Kelsa Rieger-Haywood - Columbia College Chicago

Kelsa Rieger-Haywood

Associate Professor of Instruction


Kelsa “K-Soul” Robinson is a culturally responsive educator, dancemaker, and curator.  Kelsa’s passion and training in social justice organizing is infused in all areas of her work.  Her movement training is primarily rooted in Afrodiasporan vernacular dance forms and spaces including underground House and Hip-Hop, as well as capoeira, samba, salsa and bachata.  Kelsa’s dancemaking investigates improvisation as performance and celebrates the rawness, exuberance, individuality and deep sense of community embedded in street dance forms.  She has performed and presented work locally and internationally, including at the Pivot Arts & Physical Theater Festivals (Chicago, IL), danceGathering (Lagos, Nigeria), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), B.Supreme (London, UK), B-girl Be (Minneapolis), J.U.I.C.E. Hip-Hop Dance Festival (Hollywood), Constellation/ Links Hall and Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago).  A prominent focus of Kelsa’s work is building reciprocal collaboration and meaningful exchange between Hip-Hop and the academy.  She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Instruction at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago and Curator of The B-SERIES, a biannual festival and co-curricular program celebrating Hip-Hop & street dance culture at the College since 2013. Kelsa is also a Fellow of Columbia's Antiracist Transformation Team, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Hip-Hop Studies Minor, a member of the internationally known street-dance crew, Venus Fly, and Co-Artistic Director of BraveSoul Movement.  Kelsa holds a bachelor degree in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Instructional Areas

Dance technique in Hip-Hop and related Afro-diasporic dance forms (house, popping, locking, breaking), the histories, and sociocultural context of these forms, dance studies, hip-hop studies, dance pedagogy, culturally sustaining pedagogy, community cultural development, social practice dance, dance improvisation and composition

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Afro-diasporic dance and movement practices, chicago house dance history, vernacular dance, Hip-Hop studies, cultural resistance and hegemony, community cultural development and social practice dance, critical race theory, improvisation and performance as liberation, compositional improvisation, cross-cultural, collaborative and dialogical art-making practice, participatory action research, and arts and creative practice as spiritual development


B.A., Sociology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1999
M.U.P.P., Urban Planning and Policy University of Illinois at Chicago 2003