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Introducing Fulbright Scholar Oluwaseun Olayiwola

Fri 21 September 2018

Trinity Laban has welcomed a new Fulbright Scholar to the Faculty of Dance, choreographer and performer Oluwaseun ‘Sam’ Olayiwola.

Supported by a prestigious grant from the Fulbright Commission, Oluwaseun is now enrolled on the MFA Choreography at Trinity Laban. He says – 

“I’m really excited to be a student here at Trinity Laban and wouldn’t have been able to study here without the support of the Fulbright grant.

“I was impressed by the conservatoire’s reputation, had friends who studied here on summer programmes, and I generally just had a desire to study abroad. This is my first time leaving the US!

“Trinity Laban’s diverse faculty and ethos of experimentation and focus on research felt like a perfect fit, and so valuable for my choreographic career.

 “My BFA education was really broad, but here I’ll get to really focus on my choreographic voice. My current movement research focuses on the connection between identity and form, shape, presentation, and perception of the body – how the audience sees the performer, their body and their identity.”

As an advocate for the arts and a Nigerian-American artist now based in south London (traditionally the heart of the British-Nigerian community) Oluwaseun hopes to engage residents with dance during his two years in London, and contribute toward the Nigerian diaspora’s representation in the arts landscape. His long-term goals include both performance and choreography on the international stage, while continuing to teach.

Oluwaseun completed his four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Studies this year at the University of Texas at Austin after originally pursuing Computer Science as a major.

Having performed as a trombone player throughout childhood, his movement training began at the age of 14 when he joined his high school Colour Guard – the performers employed to enhance the meaning and feel of a marching band’s music through dance and flags, rifle or sabre spinning.

Through Colour Guard, he began informally training in lyrical, modern, and jazz idioms but began formally training in contemporary, ballet, and afro-forms during his undergraduate studies.

During his BFA, Oluwaseun bridged his interests in both choreography and education, teaching creative workshops and technique classes in Austin’s schools and colleges while presenting work in venues across the University of Texas, American College Dance Association and the Museum of Human Achievement.

This is the third year that Trinity Laban has worked with the Fulbright Commission to enable a US citizen to pursue postgraduate study. The inaugural recipient was University of South Florida alumnus Madison McGrew, who recently completed her MSc in Dance Science. 2017 Fulbright Scholar Roman Baca is currently in the second year of his MFA Choreography.

Applications for the Fulbright-Trinity Laban Award in Music and Dance 2019/20 are now open.