Young dancer is living her dream

Omoniyi Osoba returns home to teach a summer intensive class at Pofahl Studios


Omoniyi Osoba, a master teacher, dancer and performer, instructs the advanced dance group at Pofahl Studios.

Erica Brough/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.

Gainesville's own Omoniyi Osoba is proof that a little girl's dreams can come true with dedication, commitment and perseverance, and nevermind the injuries.

Osoba, 24, is a professional dancer who performs across the nation and internationally with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, a contemporary modern dance company in Dallas.

And recently, she returned to Gainesville to teach a summer intensive at Pofahl Studios, the school where she started her dance training at 3 years of age. Pofahl is the resident school of the Dance Alive National Ballet, which she performed with last year in Russia.

Osoba is the oldest of three children of Pastors Babajide "BJ" Osoba and Teresa Osoba of Redeeming Faith and Anointing Church in southeast Gainesville. She graduated from Eastside High School and earned a bachelor's degree in dance education from Florida International University in Miami.

"I currently perform across the nation and internationally with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, which has been the highlight of my dancing career," she said. "I never really expected my love for dance to carry me this far. I have been blessed to travel the world, perform on numerous stages, teach and mentor younger students."

Osoba also teaches at the dance company in Dallas and she has taught ballet, jazz, modern and hip-hop at different studios, art academies and churches in Miami, Gainesville and Dallas.

Osoba said the dance performance industry is difficult to break into and not many small college towns produce entertainers.

"So everyday, I'm beyond thankful and recognize my blessings," said Osoba, who credits her family's support for helping her to make her dream a reality. "My mom is my biggest fan and manager," she said.

She loves to dance ballet and jazz and the injuries she has received over the years, including three that required surgery — two while in high school and one last year — has not discouraged her from her quest to become a professional dancer.

"It never crossed my mind to quit," Osoba said. "For me, there was never another option but to be somewhere in the dance world, whether teaching or dancing.

As a dancer, Osoba often has a full schedule of activities centered around her profession. She trains with a master teacher from 10-11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, followed by rehearsals from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., a break for lunch and then back to rehearsals from 2-5 p.m. On Saturdays, she teaches from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and performs at least every other weekend.

The new season of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre will begin in early September, with performances in Shreveport, La., followed by other performances in September in Jackson, Miss., and Richmond, Va., before returning back to Dallas for performances in early October.

Somewhere in her very busy schedule, Osoba will be making plans for an April wedding here in Gainesville.

Her advice to aspiring dancers is to stick with it, constantly train and attend summer intensives in dance. She recommends taking lessons with a variety of teachers to learn different techniques.

"You have to constantly train and perfect your craft and technique and work in your artistry, which is letting yourself come out on stage and embody whatever emotion you should be portraying, so you can be well-rounded and exposed to how the dance world is evolving."

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