to bringing dance into the lives of diverse people.


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