Aleta Hayes is a “contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer, and teacher.” She holds an M.F.A in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A. in Drama, Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford. Hayes has taught at Wesleyan University, Swarthmore College, Rutgers University, and Princeton University, where she developed “pedagogically innovative courses that combined cultural and performance history, theory, and performance.”
Before beginning her career in academia, Hayes lived in New York City for fifteen years where she choreographed many pieces including: Hatsheput, presented at the Place Theater, London and St. Marks Church, New York; Tarantantara, presented at Jacob’s Pillow; and La Chanteuse Nubienne (written by playwright Daniel Alexander Jones), performed for Movement Research at Judson Church. As a dancer, Hayes has had “leading roles in major works by other artists such as Jane Comfort and Robert Wilson.
In 2004, Hayes returned to Stanford on a Ford Foundation Resident Dialogues Fellowship through the Committee on Black Performing Arts to create The Wedding Project, a “performance piece of multiple genres illustrating the evolution of American social dance through the narrative of African American wedding traditions.” In 2005, Hayes was named a Peninsula Community Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Eastside Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, where she led The ReMix Project—a “montage of music, monologue, and movement examining student aspirations in a low-income, racially-mixed neighborhood.” Most recently, Hayes founded The Chocolate Heads Movement Band in 2009 (a collective of dancers, musicians, visual artists, performance poets and writers), and has collaborated with performer Cooper Moore to create a dance-music installation called “Singing the Rooms—Performance of the Everyday.”