Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Partners with Manual High School To Offer Professional Dance Instruction to Students

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"Cultures of Dance" classes teach dance technique, theory, history, culture, and science.

"These classes are a wonderful addition to Manual’s arts program and give students the very special opportunity of learning from practicing professionals," said Principal Nick Dawkins.

Friends of Manual, the non-profit group that supports for Manual High School, today announced a partnership between Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD), an international, cross-cultural dance-arts and education institution, and Manual High School to offer professional dance instruction to Manual High School students.

“Cultures of Dance” classes, held three times a week, are taught by members of CPRD’s dance ensemble. In addition to learning dance techniques, students receive instruction in a range of dance-related topics, including dance theory, history, culture, and science. Students will have opportunities to perform at upcoming Manual High School community events and to assist in CPRD dance productions.

Priya and Matthew Burkett and the Burkett Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to contributing the quality of life in Denver and surrounding communities, were instrumental in brokering the partnership.

“The arts are an important component of education and academic performance,” said Nick Dawkins, principal of Manual High School. “These classes are a wonderful addition to Manual’s arts program and give students the very special opportunity of learning from practicing professionals.” Manual High School also has for-credit classes in art history, drawing and painting, drama and theater, and choir. The school jumped two performance levels on the School Performance Framework, Denver Public Schools’ rating system, for the 2015-2016 school year – the largest gain of any DPS traditional high school.

“Cleo Parker Robinson Dance has deep roots in the Five Points community,” said Malik Robinson, CPRD executive director. “We are very excited to introduce Manual students to the magic of dance. Our lesson plans and workshop techniques are designed not only to teach dance, but also to engage and inspire students and create a life-long appreciation of art.”

For more information about Manual High School’s curriculum, including its unique Med School at Manual and advanced placement courses, visit

About Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD): Inspiring Movement
Founded in 1970 and headquartered in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Denver in the historic Shorter AME Church, CPRD is an inclusive, international, cross-cultural dance-arts and education institution rooted in African-American traditions, dedicated to excellence in instruction, performance, and community programming for inter-generational students, artists, and audiences.

CPRD employs both best practices in arts education as well as dance instruction in a variety of genres to strengthen academic achievement. The CPRD Education Team works with more than 30 Front Range schools, reaches approximately 12,000 students each year, and provides more than 250 workshops and classes.

For more information, please visit

About Manual High School

Located in the heart of Denver’s Whittier neighborhood, Manual High School has a team of highly trained teachers committed to challenging, nurturing, and supporting all students. The school’s achievement-focused culture cultivates goal setting, resiliency, and critical thinking.

Manual High School was one of the first schools in Denver to educate women and African Americans. Noteworthy graduates include Mayor Michael Hancock, Mayor Wellington Webb, and activist and poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales.

Today, Manual is at the forefront of career and technical education with the launch of Med School at Manual, one of the district’s first biomedical pathways for high school students. As one of the first schools in the district to be granted Innovation status, Manual’s classrooms are equipped with modern tools and technology. Just as importantly, each Manual student has the use of a dedicated tablet during the school day to ensure the development of the technology skills needed for today’s workplace.

To find out more about enrolling at Manual High School, visit or

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Linda Galloway
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