Hannah Bates

Hannah is a musician, dancer, arranger, choreographer, researcher and educator with a passion for Afro-Latin, groove-music cultures.  Although currently semi-retired from dancing activities, she has become a well-known fixture on the London Latin scene and these days can be found playing piano in Cuban dance music ensembles across the UK and beyond.

Hannah graduated with a BSc in music from City University and an MMus from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African studies where she is now undertaking doctoral research.  She was recently awarded a travel bursary (Santander Mobility Awards) for her PhD fieldwork in Havana where she was investigating Cuban groove-pianism.

Joanna Menet

Joanna is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In her doctoral research she explores the transnationalisation of salsa dancing. Joanna holds a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Zurich. For her MA thesis she conducted ethnographic research in a small Swiss town, exploring how young adults from immigrant and non-immigrant background negotiate gender, ethnicity and religion in a school context.

Joanna’s research interest in dance developed during an Erasmus Semester in Athens. While attending salsa classes she noticed that the moves and the surrounding discourses among dancers in Athens were very similar to the ones she knew from Zurich. The puzzle how this is possible features centrally in the doctoral research Joanna embarked on in 2013.

Prior to starting her PhD, she moved to the French part of Switzerland where she worked as a research assistant at the Swiss Forum for Migration Studies (SFM), contributing to a project on the cantonal migration policies in federalist Switzerland. She then started her current research enabling her to combine her long-standing interest in dancing with previous theoretical and methodological interests. She applies a transnational perspective to examine the links between gender, ethnicity and mobility among salsa dancers at European salsa congresses and in Cuba. Her empirical approach encompasses multi-sited fieldwork, embodied research methods as well as interviews conducted in German, French, English, Italian and Spanish.

She is very happy to join Modern Moves at King’s College London as visiting scholar in spring 2016.

Camilo Soler


Camilo’s exploration of dance started at the age of 16 in dance floors of both the salsa and tango scenes, and always focused on playfully transgress the structure and rules of steps. Similarly, once he started his formation as anthropologist in 2016 at The National University of Colombia, he developed an interest for human agency, conflict and transgression rather than in structure and norm. This led him to combine his academic and artistic careers while exploring many other Latin American and Caribbean rhythms such as Folk dances, Afro and Afro-Contemporary, Dancehall and Street Dance in addition to Colombian style and cross-body salsa. As a result, he joined one of the most renowned Latin Dance companies in Colombia, Esfera Latina, in which he became a professional dancer and member of the dance crew from 2010. There he had the opportunity to take part in different competitions, whose participations include: being finalist at the BNF – 5th Colombia Salsa Congress (2013) in the professional groups’ category, second (2011) an third (2012) place in the Salsa Men Competition in Cali – Colombia, and first place in both men and semi-professional group categories in the Bogota Salsa Congress (2013) .

Bringing together professional salsa dance with anthropology also allowed him to approach phenomena such as the negotiation of conflicts through dance made by former gang members in Cali and the institutional and identity dynamics of dance movements in Colombia. In addition, he worked for 3 months in the Amazon rainforest in a project aimed to reduce the risk of cultural extinction and the protection of intangible heritage among 4 ethnic groups in 2012.

Thus, interested in a pragmatic approach to this type social phenomena, he started a Masters program at The London School of Economics and Political Science in anthropology and development, in which he explored the potential of dance-based and intangible heritage identities to generate changes on people’s conditions of life. Also, he continued exploring his artistic side by teaching classes and workshops in London with Cali Swing UKs, in addition to performing in events as renowned as El Grande. Subsequently, and after some improved in-field exploration of dances and their social contexts in Colombia, he joined the PhD. program in Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London in 2016 with a project focused on the transformation of body richness, linked to ideas of body capital and intangible heritage.

Michael Iyanaga

I am a guitarist and scholar born and raised in California (USA), currently Mellon Faculty Fellow in Latin American Studies at The College of William and Mary, USA. In 2013, I received my PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. For over a decade my main research focus has been the music of northeastern Brazil, from liturgical and religious song to popular street genres. Using both historical and ethnographic methodologies, my research is concerned with uncovering the ways in which silenced or forgotten histories of Africa and the slave trade are embodied in musical performance (esp. in Catholic song and ritual), and how such histories can transform and complicate common understandings of the profound contributions Africans and their descendents have made not only to Brazil but also to the Americas more broadly.

I am currently expanding my dissertation into two book manuscripts, one of which focuses primarily on the transcontinental histories embodied in a single Brazilian family’s devotion to Saint Roch, while the other explores patron saint rituals in Bahia (Brazil) as manifestations of happiness (alegria).

