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Ayodele Casel

Ayodele Casel, a Doris Duke Artist in the dance category, is an award-winning and critically acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer who was named one of the New York Times’ “biggest breakout stars of 2019.” Born in The Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico, her practice centers highly narrative works rooted in expressions of selfhood, culture and legacy. 

Her projects include her concert and Bessie Award-winning film “Chasing Magic,” her one-woman show “While I Have the Floor,” and her theatrical and film series “Diary of a Tap Dancer.” She serves as a tap choreographer for the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl,” which garnered her a 2022 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Choreography. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, she created an interactive show for their inaugural “On the Move” five-borough tour and is one of their 2023 featured “Artists at the Center.” Casel also choreographed Carole King and Maurice Sendak's “Really Rosie” for Encores! Off Center, and was a featured artist for Jeanine Tesori’s “Jamboree” and the Fall for Dance Festival. Her collaboration with Grammy award-winning Latin jazz composer and pianist Arturo O’Farrill is hailed by the New York Times as “next level” and “thrilling.”

Casel was a 2019-2020 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, an artist-in-residence at Harvard University and Little Island, and is the recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship and Hoofer and Flo-Bert award. In 2021, Casel was depicted on a U.S. Postal Service Forever Stamp in celebration of tap dance.

She has earned commissions from American Repertory Theater, New York City Center, Aaron Davis Hall/Harlem Stage and the Apollo's Salon Series.

Casel has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Off-Broadway with Savion Glover as the only woman in his touring company N.Y.O.T.s. (Not Your Ordinary Tappers). Her works have been presented at The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, New York City Center, Symphony Space, Dance Theater Workshop, The Triad Theater and Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, among others.

Casel is an alumna of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and The William Esper Studio. A dance educator for more than 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.

Meet the 10th Anniversary Class of Doris Duke Artists