Monique Haley

Monique Haley is an Associate Professor of Dance and African American and African Studies. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2018) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in performing arts, specializing in jazz dance, from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA (2001). Her research centers on African cultural values, ethos, and the importance of cultivating ritual in contemporary jazz dance pedagogy. Her chapter entitled, Cultivating African Diasporic Ethos and Cultural Values in Contemporary Jazz Dance, is currently featured in a new scholarly textbook, Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in the 21st Century, by editors Lindsay Guarino, Carlos Jones, and Wendy Oliver, centering the Diasporic Encounter Method (DEM)—a working methodology devised by Haley to focus the Africanist perspective on the classroom, rehearsal, and creative process. In addition, Monique has been invited to the prestigious American Dance Festival (ADF) to be a part of their summer 2022 dance faculty. Haley will use DEM as a foundational teaching tool to inspire an authentic ethos and connection between participants in their daily jazz practice.

Notably, her choreographic work, Culture Loop, in collaboration with Chicago’s Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (CRDT), was recently recognized by The Black Album Mixtape, a national and international platform for social and racial justice for African American artists of all mediums, created by Golden Globe award-winning actress, play-write, and activist Regina Taylor. While tending to her work here at WMU in the CFA with the School of Theater and Dance, teaching jazz pedagogy and musical theatre performance, Monique choreographs and teaches dance nationally and is the Resident Choreographer for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in Chicago, IL. She has set works, ROOT: mwanzo wa mwili ni roho (2018), Culture Loop (2020), and is preparing to begin a two-year development of an evening-length immersive show experience, Soul Remedy, which recently was the recipient of a 2022 National Endowment of the Arts grant towards its Chicago debut for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre’s 2022-2023 season.

In April 2022, Ms. Haley was a part of the Unveiling American Genius Symposium series as a feature guest panelist, A Woman’s Voice: Then and Now? to discuss the roles of women as it relates to the visual arts, dance, popular culture, identity, and beauty culture, led by Kalamazoo Art Institute curator, Rehema Barber. In addition, Monique was a guest panelist alongside world-renowned jazz music and dance artists for the New York City Jazz Power Initiative’s 2021 Online Conference (July 2021) for the Reconnecting Music and Dance- A More Holistic Jazz Pedagogy symposium. The discussion centers on the dreams, necessities, and hopes within jazz music and dance education and collaboration. Monique participated as a guest speaker for the national/International Movement Matters (April 2021), hosted by faculty Dr. RAS Mikey Courtney of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. Haley spoke of her jazz dance roots, honoring her lived and educational experiences as a jazz dance artist and the challenges of creativity in the field. This past February, she was a guest panelist for Seattle’s PRICEarts, Move through Black History Month event to speak with other Black dance artists and educators about their experiences and navigating artistic plans for the future in our current time of social upheaval during the pandemic.

As a dance educator, Monique has been a guest teacher in the 2016, 2017, and 2019 ACDA East Central Conferences. Monique was a frequent teacher for the former Lou Conte Dance Studio, the Visceral Dance Center, and the Joffrey Academy of Dance Trainee Program in Chicago. Monique participates yearly as part of the Chicago Dance Connection Jazz Camp Faculty and has taught for the former River North Chicago and Inaside Dance Company Summer Intensives. She has nationally set choreography for high school, collegiate, and professional companies.

As a performing artist, Monique honors nine memorable years with the former River North Chicago Dance Company as the first African- American female to join the company in 2001. She has also been a member of the Bermuda Dance Company and the Eleone Dance Theater of Philadelphia.

In musical theater, Ms. Haley was a dancer and ensemble member in The Jungle Book’s Disney musical, directed by Mary Zimmerman and choreographed by the Tony Award-winning Christopher Gattelli. In Chicago’s regional theater scene, she was the dance captain/ensemble member, and associate choreographer, for the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theater’s production of Aida and the associate choreographer of Paramount Theater Aurora’s inaugural production of My Fair Lady. Additional theater credits include HAIRJoseph, and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Mrs. Potiphar). Chicago (June), On the Town, amongst others.

Monique’s career and creative works are recognized in such publications as Dance Spirit and Dance Magazine. In addition, Haley is one of the first artists to receive a 3Arts Award (2012) for choreography and dance and her contribution to the arts community in Chicago.

Monique has choreographed for American Midwest Ballet, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Nomi Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company, the Chicago Repertory Ballet Company, and the collaborative works with the Chicago – based companies Muntu African Dance Company and DanceWorks Chicago. In 2010, she created the entertainment segment for the Danny Clark Foundation Annual Celebrity Gala: Le Moulin Rouge, a Night in Paris, to help raise money to promote advocacy, education, and outreach programs to those in need. Haley’s choreography has also featured in Dance for Life Chicago, the annual aids benefit concert. In 2015, she premiered a collaborative theatre/dance piece, Still Life with Drumming, at the Myron S. Szold Music and Dance Hall at The Old Town School of Folk Music. Collegiate commissions include work for the former Marygrove College, Western Michigan University, and the University of the Arts, to name a few.

Currently, Monique passionately educates her students by teaching jazz dance theory and curriculum and working with and choreographing for the musical theater performance students in the WMU’s College of Fine Arts. She also looks forward to working as a faculty member in a joint appointment with WMU’s Institute of Intercultural and Anthropological Studies in the Department of African American and African Studies. Lastly, Ms. Haley will present in a panel discussing her book chapter in Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in the 21st Century, highlighting the DEM alongside editors Lindsay Guarino, Carlos Jones, and Wendy Oliver in the Dance Studies Association (DSA) conference, Dancing Resilience: Dance Studies and Activism in a Global Age, in Vancouver, Canada, 2022.


Classes: Contemporary Jazz & Repertory

Photo by Erika Dufour