It is a thrill to be part of Modern Moves, a project whose ambitious scope and provocative interrogations force us to rethink the ways in which corporeal movement can burst with a multiplicity of histories and experiences, and thus challenge dominant notions of how knowledge is transmitted, accrued, and lived.

Livia Jiménez Sedano

Postdoctoral fellow and integrated researcher at INET-MD, University of Lisbon.

Livia is currently working on her postdoctoral project “Dancing ethnicities in a transnational social world”, which is a comparative examination of bachata dance culture in Madrid and kizomba dance culture in Lisbon. She also participates in a research project on Islamophobia and gender relations in the Muslim Diaspora in Spain. She gained her PhD from UNED (Madrid) in 2011 and obtained the Extraordinary Award of Doctorate. From 2009 to 2013, she taught Social and Cultural Anthropology at UNED. She holds an M.A. in Migrations, an M.A. in Berber studies (from the University of Leiden), and an M.A. in Professional Expertise in Islamic religion and culture. Between 2002 and 2007, she did fieldwork in two different multi-ethnic settings in Spain. She has worked on several research projects in Spain about issues related to ethnicity, children, gender, immigration and social exclusion. In 2007 she coordinated the applied anthropology research team “Observatorio de ZNTS” in the context of the European project Equal Atenea. Since 2012, she has done fieldwork in dancing contexts in Madrid and Lisbon including African discos, dance schools, dancing associations and public celebrations.
Livia’s languages of work, research and enjoyment include English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, German, (Moroccan) Arabic, and three Berber languages. In January 2015 she will start learning Caboverdian Criolu.

Stefanie Alisch

Stefanie Alisch studied musicology, Portuguese and English in Berlin and Salvador da Bahia while working as a DJ. Currently, she is finalising doctoral research into the ‘carga’ concept in Angolan kuduro music and dance at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies and the Forschungsinstitut für Musiktheater at Bayreuth University. She conducted several months of field research in Luanda (2011 and 2012), Lisbon (2012-2013), Maputo (2012), Johannesburg (2013) as well as Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin during which she actively participated in dance, music and media rehearsals and performances. Her work encompasses research, teaching, publications and creative projects on kuduro, groove, broken beat, music and bodily-performative practices in the Black Atlantic, sound system and DJ culture; in addition, she has interests in farsi pop, polysemes in popular music, cultural transfer in the Portuguese-speaking realm, and the mediality of music and dance.

Stefanie’s work on kuduro has been of great interest to Modern Moves from its earliest phases, and has been crucial for the development of the project’s Luso-African interests: in May 2010, she organized the First International Conference on Kuduro at the Associação Cultural e Recreativa Cha de Caxinde, Luanda, which was attended by Ananya and others who would become part of the Modern Moves network: Advisory Board members Marissa Moorman, Fred Moehn and Manuel Barcia, and Modern Moves Friend, Benjamin Lebrave. Stephanie feels that while musicology and popular music studies widely acknowledge the importance of elucidating the role of dance, there are few dedicated programmes or institutions actually doing so. Thus, sharing reflections, contacts, literature, manuscripts, and hours of dance in the unique network of Modern Moves, with its focus on rhythms and dance in and beyond the Black Atlantic, is vital to her research.

Minkyoung ‘MK’ Kim

Minkyoung ‘MK’ Kim

MK, currently a PhD student in social anthropology at the University of Manchester, danced for the first time in her life during her sophomore year. She finished her BA with a minor in contemporary dance as the first student starting out with a non-dance major to graduate with a dance degree in her university, and continued to pursue contemporary dance in NYC. An accident led her to cancel her first contemporary dance performance and also led to a long break from dancing for the recovery. Subsequently, however, she was exposed to salsa dancing in Buffalo, NY. She fell in love with the dance and started to dance five-six days a week. She continued dancing after moving to the UK for her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Manchester. Here, she did a small project on Manchester’s salsa club ‘Copacabana’ (where she first met Ananya) by looking at salsa as a cultural commodity and a way to build fleeting relationships in a cosmopolitan city. She then helped to start the biggest salsa night in Manchester at Revolución de Cuba with DJ Lubi Jovanovic and Salsa Cabana.

During 2013-14, MK moved to Buffalo, NY for her PhD fieldwork, and has performed at several Latin American cultural events. She has been teaching salsa with her dance partner Jason E. Robinson at Buffalo’s Latin American cultural centre, ‘El Buen Amigo’. Dance has taught her the way to stand on her own, shine as a person, interact with others, care for others, listen to others, speak up and get stronger every day. Her goal now is to give everything she earned through dancing back in return to the community, especially new dancers- to help create a world where anybody can be whoever they truly want to be by stretching the boundaries and norms of the dance floor.

