Fellows' Presentation, Lectures

Diary of a Tap Dancer

2019–2020 Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in the Arts and Humanities
Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Part of the 2019–2020 Fellows' Presentation Series

Lecture by Ayodele Casel RI '20

Free and open to the public.


During her fellowship, Ayodele Casel is working on Diary of a Tap Dancer, a theatrical work positioning tap dance as the driving force of the narrative. This project aims to create a fuller and more accurate picture of the legacy of the art form by centering the voices of its unnamed women within a broader historical context. Diary explores shared themes of hoofers past and present with stories illuminating the struggle and joy of expression, communication, the evolution of jazz music, gender inequality, and the personal and culturally devastating implications for women of color. How do we maintain the legacy of an art form if its historical and social contexts are not inclusive?


The Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in the Arts and Humanities was established to honor the late Julia S. Phelps, longtime instructor in the Radcliffe Seminars, and is supported by the generous contributions of her family, friends, and colleagues.