Michelle Hayes

Michelle Hayes
  • Professor

Contact Info

Robinson Health and Physical Education Center, room #153


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 and Chair in the Department 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.


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.


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.

Selected Publications

Hayes, Michelle H, PhD, and Sherrie Tucker PhD. 2020. “Grafting and Other Ramifications: Improvisation in the Liberal Arts and Sciences<br>.” Journal Articles. Edited by Jason Robinson, Sandy Mathern, and Mark Lomanno PhD. Improvisation and the Liberal Arts Special Issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études Critique En Improvisation. , May. http://www.criticalimprov.com/public/csi/index.html.

Hayes, Michelle H, PhD. 2019. ““Lo Que Queda/That Which Remains: Dancing Bodies, Historical Erasure and Cultural Transmission".” Book Chapters. In The Body, The Dance, the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History, edited by Brynn W. Shiovitz PhD. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

Hayes, Michelle H., and K. Meira Goldberg Ph.D. 2016. “Oral History Project, Belen Maya, Duke University Dance Program, Duke Universities Library.” Other.

Hayes, M. H. 2015. “Choreographing Contemporaneity: Cultural Legacy and Experimental Imperative.” Book Chapters. In Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives.

Hayes, Michelle H. 2015. Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. Books. Edited by Ninotchka Bennahum, K. Meira Goldberg, and Michelle Heffner Hayes. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Goldberg, K. Meira, Ed.D., Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum Ph.D., and Michelle Heffner Hayes. 2015. “Introduction.” Book Chapters. In Flamenco on the Global Stage: Critical, Historical and Theoretical Perspectives.

Hayes, Michelle. 2014. “Nuevo Flamenco: The Galvan Legacy.” Web Publishing (article, blog, etc.). Philadelphia: Pew Charitable Trust. http://www.pasionyarteflamenco.org/.

Hayes, Michelle Heffner. 2013. “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Belen Maya and the New Vanguard.” Other. 100 Years of Flamenco in New York. New York: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Hayes, Michelle Heffner. 2012. “Flamenco: Music, Movement and Meaning.” Book Chapters. In The Living Dance. An Anthology of Essays on Movement & Culture, edited by Judith Bennahum and Ninotchka Bennahum. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Selected Presentations

Hayes, M. (9/19/2017). "Queering Flamenco: OUT in the Tropics and Flamenco Diverso". Oral History Seminar. Hall Center for the Humanities

Hayes, M. (4/6/2017 - 4/7/2017). “Lo que queda/That which remains…”. “Spaniards, Indians, Africans, and Gypsies: Transatlantic Malagueñas and Zapateados,” Center for Iberian and Latin American Music, and The Foundation for Iberian Music at the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation at the CUNY Graduate Center. University of California, Riverside, CA. http://brookcenter.gc.cuny.edu/2017-spaniards-indians-africans-and-gyps…

Hayes, M. H., Goldberg, K. M., & Bennahum, N. D. (11/5/2016). "Queering Flamenco: Out in the Tropics 2016," a paper on the panel "Evidence embodied: flamenco’s transnational articulations of a tradition in tension.". Congress on Research in Dance+Society of Dance History Scholars. Claremont College, Pomona, California. http://www.cordance.org/event-1972559

Hayes, M. (9/16/2016). Flamenco: Beyond the Body of the Sensuous. Fridays at Noon. Harkness Dance Center, 92nd Street Y, New York. http://www.92y.org/Event/FAN-Flamenco

Hayes, M. H. (3/10/2014). Carlos Saura and the 'Flamenco Film Trilogy'. Pre-screening lecture prior to film Blood Wedding, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H. (3/15/2014). Contemporary Flamenco, Cultural Legacy and Experimental Imperative. Lecture, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H., Bennahum, N., Goldberg, K. M., & Brooks, L. M. (3/9/2014). Flamenco and its Influence on Visual Arts and Popular Culture. Curated panel of flamenco scholars, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H. (3/8/2014). Flamenco for Everyone. Lecture-demonstration, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H. (3/11/2014). Gender, Tradition and Technique in Flamenco. Lecture, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H. (11/16/2013). Metiendo la pata: Contemporary Flamenco as Social Protest. Paper presentation at the annual Congress on Research in Dance/Society of Dance History Scholars, "De-Centering Dance Studies," University of California-Riverside. Riverside, CA

Haaheim, K., Hayes, M. H., Hodges-Persley, N., & Tucker, S. (9/14/2013). Laptop Music and Embodiment: Materializing the Ephemeral. Panel presentation at "Return to the Material" conference, Institute for Research in the Digital Humanities, University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS

Hayes, M. H. (11/8/2012 - 11/11/2012). Soy Flamenco: Transnational Identities and Digital Cultures. Paper presentation in the panel "Diasporic Flamencas: Centuries of Cross-Cultural Influence," 2012 Annual Conference, "Re-generations: Cultural Legacies in Contemporary Contexts," Congress on Research in Dance. Albuquerque, NM

Hayes, M. H. (3/24/2012). State of Flamenco. Presentation, Philadelphia Flamenco Festival Symposium, Pasión y Arte Flamenco, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust. Philadelphia, PA

Hayes, M. H. (2/4/2012). Flamenco Alive! New Research on the Vital Art of Flamenco. (Via Skype) panelist with paper presentation, Duke University Dance Program. Durham, NC

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Improvising Inclusive Communities with the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. National Endowment for the Arts. $35000.00. Submitted 11/17/2016 (1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017). Federal. Status: Proposal Submitted

Palos Nuevos: Jazz/Flamenco Project. Reach Out Kansas, Inc.. $3000.00 (3000). Submitted 8/5/2016 (8/11/2016 - 5/15/2017). Foundation. Status: Funded. ROKI hereby commissions CHOREOGRAPHER to choreograph a Spanish dance inspired work as a part of the following “Project,” to wit: Large Jazz Ensembles, Dance(s), Solo Trumpet, and Classical Guitar (“WORK”). CHOREOGRAPHER will choreograph the WORK, and also dance the WORK at the first performance of the WORK. The first performance of the WORK shall take place at the Lied Center - Lawrence, Kansas on May 3, 2017. The time and location of the first performance shall be subject to the prior approval of ROKI.

Mid-Career Artist Fellowship in Choreography. Kansas Arts Commission, Topeka, KS. $2500.00. (3/31/2009). State of Kansas. Status: Funded