Michelle Heffner Hayes

Primary office:
Robinson Center
Room 251


Michelle Heffner Hayes earned a Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory (now Critical Dance Studies) from the University of California, Riverside in 1998. She is a Professor of Dance at the University of Kansas, where she teaches arts administration, modern dance, improvisation, choreography, dance history and flamenco. Her book Flamenco: Conflicting Histories of the Dance was published by McFarland & Company in 2009. Other publications by Hayes include discussions of contemporary flamenco on film (Dancing Bodies, Living Histories: New Writings on Dance and Culture, 2000), parallels in postmodern dance improvisation and flamenco (Taken By Surprise: An Improvisational Reader, 2003) and understanding flamenco performance (The Living Dance. An Anthology of Essays on Movement & Culture, 2012). Most recently, she contributed to and co-edited Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives, with K. Meira Goldberg and Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum, McFarland & Company, Inc., October 2015. 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 multi-ethnic community. 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.


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. (in press). 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, Palos Nuevos: A Jazz/Flamenco Project, Commissioned by Reach Out Kansas Foundation, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 05/03/2017

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, "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, CĂ­rculo 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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