December Dance Grad is Making His Way in the Charlotte Area

Alabi Orisadele leaping over the Firebird sculpture uptown.
Friday, December 1, 2023
Alabi Orisadele will graduate this month with degrees in dance and exercise science.

Growing up in the Raleigh suburb of Rolesville, North Carolina, Alabi Orisadele “danced in the mirror for fun,” but his physical focus was the year-round rigor of track and field and cross-country. So when he arrived at UNC Charlotte his freshman year, he chose Exercise Science for his academic home and the MOVE Dance Alliance student organization for recreation. 

“During my first semester, I met a group of amazing people and was convinced to become a dance major,” he says. “I haven't looked back since.”

Alabi Orisedele in the center of three dancers performing on stage

Alabi Orisadele, center, performing "Adorations Reimagined" in the Fall 2023 Student Dance Concert. Photo by Kat Lawrence.

Alabi will graduate this month with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. In his four years at UNC Charlotte, he has developed skills in a wide range of dance techniques, from African Brazilian to contemporary to the classical modernism of Martha Graham. Campus concerts – such as his brilliant performance of Professor Kim Jones’ staging of Graham’s “Adorations Reimagined” in the Fall 2023 Student Dance Concert – have been augmented by professional performances in city venues, like the holiday cirque show “Clara’s Trip” at the Blumenthal’s Booth Playhouse, and dance festivals, like the Loose Leaves Showcase at Open Door Studios.

“I’m slowly but surely making my way in the greater Charlotte area,” he says.

Alabi Orisedele leaping in downtown CharlotteAs a dance major, Alabi’s concentration is in applied dance, which encourages the application of dance in interdisciplinary collaborations and community settings. Two professional internships have already provided opportunities to put studio and classroom lessons to work. In Spring 2021, he interned at INTRO Talent Branding & Management Agency, a local talent agency for actors, musicians, models, and dancers. Last summer, he interned with Barre Belle Ballet, teaching summer camp to children aged five through 12 at the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope Women & Children’s Center.

“I introduced them to different styles of dance – West African, salsa, jazz, etc. – making sure everyone had a good time. They wanted an outlet to express themselves, and I was glad to provide that.”

Throughout his four years at Charlotte, Alabi has balanced the demands of two degree programs and building a dance resume with a campus job in Housing and Residence Life, working in multiple dorms as a desk assistant.

“It’s a nice way to get close to the residents and make sure they feel more at home,” he says.

Recently Alabi has become certified to teach for Socafit USA, a Charlotte-based Caribbean dance fitness program. He’ll also return to Barre Belle to teach some classes and will even be back on campus after graduation to play a “frat boy” in the College of Arts + Architecture’s spring production of “Legally Blonde.”

Eventually, he says he will go to graduate school, perhaps in applied kinesiology, so that he can blend the training he has received in his two degrees.

“I love seeing how dance and exercise science connect to each other and expand on each other and would love to demonstrate how working in specific ways can produce benefits for both dancers and athletes.”

Photos of Alabi Orisadele in uptown Charlotte by Amy Hart.

This article is one of a series spotlighting December graduates across the University.