Ayodele Casel

Tap dancer and choreographer

‘Release. Joy. Love.’ A Dance Festival at Little Island. –  The New York Times


Ayodele Casel’s origins in theater, combined with her love for storytelling and tap dance, bring a distinct narrative quality to her choreographic work. Born in The Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico, Ayodele’s work is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. 

“Music and dance have the power to bring such joy, and to unite across all walks of life. I am grateful for the opportunity to revel in some magic making at Little Island!” 

In Ayodele’s second season at Little Island, she collaborated with fellow Artist-In-Residence Michael McElroy and creative partner Torya Beard to curate Our Second Annual Music and Dance Festival. This festival expanded on Little Island’s inaugural 2021 Dance Festival, highlighting New York based musicians, choreographers, and dancers in a multi-generational kaleidoscope of styles, including Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, Soul, Broadway and more! Artists featured in both festivals included Brinae Ali, Laraine Goodman, Kevin Iega Jeff, Maurice Chestnut, Isaac Harlan, Barkha Patel, Earl Mosley, Barkha Patel and more. 

Full Biography

Drama Desk Nominee and Bessie Award-winning ” tap dancer and choreographer of extraordinary depth” (The New York Times), most recently serves as Tap Choreographer for the highly anticipated Broadway revival of Funny Girl. Her work has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography.  Born in The Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico, Ayodele began her professional training at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her origins in theater and love for storytelling and tap dance have significantly contributed to the narrative nature in her work, which is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. 

She created and choreographed “Chasing Magic”, a dance film and concert encapsulating the wonder of collaboration and artistry. Ayodele was also a 2019-2020 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Artist in Residence at Harvard University. She is Resident Director, with Torya Beard, for Dance Lab New York’s inaugural Tap Dance Project. She has been a dance educator for over 20 years and is co-director of Operation Tap, an online tap dance educational platform. Ayodele has the privilege of being a featured tap dancer honoring the art form of tap on a 2021 US Postal Service Forever Stamp.