Police said 59-year-old Janet Hamburg died Saturday after falling onto a construction platform.
After working briefly in transportation engineering, she earned a master's degree in dance from Mills College in California. She joined the Kansas faculty in 1979 and was the longtime chair of the dance program, now a department.
Much of her work focused on senior adults and children suffering from coordination and sensorimotor problems.
The university said she developed an acclaimed exercise program for people with Parkinson's disease. Hamburg also was the director of senior wellness and exercise for the Center for Movement Education and Research in Los Angeles.
"This is a deep and painful loss for the university family. Janet Hamburg was an extraordinary teacher and researcher who had earned her colleagues' highest respect, here and around the world," University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. "Countless people, particularly those in the Parkinson's community, benefited immeasurably from her devotion to dance, exercise and movement analysis. On behalf of the entire KU community, I express my deepest sympathies to her partner, her family and friends."
Hamburg is survived by her partner of 30 years.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Janet Hamburg Dance Scholarship.