Cleo Parker Robinson is more than a world renown performing company and dance school–it is a happy haven of creative spirits–an inviting place that knows no strangers.
Zumba at Cleo’s is a Party!
It is a cold Saturday morning as I hurry down the back steps to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. I’m late for class as usual. That’s not a problem. All are welcome at Cleo’s. Passing by the front desk I get a friendly hello.
The Zumba class fills a huge steamy room packed with a beautiful array of faces from all over Denver. At Cleo’s everyone feels free to express themselves. The room is electrifying! The music is pumping!
In front of the room is our teacher for the morning, Malik Robinson, Cleo Parker Robinson’s son and Executive Director of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Organization (CPRD). He is filling in for his wife Olga Gonzales, who usually teaches Saturday morning. Olga is a Zumba powerhouse with hard shoes to fill. Luckily, dance is in Malik’s blood. The whole room is pounding as Malik transitions the class from merengue, to hip hop and smoothly into samba.
It’s a party! Malik tells me after class, “anyone can do this and have fun. I can’t even dance.” Of course he CAN dance!
Children peer in the doorway when they are getting ready for ballet and tap classes across the hall. They seem impressed and a bit amused. Everyone is dancing their hearts out. There are men and women of all ages–some without missing a beat and some stumbling over their toes (that would be me).
Its a new week. I head down the stairs again. Olga is back in front of the class leading her loyal followers in high impact moves and rhythmic routines. Everyone’s feet are jumping and their hands waving side to side. She is the master of making fitness fun!
On the way out of class, I see the vibrant Cleo Parker Robinson herself coming in the building. She is with her granddaughters (Olga and Malik’s daughters), bringing them to class. Cleo stops to say hi. “Hi Sugar,” she says, “I’m soooo glad you are doing Zumba! My love to your family!” If there is one word that describes CPRD its “family!” You need only go once or twice and you will feel it.
The Cleo family cares for one another. They care if you succeed. They care if you reach your goals. That is why the place is bustling. If you go–you will dance as if no one’s looking–and go you should! Its like the best night out you’ve ever had, but its only 8:30 in the morning.
Are You Ready to Dance?
For more information and other classes visit www.cleoparkerdance.org.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is located in a historic building–the former Shorter A.M.E church/theater in the Five Points neighborhood at 119 Park Avenue West Denver, CO 80205. You can find it at the corner of 20th and Park Avenue West.
Zumba is offered Saturday mornings at 8:30 and Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6pm.