In 1991, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) presented its inaugural production of Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum. What began as a story recounting global holiday traditions through dance is now — for the first time — being shared with audiences around the world.
Conceived of by Cleo Parker Robinson and the late Opalonga Pugh, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum weaves together Granny’s memories of the stories and dances she’s experienced in her lifetime: winter festivals honoring the birth of Christ, the West African harvest, Gospel Christmas, Christmas Rap, the Native American Winter Solstice, Feliz Navidad-Lad Posadas and more. Now, Granny seeks to share these rich cultural traditions with her grandchildren through dance, live music and storytelling.
“Our virtual celebration allows us to share cultures anywhere on earth,” said CPRD Artistic Director, dancer and choreographer Parker Robinson. “We celebrate and explore the rich traditions of our global family while recognizing our shared humanity. Granny is a Colorado holiday tradition that we are happy to offer to the entire world.”
The production features some of Denver’s most renowned artists including Cleo Parker Robinson (Shakti: Granny’s Guardian Angel, Margarita Taylor (Granny), Chloé-Grant Abel (Cantadora: The Dreamweaver), Cedric Dewayne Hall (Griot: The Storyteller), Samiyah Lynnice (Nakia the Granddaughter) and John e. Roberts (TiSean the Grandson).
In a 2020 recording session, Musical Director and Composer Mark Caldwell led the seven-member “Granny Band” featuring Abdoul Karim Doumbia, Chris Harris, Robert Johnson, Fred “Baba Ilu Ile” Jordan, John Olsson, and Evan Ballinger with vocalists Jacquie Van Horne and Robert Johnson.
Audiences near and far can stream the production now through January 2. Three ticket package options are available online ranging from $30 to $80.
- Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents
- Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum
- Now through January 2, 2021
- Tickets start at $30 and are available at cleoparkerdance.org