Music and Movement Virtual Conference

Music and Movement Virtual Conference

January 22–24, 2021

Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Deadline for Proposals: November 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Keynote Co-speakers: Dr. Sherrie Tucker, University of Kansas

Dr. Michelle Heffner Haynes 


The Music and Movement Conference seeks to bring scholars, musicians, composers, and performing artists together in conversation regarding the dynamic relationship between movement and music. Each panel will feature both paper presentations and performances, underscoring the ways in which the various subdisciplines of music and the performing arts can inform and reinforce one another. This conference will investigate the role of movement in musical creation, reception, and understanding, addressing topics such as:

  • Negotiations and dialogues between dance and music

  • Gesture-sound mappings and performer-instrument relationships

  • Migration and music

  • Kinesthesia and haptic perception

The virtual conference will take place over Zoom on January 22–24, 2021. Applications are due on November 23, 2020, and results will be sent to all applicants in early December.

Keynote Title: AUMI Bodies: Movement = Music

AUMI stands for "Adaptive Use Musical Instrument," a project initiated and originally led by composer, musician, humanitarian Pauline Oliveros to create more inclusive improvising communities. Improvising with the AUMI requires physical movement. Because the AUMI is designed to adapt to the physical movement of every body, each body in the group develops a different relationship to it. In this collaborative keynote, Sherrie Tucker and Michelle Heffner Hayes reflect on the capacity and expressivity of AUMI bodies, with a focus on the improvisational dance that has emerged from community AUMI musical improvisation rehearsals, jam sessions and performances. Drawing from footage of performances and interviews with participants, the collaborators reflect on the methodology that emerged from work with the AUMI over a period of years. These reflections reveal how the idealized bodies and the conventions associated with formal dance training yield to diverse body typologies and new definitions of virtuosity in movement. The practice of listening and awareness of codes established by AUMI bodies produces a level of attentiveness and care for the well-being of all participants. This abiding sense of connection extends beyond the moment of performance and into our community interactions in day-to-day life, as well as our intentionality and skills at building what Patty Berne and Sins Invalid call “Collective Access.” In writing about how to create collective access through “webs of care,” Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha offers the model of “solidarity, not charity,” building access for one another “out of mutual aid and respect.” When AUMI bodies move and listen out of “mutual aid and respect” for our many different bodies, the action of mixed-ability improvisation in music and dance becomes a form of community-building, culture-shift, and a site of activism for social justice.

Keynote Speaker Bios

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, critical 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 the Introduction and a chapter on contemporary flamenco in 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, for the Improvisation and the Liberal Arts special issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critique en improvisation (2020). 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 one of the original producers of the danceAble festival in Miami, FL, an annual event that brought international participants together in a series of movement workshops and performances of “integrated” or “mixed ability” dance.

Sherrie Tucker, Professor, American Studies, University of Kansas, is the author of Dance Floor Democracy: the Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke, 2014), Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s (Duke, 2000) and co-editor, with Nichole T. Rustin, of Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (Duke, 2008). She is a member of two SSHRC-funded research initiatives: International Institute of Critical Improvisation Studies and Improvisation (IICSI) and Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP), and was a member of the Jazz Study Group at Columbia University and Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor (2004-2005). With Randal M. Jelks, she co-edits the journal American Studies, and, with Deborah Wong and Jeremy Wallach, is a Music/Culture Series editor at Wesleyan University Press. She is currently a member of the editorial collective for a collaborative book project, Improvising across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument.