Parker's earlier beginnings of informal training began with community activists who founded the Lou Wiley High Steppers (Rhythm & Drill team); and founders of the Rainbow Children's Theatre Company in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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.
Video courtesy of Leslie Parker
Space & Processes
I define Black Space as a form of consciousness not limited to or bound by place, time, energy, or geographic location. It is, and can be shared as a way of thinking/being in time, energy, and geographic location; an interwoven construct of lived experience and conduct. Black Space is neither exclusive nor is it inclusive to any one person, people, place, or thing. It exists in the unknown, the subconscious, the mystical/magical, and infinitely here and now with deep cultural roots in Black Pan-African and transatlantic African diasporic cultures and communities.
Leslie Parker Dance Project embraces shifting-narratives and transdisciplinary perspectives to engage performance as part of daily ritual for (extra)ordinary exchanges. Witnesses/observers/participants become an audience from many communities to participate in risk-taking and self-reflection from a Black femme of African descent lens collectively.
The practice centers exploration of 'Black Space' with a focus on intersections of spirituality, gender and racial identities; to acknowledge ancestral knowledge and memory within a contemporary moment. The intention is to go beyond dance technique only and to experiment wildly when cultivating a generative and ecstatic practice. When decolonizing histories, to in-part transform, our personal narratives and lived experiences can co-exist more authentically.
LPDP values taking necessary risks to center collaboration, dialogue and action. By absorbing and engaging with dance art, LPDP cross-pollinates across sectors to further anti-racism for thriving and beyond and to elevate Black, Native, and POC stories for the sake of holistic well-being within our communities.
Thresholds of Change, an installation by visual artist Jordan Hamilton and Leslie Parker