During the 2017 Sav annah Black Heritage Festival, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRDE) of Denver, Colo., will return as the featured dance group on February 3, 7:30 p.m. at the Johnny Mercer Theater, 301 Oglethorpe Ave. Admission to the CPRDE performance is free, and tickets will not be distributed this year. Seating is open and will be on a firstcome, first-seated basis. Unclaimed VIP seats will be released 10 minutes prior to showtime.
CPRDE is internationally esteemed as one of America’s foremost modern dance companies. Under the direction of Cleo Parker Robinson, the ensemble performs a dynamic body of works inspired by the African American experience and is rooted in ethnic and modern dance traditions. Seen by an estimated 2 million fans throughout the US and more than 20 countries on five continents, CPRDE continues to be a leader in dance innovation and the promotion of American dance heritage.
The presentation of the 2017 Savannah Black Heritage Festival honorees will be prior to the performance. This year’s honorees are Priscilla Thomas, Ph.D., Van Johnson, Chef Joe Randall and Ja Jahannes, Ph.D. (posthumous).
Thomas is a retired school principal after two decades. As a Chatham County commissioner, she initiated the Chatham County Youth Commission and Summer Bonanza programs for young people. Johnson is a city council member and county employee who oversees the Chatham County Youth Commission. Randall is a retired chef and cooking teacher. He has recently been named to the African American Chefs Hall of Fame to recognize the history and impact of African-American chefs on Southern and American cuisine. Jahannes was a long-time professor at SSU as well as an active contributor to the local arts and culture community as a playwright, director, producer and author.
CPRDE will host a community dance workshop and master class on February 1. The class has limited enrollment. Call 912-358-4309 to reserve a space. Robinson will also take part in a public conversation on February 2, 6:30 p.m., at First Congregational Church, 421 Habersham Street. Presentation of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The show is sponsored by Gulfstream, Georgia Power and Carver State Bank. “Focused on the Future; Acknowledging Echoes from the Past” is the central theme of the 2017 Savannah Black Heritage Festival scheduled for February 1 – 26, 2017. The 2017 festival will be the 18th one produced by Savannah State University and the 28th sponsored by the City of Savannah. All festival events and activities are free of admission and open to the public.
For more information, call (912) 358-4309, or visit www.savannahblackheritagefestival.com for updates.