Image courtesy of Adriana Foreman
A dance artist deeply rooted in the occupied land that is also known as the Rondo community of St. Paul, MN. As a creative, Leslie Parker highlights unique individual contributions and experimentation while digging into collective memory to engage with the world more imaginatively. Her aesthetic encompasses an organic physical/movement hybrid influenced by the Black and African Diaspora: Traditional W. African, Black and African American vernacular/social dance, Improvisation, and Contemporary/Modern technique that is derived from and exchanged across multiple continents.
Leslie Parker designed Leslie Parker Dance Project, LLC , (a group of independent artists working together in performance), to experience dance art more intuitively with witnesses/observers/participants. LPDP is also a catalyst for 'Black Space' when creating, making, performing and directing original dances. As a choreographer, Parker's original dance works include crystal, smoke n' spirit(s)... which listed top 10 Outstanding dance performances of 2019 by Star Tribune, In Search of Colors premiered at Rarig Center for University Dance Theater (U of MN Theater Arts & Dance) 2019, Crossroads/Gateways Remixed presented by Choreographer's Evening (and curated by Pramila Vasudevan) at Walker Art Center 2018, Bone Womyn Traces in Black presented by The Requisite Movers/Twin Cities in partnership with Brownbody at the Southern Theater 2018, and at Hollins University Theater 2017. Her directing credits as a collaborator in community began with co-directing the annual 44th (In The Heart of The Beast) MayDay Tree of Life Ceremony 2018, then at Penumbra's Black Nativity Winter 2021 production. Additional collaboration credits include ,Jimmy & Lorraine: A Musing by Talvin Wilkes at Pillsbury House + Theater, and Collidescope 4.0 adventures in Pre and Post Racial America by Ping Chong and Talvin Wilkes at Rariq Center, University of Minnesota Theater Arts Program.
LPDP's initiative, Call to Remember, a collaborative work emphasizing Black improvisation, latest iteration, Divination Tools: imagine home, is currently in process; to premiere at Walker Art Center May 11-13, 2023.
Recognitions & Acknowledgements
McKnight Choreographer Fellowship (2022)
National Dance Project (2021)
National Performance Network Community Engagement Fund (2021)
National Performance Network Storytelling & Documentation fund (2021)
Jerome Hill Foundation Artist Fellow (2019-2021)
National Performance Network Development Fund (2020)
Outstanding Performance Bessie Award (2017)
Organizing, Collaborating, Performance
As an organizer, Leslie Parker initiated "Moving Dialogue for Non Violence" - a platform that uses dance art as a catalyst for social change and empowerment in partnership with CAMBA at Broadway House Women's Shelter in Brooklyn, NY.
As a dance collaborator, she is a member of the collective, Skeleton Architecture - curated by Eva Yaa Asentwaa for Danspace Project's Platform 2016: skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds; she worked with mentor Laurie Carlos and was presented at Late Nite Series, "non english speaking spoken here" curated by Laurie Carlos and E.G. Bailey at Pillsbury House + Theater. Her works have also been presented by Pangea World Theatre, Pillsbury House + Theater, Center for Performance Research's,' Fall Movement Series', David Parker's, 'Soaking WET '(West End Theater) Series, New Dance Alliance's, 'Performance Mix Festival29', New York Live Arts' Fresh Tracks 2013-14 Artist in Residence, a collaboration with Nia Love’s Let The Eagles Scream at Dance Theater Workshop's Studio Series, HarlemStage's EMoves13, WOW Café Theater, Movement Research at Judson Church, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center's 'PEEKS' and 38th annual Souls of our Feet: People of Color dance festival, The Painted Bride Arts Center, and Women’s Roseville Correctional Facility.
Her professional dance performance archive includes works by Professor Nii Yartey of Ghana University, Dr. Kariamu Welsh of Kariamu & Company: Traditions, The Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble, Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel performance group, Tania Isaac Dance, Errol Grimes, Wendy Jehlen's Anikaya Dance Company, Patricia Brown of Spirit of Ashe Dance ensemble, Morris Johnson Jr., Ron Brown, Uri Sands, Sundance Multiple Performing Arts Company, Marlies Yearby and Rosy Simas Danse.