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Jessica Murray

Dance, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Facilitating Dramaturgy in Dance and Music Collaborative Improvisation: a Rhythm Tap Practice Research Project

Thesis title: Facilitating Dramaturgy in Dance and Music Collaborative Improvisation: a Rhythm Tap Practice Research Project

This research draws on scholarship from Improvisation Studies, Dramaturgy and Interculturalism to create a critical framework for analysing collaborative dance and music improvisation practices such as rhythm tap dance. This critical framework will be developed in response to my own creative work, as well as engaging with that of other artists, exploring a diverse range of dance and music collaborative practices. I am interested in how my doctoral study can engage with current discussions around programming and producing improvised dance and music collaborative performance work, and how this learning might inform new performance models.

Research Area

  • Dance


Presentation & Workshop "Mapping and Mining the 'Tight Places' of Improvisation"

4th International Conference of Dalcroze Studies 'The listening body in action’ 

28 July – 02 August 2019 at Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice, Poland

Presentation "A Personal Manifesto for Rhyhm Tap Research"

POP Moves 12th Annual Conference 'Moving Beyond Coloniality'

22 - 24 November 2019 at the University of Roeshampton, London

Public Engagement & Impact

Founder of the Tap Dance Research Network UK

The Tap Dance Research Network UK brings together researchers, artists, academics and practitioners. We will advocate, engage and develop an open platform that connects industry and academia to explore creative practice in tap dance.


Post show discussion with Dorrance Dance at Sadlers Wells as part of the Tap Dance Research Network UK. 14 November, Sadlers Wells Theatre, London

Founder of Tap Rhythm Project


Other Research Interests



Dance and Music Collaboration

Creative Technologies

Jazz Studies

Performance Studies


Jess Murray Biography

Jess Murray is recognised as a leading artist in the UK’s rhythm tap community as a performer, teacher and tap jam host. Her inspiration comes from ‘Hoofing’, which places musicality, improvisation and self-expression at the heart of the tap dancers craft.

She shares her passion for the art form through her work as a professional rhythm tap performer, teacher and tap jam host (Tap Rhythm Jam Nottingham, London Tap Jam, Tap Dance Festival UK). She works collaboratively with musicians to create original performance work as a lead artist on Arts Council England funded projects SoundMoves and SoundCatchers.

As a guest soloist improviser, Jess has appeared at numerous venues including the Purcell Rooms as part of London Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scotts in Soho and Band on the Wall in Manchester. She has also toured the UK and Europe with The Lock In Dance Show and Les Commandos Percu.

Jess has coordinated Tap Rhythm Project since 2006, delivering sessions with community groups and producing tap jams and guest artist workshops in Manchester and Nottingham.