Using anthropological research methodology off and on the dance floor, MK is focusing on aspects of self-representation, human interaction, and gender dynamics in Latin dance, working closely with Modern Moves Advisory Board member Magna Gopal, her inspiration on her entire salsa journey. This research will enable us understand the gender norms, expectations and boundaries in Latin dance, and the way in which we build relationships through dance physically and kinaesthetically. Her Korean background as an outsider and Latin dancer as an insider enable her to unfold the dynamic between Latino identity and salsa dance’s transnational and performative development. The work will contribute not only academically but also in providing a platform for dancers to take dance as a self-presentation form, outside objectified understanding of being a ‘good dancer’.

Matthew D. Morrison

Matthew D. Morrison

Matthew D. Morrison, a native of Charlotte, NC, is completing his Ph.D. in musicology at Columbia University. Prior to his doctoral studies, Matthew attended Morehouse College (B.A. in music; violin performance) and the Catholic University of America (M.A. in Musicology). He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Current Musicology, adjunct instructor of Black Music at Vassar College, Faculty Fellow at Columbia University, and as faculty of the W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Institute, housed at Princeton University. Matthew will begin a two-year appointment as a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU from 2014-2016. He will serve as Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Tisch School of the Arts and the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Matthew’s research interests are guided by the relationship between sound, identity, and performance in music. He is interested in developing ways to analyze the music(s) and sounds of the African Diaspora through movement (a relationship for which he has evolved the shorthand term blacksound). By focusing on the sonic, spiritual, physiological, and psychological processes involved in their performance and exchange, Matthew is excited to continue cultivating this project as an Associated Researcher with Modern Moves.

Brigid McClure

Brigid McClure

Brigid McClure, known as ‘B’ in the academic community and as ‘Chip’ in the dance community, is currently based in the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries at King’s College, London. Before university, B spent a year living in South Africa, teaching violin to underprivileged children in the township of Soweto and playing with the South African National Youth Orchestra. She subsequently graduated in 2004 with a first class degree in music from St John’s College, Cambridge, where her work included dissertations on rhythmic patterns in South African gumboot dancing and the globalisation of salsa dancing. At the time B also played international lacrosse and captained the Cambridge Blues and British Universities teams, and began travelling around Europe dancing at international salsa festivals. She then moved to Leeds, where she was based at Headingley Carnegie Stadium with Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Country Cricket, and directed the ground-breaking partnership between Leeds Metropolitan University and the Rugby Football League, including the sponsorship of rugby league’s flagship knockout competition, the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

These experiences of participating and collaborating with others in music, sport and dance stimulated B’s interest in how we make sense of ourselves and others through bodily practices, and in 2010 she returned to Cambridge to complete an MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies, focusing in particular on gender roles and relations in social salsa dancing. B is now in the final year of a practice-led ESRC-funded PhD focusing on questions of the self, embodiment, pleasure, gender and multi-culturalism in social salsa dancing. B’s research thus has many resonances with Modern Moves, and most appropriately, her association with the project began when she met Ananya on the dance floor at a salsa congress in Romania! Through salsa, B has travelled across Europe, as well as to New York, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, and she has recently been invited to dance at the Third Front Reload salsa congress in Rostov-on-Don, Russia in August 2014. She also teaches weekly classes in London with world-renowned instructor ‘SuperMario’ and works independently with a small group of experienced dancers to explore in an embodied way some of the ideas emerging through her academic research.

Brenna Daldorph

Brenna Daldorph

Brenna Daldorph is a born and raised American midwesterner and lifelong global citizen. She has a BA in French and another in journalism from the University of Kansas, and currently works as a journalist in Paris, France for RFI (Radio France International) and France 24, when she is not being Modern Moves’ Paris-based correspondent: in that role, she has conducted several interviews for Ananya, including one with Thomas Bellon, the drummer of the world famous zouk band, Kassav’. As a journalist, she has been awarded numerous accolades including the Hearst Prize for Depth Reporting for ‘Living in Limbo’, a project on undocumented students. Brenna’s specific research interests include global migration, the development of the Lusophone social dance scene in the French capital as well as the birth of kizomba during the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002). She is herself a passionate dancer of kizomba and semba. Having lived in La Réunion, she also works on dance and music of the Indian Ocean (primarily La Réunion and Madagascar.) As Modern Moves’ resident journalist, she will also play a key role in the video documentation of the project. With a little bit of luck, starting in 2015, she will morph her role in the team to work on a PhD associated with the project.