Leslie Parker

Parker is a St. Paul, MN Rondo, 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, her work is awarded by National Dance Project (2021), National Performance Network Creation Fund (2020), National Performance Network Development fund (2021), National Performance Network community engagement fund (2021), and National Performance Network Storytelling & Documentation fund (2021). She is an Outstanding Performance Bessie Award recipient and an inaugural Jerome Hill Foundation Artist Fellow (2019-2021). Growing up in the Rondo community rooted her in socially engaged art and motivated her research. She holds a BFA in Choreography and Moderndance technique from Esther Boyer College of Music & Dance (TempleUniversity) 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.

Parker’s original works have been presented by New York Live Arts, Harlem Stages EMoves 13, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, Tribeca Performing Art Center, University of Minnesota Dance, Southern Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Pangea World Theater, Walker Art Center, and PaintedBride Arts Center. Parker co-directed the annual 44th (In The Heart of TheBeast) May Day Tree of Life Ceremony 2018.  She collaborated as choreographer for Jimmy & Lorraine: A Musing by Talvin Wilkes and Collidescope 4.0 adventures in Pre and Post Racial America by Ping Chong and Talvin Wilkes; and Penumbra Theatre’s 45th production of Black Nativity.

Visiting Artist | February 6 – 10, 2023 // March 6 – 19, 2023

Divination Tools: imagine home

Artistic Director, dance artist and choreographer Leslie Parker was born on occupied land and is deeply rooted in the neighborhood that is also named the Rondo community of St Paul, MN. She came to MANCC from February 7 to 10 to conduct two workshops and make connections with community activists and healers; these February activities will be an instructive offering as they also inform her later residency from March 6 to 19.

While Parker was here in February, she offered FSU’s School of Dance a Black Dance Improvisation (BDI) workshop, followed by a second workshop primarily focusing on Black, Brown, Native, Indigenous and People of Color that was open to all. Both workshops were to give the participating students some insight into her movement process and to aid in Parker’s further development of her piece Call to Remember, now entitled Divination Tools: imagine home.
Parker will return in March with her collaborative team of Black musicians, visual artists and femme dance artists to continue her exploration of multiple perspectives on improvisation through a Black femme lens, as she furthers the development of her piece Divination Tools: imagine home. With her collaborative collective, she will draw from Blackness in music, dance, and storytelling in real time, as a multi-year, multi-city project. 
Divination Tools: imagine home will premiere at Walker Arts Center May 11- 13, 2023.


  • Leslie Parker leads School of Dance students in a Black Dance Improvisation Workshop
  • FSU dance students engage in Black Dance Improvisation Workshop
  • Parker leads Black Dance Improvisation Workshop
  • Black Dance Improvisation Workshop
  • FSU School of Dance student Sky Barnes in Black Dance Improvisation Workshop
  • FSU Faculty Farai Malianga and Leslie Parker
Collaborators in Residence: Jessika Akpaka, Samantha Mama Diarra Speis [Dancers], Dameun Strange, Michael Wimberly, Nioka Workman [Musicians/Sound Designers], Sharon Bridgforth [Dramaturg], Naimah Petigny [Writer]

World Premiere

Beth Gill

Nail Biter
March 31 - April 2
Fisher Center at Bard


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