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DR Adesola AkinLEYE

Dr Adesola Akinleye is a choreographer artist-scholar. She began her career dancing with Dance Theatre of Harlem later working in UK Companies, and running her own dance foundation in 2000s. Currently she is a Theatrum Mundi Fellow & a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University. She creates works from live performance (often site-specific involving a cross-section of the community) to films, & text. Her work is characterized by an interest in voicing peoples lived-experiences through moving portraiture. Her process is the artistry of opening-up creative practices to everyone from ballerinas to low waged women to young audiences. She has won awards internationally for her dance works, as well as published in the areas of dance and cultural studies. For more visit DancingStrong Movement Lab

Making performance work for young audiences 


This strand of Adesola Akinleye’s work develops and presents dance-performance for young children and their families. This work draws on the visual arts and the interactive nature of installation along with dance performance, in order to explore ways to introduce young people to a multi-dimensional relationship with the arts, crossing art form boundaries. 


Over the past 8 years Adesola toured three works for children: 


Rose's Jingle Dress was commissioned by State of Emergency and was toured across England September – November 2010. The work was created for Young Audience and their families. Performed in the round the work is interactive. The dance performance piece tells the story of a young girl, Rose, who has been left a jingle dress by her Grandmother. But it does not have jingles any more. With the help of two friends she finds the jingles she needs to complete the dress. The work encourages young people to work with their environment to find their own voice just as Rose finds the jingles to give her dress a voice. With music by Omaha Whitetail, Northern Style Side Step, and other original music by Angeline Conaghan. Development for the piece took place with Pembury House Children's Centre, Trottiscliffe Primary School and MTYP summer workshop (CA). "The children were entranced throughout" John Ashford 


Light Steps is a 40-minute music & dance performance aimed at children aged 2-5 years in family and pre-school audiences. Light Steps centres on an endearing bear, Alex, explorating of the changing light of day. Alex’s journey is overseen by three friends (two dancers and a musician) whose movement, music and dance mirror Alex’s feelings and curiosity as he experiences the journey of the sun across the sky. Beginning with first light, the dance and music (a profoundly beautiful live soundtrack by Jacob Alexander) track the sun’s strengthening over the course of the morning, the cloud at midday, the tide coming in in the afternoon and finally the beautiful sunset. Alex’s day is an adventure in colour, music and dance which children can enjoy and participate in, free to be themselves. The work is still available for touring. 

Found is an engaging and lively 40-minute music & dance performance aimed at children aged 4-7 years in family and pre-school audiences. With live music and an invitation to audiences to play and participate, Found looks at what connects us to 

each other and our surroundings drawing on stories of discovery, exploration and travel. Two dancers adrift on their own islands enter a magical world where connections become visible as soundwaves ripple through bodies and lines and angles converge in new journeys and forms. 


Inspired by selected museum objects, Found was created through residencies with three Primary schools to provide an adventure in colour, line, music and dance which children can enjoy and participate in, free to be themselves. The work is still available for touring. 

Re: “Narratives in Black British dance: embodied practices ”

Edited by Adesola Akinleye, PG Cert HE, MA(Dist), FHEA, PhD, FRSA


This book explores Black British dance from a number of previously untold perspectives. It brings together the voices of 17 different practitioners identifying with Black, British and dance, including dance-artists, scholars, teachers and choreographers.

Although the book deals with the theme of “Black British Dance”, it is not only of relevance to those involved in the dance community as it challenges the proposition that Blackness, Britishness and Dance are monolithic entities.


“This is a timely, even crucial, anthology – a contribution to the emergent canon of scholarly work revealing Africanist cultural streams which, though “invisibilized” in a European post-colonial world, are alive and well, despite systemic racism and xenophobic exclusionism. Narratives in Black British Dance is a rich and varied category, and home base to embodied scholarships, performance, choreography and research by a cadre of gifted practitioners. It has a history. It has a present and a presence. It deserves attention.”

Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Professor Emerita of Dance Studies, Temple University, USA


“An urgent offering to the expanding field of Dance Studies! Exploring a range of artistic practices from a variety of perspectives, this volume affirms the deep histories of the embodied arts in Black Britain.”

Thomas F DeFrantz, Founding Director of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance


Please feel free to contact Dr Akinleye if you have any questions or queries.



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