DENVER (CBS4) – An iconic Denver holiday show returns in-person and to its original home in Five Points this holiday season. “Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum” will be performed at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre Dec. 11-19.
“The story of Granny is really very simple,” explained Cleo Parker Robinson, creator, choreographer and dancer. “It’s really about how Granny was a dancer and how she danced around the world. All the different cultures she experienced and all of the stories she heard. She’s starting to forget her journey, even a little bit about how she sees herself in life.”
Granny is telling her story to the grandchildren but she doesn’t always remember the details. That’s where three angels help.
The performance draws audiences back year after year because it changes each year, incorporating traditions from locations the company has visited over the course of the year. Other times, experiences of the dancers and other artists who are involved make their way on stage.
The memories center around culture and traditions related to the winter solstice including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The company has celebrated the Chinese New Year for a number of years and recently added Japanese drummers to bring in another ritual.
For Parker Robinson, telling the story each year means bringing together the company to impact the community.
“We gather the cast, we talk about the different holidays. It not only tells a story on stage but it’s functional for community building and for us to keep building this village. It’s a village, you know and we’re happy to do it.”
Sometimes the ideas for change even come from the audience as they share their traditions.
The group does do a welcoming dance from West Africa that is celebrated all year. “We bring that in that in there to tie in just that wonderful sense of celebration.”
Parker Robinson said “Granny” is really all about the journey and the experience.
“Giving a real sense of value to our experiences. That we value those and we’re sharing them. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, we have our stories and that costs nothing. To just stop and share your stories costs nothing.”
“What happens during the holidays is the sharing and that’s what ‘Granny’s’ about.”
Find tickets for the performances here. COVID protocols are in place including vaccination requirements and masks.