Lea Porter (right) shows dance steps to Margaret Boadi before performing during a Kwanzaa celebration at the Cleo Parker Robinson dance studio in 2015. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
Denver’s own Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is one of five dance companies nationwide receiving a $100,000 grant from the International Association of Blacks in Dance.
“These grants will enable five leading dance companies, that are all deeply vested in African-American neighborhoods across the United States …, to pursue greater innovation and take new risks, both organizationally and artistically,” IABD president Denise Saunders Thompson said in a statement.
The other companies receiving grants are in Dallas; Dayton, Ohio; Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
The money comes from a program the association recently started, Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance. It’s funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The grant is a big deal for the non-profit Denver dance company.
“The CPRD annual budget is $1.5 million,” executive director Malik Robinson said. “This Mellon Foundation grant is one of the largest single-year grants CPRD has received.”
The company, which has been in the Denver community since 1970, plans to expand a technical theater program called STREAM, which combines science, robotics and theater.
“In addition, funding will be used to make investments into our theater, including hiring and training front of house staff, such as ushers and box office personnel,” Robinson said. “Finally, money will be set aside as part of a legacy fund.”