Michelle Heffner Hayes

Primary office:
Robinson Center
Room 253


Michelle Heffner Hayes holds a PhD in Critical Dance Studies from UC-Riverside. She is a professor of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas, where she teaches modern dance, improvisation, choreography, dance studies, arts administration, and flamenco. An artist-scholar, Hayes performed as a flamenco choreographer and soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in Palos Nuevos: The Jazz Flamenco Project, 2018. Her book Flamenco: Conflicting Histories of the Dance (2009) uses feminist and postcolonial theory to analyze constructions of gender, race and sexuality in representations of flamenco. Other publications include Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives (2015), co-edited with K. Meira Goldberg and Ninotchka Bennahum; “Lo que queda/That which remains: Dancing Bodies, Historical Erasure and Cultural Transmission,” in The Body, The Dance, the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History (2019), edited by Brynn Shiovitz; and “Grafting and Other Ramifications: Improvisation in the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” co-authored with Sherrie Tucker, in Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critique en improvisation, in press (2019).

Hayes also served as the Executive Director of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade College from 1999-2006, where she curated and managed a multidisciplinary performance and commissioning series devoted to contemporary and culturally specific work that is reflective of Miami's multiethnic community. She was one of the original producers of the danceAble festival in Miami, FL, an annual event that brough international participants together in a series of movement workshops and performances of “integrated” or “mixed ability” dance. She was the Artistic Director of the Colorado Dance Festival from 1997-1999, where she curated a performance and education series that concentrated on the dances of the African Diaspora. In over 15 years of experience as a performing arts administrator, she has been involved in creating new models for national arts education and audience development, as well as infrastructure development for international cultural exchange.

View CV


Teaching is the place where I get to share my passion for dance and culture, and learn through dialogue with students. I like to think about the lessons of all my mentors as heirlooms that have been entrusted to me. At the same time, I learn from my students every day. Their feedback on the integration of my research and practice is vital.

Teaching Interests

  • Dance
  • Flamenco
  • Cultural Studies
  • Feminist Studies
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Pedagogy
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Improvisation
  • Embodiment


My research takes the form of traditional scholarship, like books and articles that deal with dance as a form of cultural studies; but also choreography, the composition of dances, to explore ideas. For me, writing and choreography are inter-related fields. In both modes, I seek intelligibility. Movement is the lens through which I see the world. I write about flamenco and improvisation, primarily, but I'm interested in bodies and how they create and are created by issues of gender, race, sexuality, class and power.

Selected Publications

Hayes, M. H. (2019). Lo Que Queda/That Which Remains. In B. W. Shiovitz (Ed.), Writing the Body: Staging the Other.

Hayes, M. H., & Goldberg, K. M. (2016). Duke University Dance Program Legacy Oral History Project, Duke Universities Library. Oral History Project, Belen Maya, Duke University Dance Program, Duke Universities Library.

Hayes, M. H. (2015). Choreographing Contemporaneity: Cultural Legacy and Experimental Imperative. In . (Ed.), Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives.

Hayes, M. H. (2015). Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives (N. Bennahum, K. Meira Goldberg, & M. Heffner Hayes, Eds.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Goldberg, K. M., Bennahum, N. D., & Hayes, M. H. (2015). Introduction, Flamenco on the Global Stage: Critical, Historical and Theoretical Perspectives.

Hayes, M. (2014). Nuevo Flamenco: The Galvan Legacy [spanish title]. Philadelphia: Pew Charitable Trust. http://www.pasionyarteflamenco.org/

Hayes, M. H. (2013). Looking Back, Looking Forward: Belen Maya and the New Vanguard. 100 Years of Flamenco in New York. New York: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Hayes, M. H. (2012). Flamenco: Music, Movement and Meaning. In J. Bennahum & N. Bennahum (Eds.), The Living Dance. An Anthology of Essays on Movement & Culture. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Selected Work

Choreographer, Vini Pi Pre/Come Closer, Commission for “The Ties that Bind: Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective,” Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS, October 18, 2018; University Dance Company Fall Concert, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, November 15-16, 2018.

Choreographer, Spring Awakening, University Theatre, University of Kansas, Crafton-Preyer Theatre, April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 2018.

Performer, Improvising Inclusive Communities, Jesse Stewart and the AUMI Workshop Ensemble, National Endowment for the Arts and The Commons at KU, with support from community partners Independence, Inc. and the Lawrence Public Library Sound + Vision Studio, the School of Music and Departments of American Studies, Dance, and Theater., The Commons, Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence, 08/07/2017 - 08/12/2017

Choreographer and performer, Palos Nuevos: A Jazz/Flamenco Project, solo choreography and performance commissioned by the Reach Out Kansas Foundation, with composer Dan Gailey and trumpet soloist Steve Leisring, Kennedy Center, April 29, 2018; Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, May 3, 2017.

Choreographer, "Lo que queda/That which remains..", Raul Rodriguez, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 11/17/2016 - 11/18/2016

Choreographer, "A Doll's House", Henrik Ibsen, Department of Theatre, School of the Arts, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Kansas, Stage Too! Crafton-Preyer Theatre, Lawrence, KS, November 14, 15*, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 2015, 11/14/2015 - 11/22/2015

Choreographer, Círculo de Mujeres (Circle of Women), Gema Corredera and Pavel Urkiza, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS, 04/23/2015 - 04/24/2015

Performer, Un-Rolling the Boulder: Improvising New Communities, Collaboration, Choreographer, The Commons, Lawrence, KS, 10/30/2013

Choreographer, Anthem, Salina Community Theatre, Salina, KS, 04/27/2013

Choreographer, Cradling Persephone, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 04/28/2011 - 04/29/2011

Soloist, La Vida, Melinda Hedgecorth, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 11/18/2010 - 11/19/2010

Collide, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 04/22/2010 - 04/23/2010

Exilio (Exile), Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 11/19/2009 - 11/20/2009

Selected Grants

Hayes, Michelle, (Co-Principal), Tucker, Sherrie, (Principal), Dvorak, Abbey, (Co-Principal), Haaheim, Bryan, (Co-Principal), Hodges, Nicole, (Co-Principal), Improvising Inclusive Communities with the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument, National Endowment for the Arts, $35,000, Submitted 11/17/2016 (01/01/2017 - 12/31/2017) . Federal. Status: Proposal Submitted.

Hayes, Michelle H, (Collaborator), Palos Nuevos: Jazz/Flamenco Project, Reach Out Kansas, Inc., $3,000 ({ }), Submitted 08/05/2016 (08/11/2016 - 05/15/2017) . Foundation. Status: Funded.

Hayes, Michelle Heffner, Mid-Career Artist Fellowship in Choreography, Kansas Arts Commission, Topeka, KS, $2,500, - 03/31/2009) . State of Kansas. Status: Funded.

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