In tenacious pursuance of a promising future, a former child dancer Olasunkanmi Ojuade turned Professor of dance studies on Thursday, November, 2021.
The former child dancer who now teaches in the Performing Arts Department, Faculty of Arts, delivered the 208th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin entitled ‘Dance is Life, Life is Dance: A Cyclical Nature of Man on Earth’ at the university’s auditorium.
As a child dancer, Ojuade was part of the troupe that danced at the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) held in Nigeria in 1977. He began dancing with his father’s troupe at the age of four in the early 1970s.
He was the youngest member of the National Theatre of Nigeria which represented Nigeria at the XII Commonwealth Games and Festival in Brisbane, Australia (1982) and a performance tour of the Federal Republic of South Korea in 1983. He has been a guest lecturer at Ivy League universities in the US and elsewhere. He also featured in local, state, national and international performances and competitions.
It’s a remarkable achievement for Ojuade, who has proceeded to fulfill the promise he showed back then as a child dancer by attaining the highest rank in academia.
Ojuade joined the University of Ilorin as Assistant Lecturer in 2001, and through his passion for knowledge and love for dance became elevated to a professorial chair on 1st October, 2017, as he established himself as an eminent authority in dance theory and praxis.
Three days after delivering his inaugural lecture at “Better by Far” university, the child dancer turned professor was installed as the Aare Alasa of Ifetedo, Osun State, on November 13.
The Olubosin of Ifetedo, Oba Akinola Oyetade Akinrera (Latiri 1), conferred the chieftaincy on him at a ceremony that was attended by family members, friends, colleagues, students, and people of goodwill.
The title affirms Ojuade’s calling as an artist and scholar. The Aare Alasa is the President General in charge of culture, arts, tourism and festivals in the kingdom. He oversees them and channels them for the development of the kingdom.
Professor Jeleel Olasunkanmi Ojuade was born on April 18, 1969 in Ifetedo, Osun State, Nigeria. Ojuade is a researcher and dancer, specializing in Yoruba Bata and Dundun dances. He holds a PhD in Performance Studies (Dance) from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. His other qualifications include LL.B (Hons) in Common Law, LL.M with Copyright Laws and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. He was called into the Nigerian Bar in 2009.
Photo Credit: TCN