Leslie Parker

  A St. Paul, MN native, is a contemporary dance artist with home art bases in Brooklyn, NY and in Twin Cities, MN.  As a dance artist/maker, improviser, performer and educator with an archive of embodied memories from 34 years of study, research, teaching and performing dances.  As a result,  Parker's  African Diaspora aesthetic includes but is not limited to an organic physical fusion of  influences from street styles, 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 perspective of socially engaged art and inspired a study of dance forms derived from Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, and Ivory Coast - an extensive background in contemporary and sacred practices of the African Diaspora that generated approximately 15 years of professional dance experience. 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 Dance Company in Frankfurt, Germany.

   

  In additon to an apprenticeship with Urban Bush Women,  Parker's credits include her performing 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,  Ron Brown, Uri Sands, Sundance Multiple Performing Arts Company and Marlies Yearby.

 

  She is a member of the Skeleton Architecture collective and a 2017 Bessie award winner for Outstanding Performer in Danspace Project's Platform 2016: Lost and Found's "skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds", curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. 

 

  Most recently, Parker co-directed the annual 44th (In The Heart of The Beast) MayDay Tree of Life Ceremony 2018.  Her original contemporary work was presented as part of The Requisite Movers/Twin Cities in partnership with Brownbody at the Southern Theatre.  Additional presentation credits include, 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 (PA), and Women’s Roseville Correctional Facility (MN).  

  Currently, she is faculty at University of Minnesota Theatre

Arts and Dance and visiting guest artist at alma mater - Hollins University Dance program. Additional teaching credits include, master class for Temple University as a visiting guest artist for Dr. Kariamu Welsh; and has led workshops, classes and residencies for various organizations including,  Pangea World Theatre, Mark Morris Dance Center, TU 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.  She is a teaching artist for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute Brookyn Art's Council and Bailey's Cafe in Brooklyn, NY. 
 

   She is creator of the initiative,  "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.