When you’re at a polka dance with a bunch of Czechs and Germans, it doesn’t take long to notice the guy from Nigeria. Oluwadamilare Adeyeri—'damilare for short—was at the Mollie B Polka Party Taping in Ennis, March 8-11, helping out with tickets, taking photos and giving dance lessons. Of course, I had to find out how he got involved with polka dancing.
Where in Nigeria are you originally from?
I was born in Akure, Ondo State in the South-west part of Nigeria but have lived and traveled across different parts of the country.
When did you come to the U.S.?
I initially came to the U.S. in the summers of 2008 and 2009, for an exchange program and then back again in 2010 for graduate school.
Ohio, right? Where in Ohio?
I currently live in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Why did you come here?
When I first came in 2008 and 2009, I was on educational and cultural exchange through the International YMCA Camp Counselor Program, which brings young people from different parts of the world to work with children in U.S. summer camps to teach Americans about international people and cultures as well as for us to learn about U.S. culture. I returned to Nigeria both years at the end of the summer camps, until January 2010 when I came back to the U.S. to work on a Master's degree in Cross-cultural and International Education at Bowling Green State University, where I currently am.
How did you get involved in polka dancing?
Mid last year, I was invited by my friend who is a former professor at the university to one of the polka events at the Bavarian Haus in Deshler, OH. From there, I connected with another couple who are retired professors from the university who keep me posted on polka events in the area.
Why do you like to dance polka?
It's a combination of things I enjoy very much. I enjoy dancing and engaging with different cultures and polka dancing enables these. My dance background actually covers social dancing, teaching, and performing across different dance genres, including Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Swing, Chacha, Waltz, Argentine Tango, Samba, AfroCuban, and African dance medleys.
When did you start working with Mollie B Polka Party staff?
I do not work as a regular staff for the Mollie B Polka Party. I met Mollie B in July last year at the Hamler Summer Fest in Hamler Ohio, which I attended and her band SqueezeBox had played. We exchanged contacts, later became friends, and continued to be in touch since then. Earlier this year, Mollie asked me if I could be available to be part of the Ennis, TX tapings and it worked out with my schedule.
What are your job duties?
As a fill-in volunteer for the tapings of the Mollie B Polka Party at Ennis, TX, I covered various duties as required. I, however, mainly helped with ticketing at the door and photography of the event for the four days. I also filled in at the pre-party dance lessons when needed and had a great time dancing and being part of the dancing crowd at the parties.
Polka on 'damilare!