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Just Us Dance Theatre's new hip-hop dance experience

Published: 4 August 2019
Reporter: Vera Liber

Just Us Dance Theatre's new hip-hop contemporary dance experience Born To Manifest, a hip hop contemporary dance work exploring the experiences of young black British men, will have an autumn première at Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich and a UK tour.

Real life accounts from black men across London put cultural identity, the challenging of racial stigmas and the mental health agenda centre stage. Joseph Toonga’s choreography includes a solo for himself and a duet performed with Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade.

Producer, composer and DJ Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, co-artistic director of Boy Blue Entertainment, has created an original score for Born To Manifest which includes Toonga’s voice and sounds from his home and his culture.

Toonga has worked with three associates on the creation of Born To Manifest: Dutch dance dramaturge Peggy Olislaegers, co-artistic director of Blue Boy Entertainment Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and choreographer Sir Richard Alston.

Toonga set up Just Us Dance Theatre, based in East London, in 2007 with Ricardo Da Silva and Rudeen February. It has established two mentoring programmes, Lets Shine and New&Notable, to provide pportunities for young emerging hip-hop dance theatre artists.