Jennifer Kayle

Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate and BA Advisor

Jennifer Kayle is Professor and Co-Director of the MFA Program at University of Iowa holding a BA from Middlebury College, MFA from Smith College. Her choreography is deeply informed by improvisational research, and by collaborative process as a form of collective knowledge production. Kayle’s work has been chosen for festivals, for Regional & National GALA concerts, and for grants including an NEA/CBE project to investigate improvisational methods for choreography. Kayle’s dancing has been referred to as having “muscular presence” (Dance Source Houston), while her work has been reviewed as “provocative, tight, with wit and stage craft…serious chops” (Vox Fringe, MN), “distinct… affecting scenes.” (Hampshire Gazette, MA).

Improvisation is at the root of Jennifer’s artistic practice. She traces her dance heritage to Judith Dunn/Bill Dixon who developed a unique improvisology for dancers and musicians at Bennington College. Together with The Architects, she is founder of MICI: Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation, a professional laboratory dedicated to performance improvisation, and to expanding the range of compositional possibilities.

Other teaching and compositional experiments explore the “body of objects,” composing relationships between objects, dancers, and surrounding architecture. Her abiding interest in combining dance and spoken word has produced many works of “movement theatre,” researching the unique poetic effects of the body/word relationship.

Recent presentations include Cultivate 2014, Bethlehem, NH, the 2013 Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival at Ruth Page, presenting “The Weight of Wait,” a work considering the inhumane immigration process, “Wrestling with Actualities,” presented at Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, A Call to Action, “in three easy steps,” at New Territory/Cuerpo de Danza in San Juan, PR, and “Zipline,” a showcase of female choreographers produced in Philadelphia. Commissions include works for New Articulations, (Tucson), The Dance COLEctive (Chicago), University of Utah, and 37 por las Tablas, a Movement/Theatre Company in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  In collaboration with composer Burton Beerman, she presented “Flamingo” at Symphony Space, NYC, and at 31st International New Music Festival in Ohio. In 2010 with Charlotte Adams, Kayle co-created and toured “Virtually Yours / Virtualmente Tuy@s,” presented at Highways, Los Angeles, and El Centro Leon in Santiago, Dominican Republic, a work asking if tourism and technology are creating new and subtle forms of colonialism. Other presentations include 2008 seasons at New York’s Joyce Soho and Chicago’s Links Hall, the Dostoevsky Museum Theatre, and the Body/Word International Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Professional teaching adventures include “Performatica 2014,” Cholula, Mexico, where she also performed with Analia Alegre-Femenias in their duo “Women Over The Wall,” artist residencies at Purdue and Mesa State Universities, and teaching at Bates Young Dancers workshop.

Research areas
  • Choreography
Jennifer Kayle speaking to a group of people
MFA, Smith College

University of Iowa
E111 Halsey Hall (HH)
Iowa City, IA 52245
United States