A Reggae Revolution

Ayodola A. Adigun '06

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Ayodola A. Adigun ’06 didn’t think of herself as much of a dancer when she came to Harvard. She’d been doing ballet for 10 years, but her heart wasn’t really in it. She was a star soccer player, not a twinkle-toed ballerina.

Then, she saw a music video by Sean Paul, and everything changed.

Smiling, Adigun settles into a Dunster dining room couch, remembering her first semester of her freshman year.

“I remember the day. It was a Sean Paul, ‘Give Me The Light’ video,’” she says. “I realized there was another aspect of dancing.”

And that was that. She was hooked. The ballet shoes went to the attic, and while the soccer ball stayed out for another two years, Adigun’s course as a hip hop and reggae dancer was set.

Today, she’s the Director of the Caribbean Club Dance Troupe, as well as the President of the Caribbean Club.

“I first attempted reggae and hip-hop at Harvard and I found I was really good at it,” she says without bragging, recalling the joy of discovering her talent.

Reggae and hip hop gradually consumed her life, and she soon found herself a different person.

“My first dancing experience in front of a crowd was at Harvard,” she says. “I used to be a shy, introverted person.”

That changed quickly, according to her freshman-year roommate and current blockmate Margaret C.D. Barusch ’06, who says Adigun’s loud, unapologetic dance practice didn’t always make their neighbors happy. She and Adigun threw dance study breaks during freshman year, turning the music up so loud that other buildings sometimes called in noise complaints.

Adigun and Lisa E. J. Gordon ’06, now the co-director of the Caribbean Dance Troupe, connected through dancing.

“Ayo and I hit if off well because we both breathe dancing,” Gordon writes in an e-mail. “It was definitely the way we communicated about life. We danced. Ayo and I have had conversations with each other in the middle of high energy pieces on stage by the way we move.”

But Adigun’s not just passionate about her dancing. Last summer, she worked with AIDS-afflicted children at a nursery in Trinidad. When she gets older, she says she wants to set up a medical practice in a third-world country.

But she won’t forget Sean Paul. Her future plans naturally include dancing. “I’m always dancing. I love to dance,” she says. After med school, she plans to set up a dance studio alongside her practice. Give me the light, indeed.

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