Award Winning Tap Dancer and Choreographer
Ayodele Casel may dance with her feet, but what she says with them is just as important.
As she glides rhythmically across the stage, the award-winning tap dancer invokes the often untold
legacies of Black female tap dancers who never had the same opportunity to perform at the White
House, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden.
“I like to think it's doing justice to their erasure,” she says. “I am a conglomerate of all these
folks who came before me.”
With only a few clicks of her toes and heels, Ayodele skillfully weaves together rich history and
stories with the salsa, jazz, and hip hop sounds that defined her childhood. Her unique approach has
earned her a Bessie Award and a spot as one of the New York Times' “biggest breakout stars of 2019.”
Tap dancing has also helped Ayodele find her voice. Raised between The Bronx and Puerto Rico, she
finds the art form to be a magical language that needs no translation.
“Tap dancing is not just steps. Tap dancing is not just a series of moves … This is real
Casel is an alumna of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and The William Esper Studio. A
dance educator for over 25 years, Casel is the co-director of Operation Tap, an online tap dance
educational platform, DLNY Tap Dance Project, and serves on the board of the youth arts leadership
organization A BroaderWay Foundation.
Learn more about Ayodele at ayodelecasel.com and stay connected with her latest on
Instagram at @ayolives.