Fondly known as “Mr. Yao”, Yao E. Odamtten (pronounced oh-DAM-tin) is passionate about the healthy physical and psychosocial power of dance to transform both lives and society.
Mr. Yao’s rich interdisciplinary career has always been a dance – spanning the fashion world of Yves Saint Laurent, to international development with the UN/World Bank/IMF, to brand development with Fortune 100 companies, to integrative medicine and dance.
Mr. Yao began training in West African movement in his native Ghana. He then trained in classical ballet, modern, Afro-Caribbean/Asian movement styles, and dance pedagogy at Hamilton College under Bruce Walczyk, Elaine Heekin, and Leslie Norton. There, he explored the socio-historical, technical, scientific, and creative elements of dance and the human body. At Hamilton, he also gained expertise in curriculum development from Prof. Barb Tewksbury. He credits additional coaching from Vincent Williams and Dr. Rima Faber. Later, he expanded his technical training in Horton, Límon, Bartenieff, and Release Techniques with Desmond Richardson at The Ailey School, Garth Fagan (Tony Award-winning choreographer, The Lion King), and Dr. Elana Anderson. He was the Youth Dance Manager for Bono’s Heartland of America Tour.
Mr. Yao has a BA in World Politics from Hamilton College, an MA in International Affairs and from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and received his license as a Chronic Disease Health-Nutrition educator from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Currently, he is the Health-Nutrition/Disease Risk Reduction Specialist and Psychosocial-Physical Therapist in the Pediatrics/Child Health Department at Howard University School of Medicine and Howard University Hospital. He concurrently teaches for The Washington School of Ballet, Maryland Youth Ballet, Joy of Motion Dance Center, and for the District of Columbia Public School system.
Photo by XMB Photography.