Joseph Toonga's Nationally acclaimed, Hip Hop Dance trilogy invites change, and a sense of overcoming stigmas society holds towards ethnic minorities. Analysing representation with an intersectional focus to show untold, underrepresented, individual journeys.
Born to Manifest is a powerful male duet that forms the first instalment of Joseph Toonga's trilogy.
For this work Joseph created his module for audience engagement right from the research phase of the work creating an online questionnaire & regional focus groups to capture real stories and ensure the relatability of his work.
In this work Joseph 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.
Choreographer – Joseph Toonga
Previous performers - Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade, Stefano A Addae, Dani Harris -Walters, Cache Thake
Rehearsal Director – Ricardo Da Silva
Producer – Emily Crouch
Dramaturg/outside eye – Peggy Olislaegers
Composer – Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Born to Protest is Joseph’s first outdoor work for his company Just Us Dance Theatre. It is part of a Hip Hop dance theatre trilogy he is creating to highlight black excellence and challenge racial stigma. It follows the male duet created in 2019 Born to Manifest that toured to 14 UK venues in 7 months in 2019/2020 illuminating the experiences of young black British men
Born to Protest aims to dismantle presumptions about the black male and female figure based on intimidation, danger and isolation, revealing instead character traits around fragility, vulnerability and a constant battle to prove oneself. This hypersensitivity of the black body in space is magnified by Born to Protest’s cast of seven performing en masse to a soundscape which sets up an intense energy with Hip Hop beats and voice over.
In 2021 Born to Protest was a Stomping Ground commission which is an initiative of The Place, DanceEast, DanceXchange and Greenwich & Docklands International Festival.
For 2022 Born to Protest was supported by XTRAX and toured to 14 locations in 5 months.
The work was transferred for an indoor version in 2021 to represent the UK in Breakin Conventions Netherlands tour.
It was also performed at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House in 2022 as part of Joseph Toonga's Insight's evening with Wayne McGregor.
The indoor version is 20 minutes. For more information on the work and engagement opportunities please contact Producer Emily Crouch.
22nd September 2022
4th October 2022
5th October 2022
10th October 2022
14th October 2022
Lakeside Arts, Nottingham
11th February 2023
Minerva Studio, Chichester
24th February 2023
1st March 2023
The Barbican, Plymouth
3rd March 2023
Pavilion Dance South West
4th March 2023
11th March 2023
23rd March 2023
Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury
25th March 2023
The Place, London
25th & 26th October 2022
Edge Hill University
27th October 2022
Aberystwyth Arts centre
15th November 2022
18th November 2022
25th November 2022
Joseph’s choreographic style is used as a conduit for trauma, fed through a vacuum of movement and given to audiences.
This work brings together a powerhouse of creatives, lighting design by Simisola Majekodunmi, an original score from Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and dramaturg Peggy Olislaegers and provides the platform for ultimate activism.
Alongside this theatre production Joseph is collaborating with three afro Brazilan female creatives to establish a social programme in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The progamme ‘Young, Gifted & Black’ works to support and empower low-income black female teenagers favela’s in Rio through dance.
“My job is to somehow make them curious enough and persuade them by nook or crook to get more aware of themselves, where they came from, what they are into and what is already there and to bring it out. This is what compels me to compel them and I will do it by what ever means necessary” Nina Simone, 1969
Commissioned by Theatre Boulevard, The Place & DanceEast, supported by Redbridge Drama Centre, South East Dance and the Arts Council England.
Creative Producer – Emily Crouch
Composer – Michael ‘Mikey J’Asante
Dramaturg – Peggy Olislaegers
Lighting Designer – Simisola Majekodunmi
Touring technician – Aisha Kent
Costume Designer – Jessica Xavier
Rehearsal Directors – Ricardo Da Silva
& Stefano A Addae
Performers – Aisha Webber, Amanda de Souza,
Leading image credit – Harrison Dante