Thu 13 February

Joseph Toonga: Born to Manifest

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Joseph Toonga is originally from the Cameroon and was raised in East London. He is a choreographer existing in different territories, creating nationally and internationally, touring his own work and being commissioned to create on others.Alongside extensive teaching and independent commissions, Joseph runs his dance company ‘Just Us Dance Theatre’ through which he has established annually running mentorship programmes developing and supporting young hip-hop performers.

Joseph’s signature style is embedded in the hip-hop form, combining the rawness, compactness and precision of hip-hop with shapes and structures from contemporary choreography. His craftsmanship pushes the boundaries and broadens the hip-hop form, utilising real life stories to explore and physicalise emotive themes relevant to today’s society, challenging proposals commonly used in hip hop dance.

Born to Manifest is Just Us Dance Theatre’s latest 60-minute hip hop programme which has been commissioned by DanceEast where Joseph is an Associate Artist, The Place and Redbridge Drama Centre and developed with Dance Base and B-Motion, Bassano.

You say I’m just a black guy. I know who I am, do you know who I am?’

‘Born to Manifest’ is a powerful new Hip – Hop dance double bill that illuminates the experiences of young black British men.

Joseph Toonga draws from real life accounts to a create a poignant, responsive piece that simultaneously champions cultural identity and challenges racial stigmas. Set to an original score from Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, this dynamic new dance work explores the power and privilege that still oppress and dictate.  Joseph delivers stark home truths through the complexity and beauty of an individual’s journey.

 ‘I feel a responsibility as a black male to empower the younger generation as a role model and example of how dance can provide a positive, successful route. Mental health and black men’s experiences of it, is little discussed, which is why I am passionate about creating awareness to shift stigmas’ – Joseph Toonga 2018.

Creative team

Choreographer – Joseph Toonga

Performer – Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade

Rehearsal Director – Ricardo Da Silva and Anthony Matsena

Producer – Emily Crouch

Dramaturg/outside eye – Peggy Olislaegers and Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy MBE

Composer – Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante