Body Music, Percussion & Rhythm Dance

Keith Terry


Using any surface for its rhythmic possibilities, Keith Terry “claps his hands, rubs his palms, finger-pops, stamps his feet, brushes his soles, slaps his butt and belly, pops his cheek, whomps his chest, skips and slides, sings and babbles and coughs, building his music out of a surprisingly varied register of sounds and clever rhythmic variations.” — Village Voice

Keith TerryKeith Terry is a percussionist/rhythm dancer whose work encompasses a number of allied performance disciplines — music, dance, theater, performance art — which he brings together to create an artistic vision that defies easy categorization. As a self-defined “Body Musician,” Keith uses the oldest musical instrument in the world — the human body (his own) — as the basis for exploring, blending and bending traditional and contemporary rhythmic, percussive and movement possibilities.

Trained as a percussionist, Keith was the drummer for the original Jazz Tap Ensemble when he found his drum patterns becoming hand claps and foot steps. Soon percussion became dance, his body his instrument, and his own style of body music emerged. Keith’s influences range from Japanese Taiko and Balinese Gamelan to North American rhythm tap and Ethiopian armpit music.

…a crossing of cultures, a blurring of boundaries at its most sensitive, most humanistic, and most magical

Keith Terry is probably best known for his solo works, which toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia — from the Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center, the Bumbershoot Festival at the Seattle Opera House, the Colorado Dance Festival, New York’s Dance Theater Workshop and Wolftrap to the American Center in Paris, the Bali Arts Festival, the Regency in Hong Kong, the Vienna Dance Festival, the Budapest Spring Festival and the Paradiso van Slag World Drum Festival in Amsterdam.

Keith is also recognized for his collaborations with other artists, including the Pickle Family Circus, Robin Williams, Tex Williams, Bobby McFerrin, Charles “Honi” Coles, Tandy Beal, Blondell Cummings, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Geoff Hoyle, the Bobs, Skip Blumberg, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Alex De Grassi, Linda Tillery, Kenny Endo, the original Jazz Tap Ensemble, San Jose Taiko and the Oakland Youth Chorus.

Keith Terry’s large-scale group collaborations are attracting an increasing amount of attention. BODY TJAK, a critically-acclaimed collaboration with Balinese artist, I Wayan Dibia, featured 12 U.S. and 12 Balinese performers, and toured in the United States and Indonesia during the fall of 1990. A 1994 work featured San Jose Taiko, Redwood House Choir, and Crosspulse, Keith’s quintet of drummers who move and vocalize. In 1995 his Crosspulse / Gamelan Sekar Jaya collaboration toured in Indonesia. In 1998 his Crosspulse / Manhattan Tap collaboration ran at New York’s Joyce Theater. Keith also served as the first Musical Director for The Village Beatniks for Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida in 1998. In 1998-99 he collaborated again with I Wayan Dibia, creating BODY TJAK / THE CELEBRATION. This U.S./pan-Indonesian project performed in the United States and Bali, resulting in a video project, as well. 2002 saw the third Body Tjak Project, BODY TJAK/LOS ANGELES, performed by a cast of 100, outside on the campus of UCLA.

Keith Terry’s ability to bring extremely talented and multi-faceted performers together to perform and create new work is evidenced in his two most recent projects. Professor Terry’s Circus Band Extraordináire is a collaboration with Linda Tillery and some of the Bay Area’s finest jazz players, on bassoon, violin, accordion, banjo, bass, drums and voice. SLAMMIN’ is a new all-body band with four a capella singers, body music and beat boxing.

As a musician, producer and composer Keith Terry has released five albums and three videos including instructional DVDs on the Crosspulse Media Label. As a percussionist, Keith has recorded on EarthBeat!, Windham Hill Jazz, Inner City and Theresa Records as well as several soundtracks for film and television, including PBS’s NOVA and the Betty Walberg film, “Bridge of Dreams” (in collaboration with Kazu Matsui and Yoko Ito Gates). As a featured performer he has appeared on PBS’s ALIVE FROM OFF CENTER (“Dancing Hands”); two PBS LONESOME PINE SPECIALS (“Masters of Percussion” and “Turtle Island String Quartet/Keith Terry”); CBS NEWS NIGHTWATCH; and National Public Radio’s MORNING EDITION.

As a teacher, Keith Terry has conducted master classes, workshops and/or residencies in numerous settings including the Colorado Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Spain’s Stage ’98, American Orff-Schulwerk Association’s National Conference, the American Center in Paris, Summer Institute for Intercultural Communications, Juneau Alaska Arts Council, The School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, and STSI: The National Academy for the Arts in Denpasar, Bali and Yogyakarta, Java; and in music and dance programs at such institutions as UCLA, University of California at Berkeley, Ohio State University, Ohio University, California State University at Long Beach, Cal Arts, Manhattanville College, Denison University, University of California at Riverside, University of New Mexico, and SUNY Purchase. From 1996-1999 Keith curated and taught RHYTHM WEEK, an intensive rhythmically-oriented music/dance workshop with a faculty of up to 12 teachers, held annually in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1998-2004 Keith was on faculty in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at the University of California in Los Angeles. In 2008 Keith produced the First International Body Music Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Keith Terry’s work has been supported by numerous awards and grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Asian Cultural Council, Meet the Composer’s International Collaborations, The Rockefeller Foundation’s MAP Fund, The Hewlett Foundation, Zellerbach Family Fund, The Hewlett Foundation, The Irvine Foundation, Arts International and the California Arts Council. He is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow.

Short Media Bio

KEITH TERRY is a percussionist/rhythm-dancer/educator whose artistic vision has straddled the line between music and dance for more than four decades. As a soloist he has appeared in such settings as Lincoln Center, Bumbershoot, NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, PRI’s The World, the Vienna International Dance Festival, and the Paradiso van Slag World Drum Festival in Amsterdam. His groups Corposonic, Slammin All-Body Band, Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, Crosspulse Duo with Evie Ladin, Professor Terry’s Circus Band Extraordinaire, and Body Tjak (with I Wayan Dibia) have performed in a variety of venues, including Joe’s Pub, WNYC, and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors (NYC), Grand Performances, LACMA Jazz, the Roxy, and the Skirball Center (LA), SFJazz, Vancouver Island MusicFest, Woodford Festival in Australia, and the Bali Arts Festival. In addition, Keith has performed with a wide range of artists including Charles “Honi” Coles, Turtle Island Quartet, Bill Irwin, Jovino Santos Neto, Barbatuques, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Kenny Endo, Freddie Hubbard, Tex Williams, Robin Williams, and Bobby McFerrin. As a producer he has created 5 CDs and 4 DVDs for Crosspulse Media.

From 1998 to 2005 Keith was on the faculty at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures, where he designed and taught a dozen courses on the relationship of music and dance; deep listening; synchronicity, time, and timing; and intercultural communication in the arts. In 2006 he conceived and directed the first International Body Music Performance Project for the Orff Institute in Salzburg. Keith tours extensively in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, where his Body Music performances, workshops, residencies and choreographic commissions are popular among professional performers and educators. Keith Terry is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow and the Founding Director of Crosspulse, a 32-year old Oakland, California-based arts organization dedicated to rhythm-based intercultural music and dance. Keith is also the Founding/Artistic Director of the Crosspulse project, the International Body Music Festival (IBMF), an annual 6-day Festival which explores the language of body music from culture to culture. Now in its sixth year, IBMF has been produced in San Francisco/Oakland, US; São Paulo, Brazil; and Istanbul, Turkey.


“Sophisticated and up-to-the-minute in its intellectual appeal, in its multicultural inspirations and in its blending of boundaries between art forms.”

“Keith Terry’s unique “body percussion” performance was like a great vintage wine, so smooth and tangy were his rhythms and sounds, so slyly intoxicating.”

“A virtuoso invertebrate, bending, bouncing, flopping and popping (literally) in our midst but rarely seeming to come down to earth.”

“Terry lifts you to a philosophical plane of exquisite lucidity usually reached only by means of controlled substances.”

“This guy is a one-man band machine. I expected flames to come out of his head by the time he was through.”

Press Photos

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Photo credits (starting from top-left): 1-2-3-7 Gudmundur Vigfusson, 4-5 Rick Der, 6 Irene Young


Educational Services

Keith Terry is available for master classes and residencies, choreographic commissions, educational performances and workshops, at every level, from Elementary through Professional. Grade school programs are a part of Crosspulse Educational Outreach. Solo, Keith has taught in countless university and high school arts programs. Professional organizations, such as the Orff Schulwerk music teachers training program and various Intercultural Communication & Diversity training programs, find his Body Music pedagogy and comprehension of rhythmic, cross-cultural communication skills invaluable. Contact us to discuss bringing Keith to your institution.

From 1998-2004 Keith was on the faculty of the Department of World Arts & Cultures at UCLA. In both graduate and undergraduate courses, Keith bridges the gap between music and dance, and cultivates interdisciplinary, intercultural and interdepartmental artistic relationships. Keith expands his students abilities to hear and execute complex rhythms through Body Music and related rhythmic studies, connects choreographers with composers, encourages intercultural collaboration, and assists in the creation of multi-disciplinary performance. A collaborator by nature, Keith worked to cultivate the connections between World Arts and Cultures and the Departments of Theater, Music and Ethnomusicology and others.

Here is a list of the courses Keith has developed in his years at UCLA:

  • MUSIC AND DANCE (2-quarter graduate seminar)
  • SOUND RESOURCES (for grads and undergrads)
  • INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION IN THE ARTS (for grads and undergrads)
  • BODY MUSIC (beginning and intermediate, for grads and undergrads)
  • INDEPENDENT STUDIES PROJECTS (for grads and undergrads)
  • BODY TJAK (for grads and undergrads)

Directing & Curating

In his thirty year career, Keith Terry has directed/created music and dance works ranging in size from solos and duos to ensembles of one hundred performers, and toured the work throughout the United States, and in Asia, Central America and Europe. Most of these projects involve collaborating with a culturally wide variety of artists representing a broad spectrum of styles and forms, often involving multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-lingual cooperation. Keith is equally adept at curating arts programs that reflect this wealth and breadth of experience in performing and administrating projects.

Major projects include:

Established in 2008, the IBMF has become the gathering of traditional and contemporary Body Music artists from across the globe. Six days of concerts, workshops, educational outreach, jam sessions and more. The IBMF is produced by Crosspulse every other year, and by international partners in the interim years.

Reflecting a 30-year collaboration with renowned Balinese composer/choreographer I Wayan Dibia, Keith has co-directed and toured three Body Tjak Projects (1990, 1999, 2002). Body Tjak 13 premiers at the 6th IBMF/San Francisco 2013.

While at UCLA, Keith established The Listening Project in an effort to expand the students’ musical knowledge. This project is a curated collection of recordings, exploring a wide range of music — from the classics to the new and unusual, contemporary and traditional. A new installment was added each academic quarter.

Percussionist – Rhythm Dancer – Composer – Producer – Ringmaster
Keith Terry & Kenny Endo