Diary of a Tap Dancer

SEP 16, 2021

I, Ayodele, am here today because of my intense need, desire, calling, responsibility to speak the names of Jeni Le Gon, Lois Bright, Louise Madison, Juanita Pitts, Alice Whitman, Cora LaRedd, Edwina (Salt) Evelyn, Jewel (Pepper) Welch, and the many many other Black women tap dancers from the 1920s and 50s whose stories have been lost to history.

Ayodele Casel

Hailed by the legendary hoofer 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,” Ayodele Casel is an internationally sought-after artist and a powerful voice for the art form.

In residence at Radcliffe as the 2019–2020 Frances B. Cashin Fellow, Casel worked on Diary of a Tap Dancer, a theatrical work positioning tap dance as its driving narrative force. This project aims to create a richer and more accurate picture of the art form by centering the voices of its too-often unnamed women practitioners within a broader historical context.

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; and professor of history, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Diary of a Tap Dancer (5:10)
Featuring Ayodele Casel, Andre Imanishi, and Andrea (Dre) Torres

Discussion (54:01)
Jeneé Osterheldt, culture writer, The Boston Globe

Audience Q&A (1:13:54)

For information about the Radcliffe Institute and its many public programs, visit

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