Ayodele Casel, 2017 recipient of the Hoofer Award, is a native New Yorker and began her professional training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is also a graduate of The William Esper Studio in NYC, having studied directly with the masterful William Esper.

Ayodele Casel premiered her one-woman show While I Have The Floor at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. She also served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sen- dak’s musical Really Rosie for New York City Center’s Encores! Off Center under the directionof Leigh Silverman. Most recently, she has been performing as part of Latin Jazz great Arturo

O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Hailed by the legendary Gregory Hines as “one of the top young tap dancers in the world,” and by The New York Times as “A tap dancer of unquestionable radiance”, Casel has steadfast become an internationally sought after artist and powerful voice for the art form. She also originated the role of The Doll in Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap! which premiered at The Harris Theater in Chicago. Ayodele currently serves on the Artist Board for New York City Center’s Encores! un- der the artistic direction of Tony Award winner Jeanine Tesori.

She has earned her commissions from Aaron Davis Hall/Harlem Stage and the Apollo’s Salon Series, where she pre- sented Diary of a Tap Dancer. She was also selected by acclaimed composer Rob Kapilow to collaborate on a Tap dance concerto which premiered at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Ayodele co- choreographed Tap Into Peace; a show with the incredible music of Stevie Wonder as its inspiration and soundtrack. The show has been pre- sented at NY City Center’s Fall for Dance and PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland.

She has performed at New York City Center, The White House, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Off- Broadway in Savion Glover’s Downtown: Live Communication. Ms. Casel also co-choreographed and was featured on PBS’ Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty. She has been creating and presenting her own works since 1999 in venues that include The Apollo, New York’s City Center, Aaron Davis Hall/The Gatehouse, The Lisner Auditorium, Lincoln Center – Out of Doors, Symphony Space, Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop, The Triad Theater and Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater.

Ms. Casel has appeared on the cover of Dance Spirit, American Theater Magazine, The Village Voice and has been fea- tured in many other magazine articles. She has worked and performed with the greatest tap dancers and companies including the late great Gregory Hines, Jazz Tap Ensemble, American Tap Dance Orchestra and Savion Glover as the only female in his company N.Y.O.T.s. (Not Your Ordinary Tappers). Her work has been presented nationally and inter- nationally, and she continues striving to make Tap Dancing a relevant presence in the arts.

Ayodele, also a Capezio Athlete, was featured alongside Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff in Off-Center Encores! Jamboree! at New York City Center and performed her work While I Have The Floor at City Center’s Fall for Dance 2016 season. Recent performances include the “Adelante Cuba!” Festival with Latin Jazz giant Arturo O’Farrill, the Broadway For Hillary Fundraiser at the St. James Theater in NYC for with Michael Mayer as director. She is on faculty at A Broader- Way and teaches regularly throughout the country. She is the co-director of Original Tap House and Operation: Tap.