a Rondo, St. Paul, MN native is a dance artist with home art bases in Brooklyn, NY and in Twin Cities, MN. As a dance artist/maker, improviser, performer, director, collaborator, and educator, she is a passionate human being with an embodied archive of memories from extensive study, research, teaching and performing of original dance works. Her aesthetic is an organic physical hybrid of improvisation, hip hop/street, Funk, Blues, Jazz, W. African and Contemporary/Modern dance.
Parker's earlier beginnings of informal training began with the Lou Wiley High Steppers (Rhythm & Drill team) and Rainbow Children's Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN. Growing up in the Rondo community rooted her in socially engaged art and motivated her research of dance forms of the
Sene-Gambian region, Guinea, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire. She holds a BFA in Choreography and Modern dance technique from Esther Boyer College of Music & Dance (Temple University) and a MFA in dance from Hollins University in partnership with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and The Dresden Frankfurt Company in Frankfurt, Germany. As time moves onward, her work is encompassing of contemporary and sacred practices of the African Diaspora.
Leslie Parker Dance Project, LLC (a foundation/platform to create, make and direct dances) is artist-in-residence at Pillsbury House Theater 2019-2021. For more information contact, Noel Raymond https://pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org/noel-raymond-coartistic-managing-director/.
As an inaugural Jerome Hill Foundation Artist Fellow 2019-2021, she initiated the collaborative dance work, Call to Remember; Parker's original work crystal, smoke n' spirit(s)...is listed as top 10 Outstanding dance performances of 2019 by Star Tribune; In Search of Colors premiered at Rariq Center for University of Minnesota Theater Arts Dance 2019; Crossroads/Gateways Remixed presented by Choreographer's Evening (curated by Pramila Vasudevan) at Walker Art Center 2018; Bone Womyn Traces in Black presented as part of The Requisite Movers/Twin Cities in partnership with Brownbody at the Southern Theatre 2018, and Hollins University Theater 2017. Parker was also co-director of the annual 44th (In The Heart of The Beast) MayDay Tree of Life Ceremony 2018. As a choreographer, Parker collaborated on highly notable/reputable works, Jimmy & Lorraine: A Musing by Talvin Wilkes and directed by Brian Jennings 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 & Dance 2019.
As a member of the Skeleton Architecture collective, Parker received a Bessie award for Outstanding Performer in Danspace Project's Platform 2016: Lost and Found.
Her performance background 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, Spirit of Ase Dance ensemble, Morris Johnson Jr., Ron Brown, Uri Sands, Sundance Multiple Performing Arts Company, Marlies Yearby and Rosy Simas Danse.
More of Parker's works were performed and presented by
Center for Performance Research's,"Fall Movement Series", Late Nite Series, "non english speaking spoken here" created by Laurie Carlos, 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.
As an educator, she has led classes and workshops in improvisation, African Diasporan, and Contemporary technique at Hollins University MFA Dance program, Alabama Ballet, TU Dance Center, University of Michigan, Macalester College and Sarah Lawrence College. Additional teaching credits include Temple University as a visiting guest artist for Dr. Kariamu Welsh, Pangea World Theatre, Mark Morris Dance Center, Dance New Amsterdam, Gibney Dance Center, Zenon Dance Company and School, Carleton College, NY public Schools, St. Paul public schools, and was a leading collaborator in designing the dance program for Penumbra Theatre's Summer Institute Artist Activist program 2006-2010. She is a teaching artist for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Brooklyn Art's Council and Bailey's Cafe in Brooklyn, NY. She was full-time faculty as lecturer in dance at University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance program 2018 -2020.
Parker organized, created and initiated the program, "Moving Dialogue for Non Violence"- a platform that uses dance practice as a catalyst for social change in partnership with CAMBA at Broadway House Women Shelter in Brooklyn, NY.