We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Page-Sanders and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, why did you pursue a creative career?
Because of inspiration! I was inspired by so much that was naturally around me. As a kid, I can remember watching and recording the old movie musicals that would come on tv: The Wiz, Little Shop Of Horrors, The Music Man. And I would just sit there and watch and re-watch, until I could repeat and “perform” the movie, in my family’s living room, for sometimes an “invisible audience”. Music would come on and I had to dance, or I had to sing. I would watch tv shows and, I didn’t know it at the time but I was absorbing everything, from the language to the camera angles. The only way I knew to express myself was creatively, so imagine- the eyes of a little black kid who grew up in the inner city of St. Louis, in the way I looked at and lived my life- it was theatre and dance to me. From going to the corner store on the block, to church on Sunday morning. It was like living in my own piece of theatre.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an artist. I firmly believe in the power of art to change and transform lives because I have seen it happen- not only with me but those around me. I am a dancer- I have been blessed to dance with some of the worlds greatest companies for many years, one of them being the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, which is actually the reason I moved to Denver. This company continues to bring joy into my life, and this company is one that helped to shape my life as a director\choreographer and educator. After dancing with the company for seven years, my husband (Bashir Page-Sanders) and I created: NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre. The purpose of this company is to continue to tell the stories of those who often feel unheard and voiceless. To create work dear to our hearts, that speak on the resilience of the Black Experience but also People Of Color here in America. It was also about using art to create change in our communities and to provide an experience that opens and allows people of color to see themselves as whole. Our mission is to provide the outlet for discussion and community engagement and enrichment through art. Not only am I an artistic director, but I am also a dance educator. I am on faculty at Denver School For The Arts & Park Hill Dance Academy- such an ever changing community, but I pray to always offer the students that I work with the opportunity to receive everything that was given to me. I try to instill in my students the ideas of compassion, hard work, perseverance, love (for what you do and who you are), dedication- even if they do not go into the arts as a career, there are huge life lessons to be learned from that.
Not only do I work within the concert dance community but I also work within the theatre community as a choreographer and director for theatre companies throughout not just Colorado but the nation (which has been a huge blessing). So I guess you would say, I am your all around arts enthusiast. It is not EASY, there are good days and bad days. I have been blessed to receive awards- but I don’t do it because of that. I do it because I believe that it’s not about me, it is about the next generation. So many people gave and enriched my life, so I don’t have a choice. I HAVE TO GIVE BACK EVERYTHING I HAVE! I MUST! On the days that aren’t the best, I have a beautiful support system that holds me up and holds me together. I also use my art. I use art as a cathartic release. I use the tools. It’s freeing. It gives me life. I do the work that I do because I believe in the power of change. I believe that art is a weapon for good. I believe in the power of telling the story of the black experience (ALL OF OUR EXPERIENCE). I believe in continuing and carrying the torch and carrying the legacy of my ancestors- I believe in passing all of the knowledge that I have to the next generation of artists. I believe that life isn’t just for you, but it is for EVERYONE CONNECTED to you.
So wherever I go, I take EVERYONE with me and I BRING everyone. I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. I am grateful and I have been so blessed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
AHHHHHH! Okay, this is a hard one but let’s try to figure this out.
Waking up: a little sunrise yoga\pilates, because my apartment gets great sunlight!
Friends, let’s grab coffee as we wait for our table for brunch- coffee from: Coffee At The Points (in Five Points, on Welton Street) *my fave coffee shop
Brunch: at one of my favorite brunch spots called: Mimosas (it’s in Five Points, On Welton Street) *the Welton Street Stack literally my favorite pancakes *my fave brunch spot
we would clearly need to go on a hike after brunch to work it off (Manitou Incline or head up to Red Rocks) or a really cute walk in City Park- cause it is a gorgeous day outside.
Take a dance class at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (later that afternoon: Park Ave West & Washington)
Afterwards, maybe stop over at Akente Express (cause they needed to grab some shea butter, black soap or oils)
We would definitely stop by the Terminal Bar at Union Station to grab a drink, because we would be going to see a NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre performance that evening…
Maybe after the show we grab food and drinks from Las Delicias or Steuben’s (in Uptown)
Throughout the day we would definitely take a walk along the river downtown, stop to see the statues at DCPA, enjoy the outdoors- because Denver is gorgeous and so fun in the spring and summer!
Maybe if one of the festivals was happening: Jazz at City Park, Black Arts Festival, we would definitely go stop by.
We would definitely end the night by checking out one of the many live music venues- listening to Mary Louise Lee Band, SUCH, or the Rajdulari Experience- or many many many of the amazing musical artists that live in Denver…
Full day! Full weekend…. filled with JOY! FRIENDSHIP! NATURE! LOVE!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would dedicate this to all of the black boys with dreams- KEEP DREAMING! KEEP FINDING JOY THROUGH IT ALL!
I also have to acknowledge that I would not be here without the community that has upheld me- my amazing husband (who is also a brilliant artist), my family, my mentors, my friends and my ancestors- they lead and guide me, they keep me grounded, they keep me encouraged and corrected. Because of the blood of my ancestors, I am able to dream and fly high.