Deeper Duet: Izaiah Harris + Ayodele Casel

Jun. 28, 7:00 pm EDT

$10 – $15

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“The Relevance of Tap Dance through Time: Tap dance is a culture that is once again stepping into the limelight, but we should always remember it was never—and never will be—a dying art form. In this conversation, we shall talk about how tap dance has thrived since the dawn of its creation.” Izaiah Harris

Deeper Duets engage two special guests in lively and provocative conversation about artistic life, artistic practice and the urgent social concerns that drive creative expression.

In this iteration Izaiah Harris and Ayodele Casel, two phenoms of tap dance from different generations, join us for a lively conversation about the arc of their careers, mentorship, musicianship, and the remarkable advances in the fortunes of their art form.


Izaiah Montaque Harris’s recent highlights include tap dancing and singing with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band at Fotografiska’s Lady Day Tribute, tap dancing with Music From the Sole in their Works in Progress show at Chelsea Factory, performing as Male Ensemble in Tap Dance Kid at New York City Center, Demetrius in Midsummer A SHAKESPEARIENCE, becoming an alumni of the 2021 Jacob’s Pillow Tap Ensemble Intensive, and entertaining on Norwegian Cruise Line’s performing After Midnight as Tap Mathematician. Izaiah was awarded “Outstanding Actor” at the 2018 Black Theater Alliance Awards and won “Best Ensemble” at the 2019 Jeff Awards. Izaiah studied at Columbia in Chicago and was promoted company member in MADD Rhythms’ tap company.


Ayodele Casel, an award-winning “tap dancer and choreographer of extraordinary depth” (The New York Times) and one of The New York Times‘ “Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019,” most recently served as Tap Choreographer for the highly anticipated Broadway revival of Funny Girl.

She also 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. 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 of her work, which is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication.

Ayodele is Artist in Residence at Little Island, a new outdoor performance park on the Hudson, and was on the Artist Council for NY Pops Up!, a New York State lead initiative to jumpstart live performances in NYC during the pandemic. 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.

Ayodele Casel, “a tap dancer of fine-grained musicianship” (The New Yorker) collaborated with legendary Latin jazz composer Arturo O’Farrill premiering a show at The Joyce Theater to sold-out audiences and “making a triumphant debut as a leader there” (The New York Times) in September of 2019.

The 2017 recipient of the “Hoofer Award” and 2018-2019 Artist in Residence at Harvard University, Ayodele is a native New Yorker and began her professional training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is also a graduate of The William Esper Studio in NYC, having studied directly with the masterful William Esper.

Ayodele premiered her one-woman show, While I Have The Floor, at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. Her work is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, she was selected to create an interactive performance engaging NYC communities for their inaugural “On The Move” 5 borough tour. Ayodele also served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s musical Really Rosie for its Encores! Off Center under the direction of Leigh Silverman, a soloist for Jeanine Tesori’s Jamboree, a soloist at Fall For Dance, and a soloist for ¡Adelante Cuba! 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 steadfastly become an internationally sought after artist and powerful voice for the art form.

Gibney encourages people with disabilities to attend online offerings, and we welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. This event features live ASL interpreters and live captioning. If you have any questions or additional access needs, please email us at or call us at 212-677-8560 (voice only) at least 24 hours in advance of the event you plan to attend.

Photo (left) of Izaiah Harris by Nate Crossley. Photo (right) of Ayodele Casel courtesy of the artist.