Choreographer Joseph Toonga works at the forefront of Hip Hop in the UK and internationally.  He describes himself as being in a continual search for an authentic reason to choreograph, and frequently draws on real life stories which make his work resonate with people under-represented in audiences for mainstream arts.  Originally from Cameroon and living in East London, Joseph rose to prominence on the wave of the exciting British Hip Hop scene.  His authentic dance performances and widely admired artist development work have encouraged artists and companies from the wider mainstream (eg Hofesh Schechter, Richard Alston and Bush Theatre) to collaborate with him.  In 2021, Joseph was welcomed to the Royal Ballet as Emerging Choreographer on a two year creative development programme which provides creation opportunities with dancers from one of the world’s leading ballet companies, mentoring from Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor, and shadowing opportunities with the Company’s associated and visiting international choreographers.

Joseph Toonga‘s latest piece is Born to Exist – the woman I know, the final part of his acclaimed Hip Hop dance trilogy that aims to challenge racial stigma.  Born to Exist analyses representations of women of colour through the individual stories of immigrants to the UK, and draws on the collected experiences of the  female cast and Joseph’s memories of growing up with resilient, independent-minded female relations.  Joseph Toonga uses his activist choreographic style to go beyond the cultural trope of the “strong black woman” to dismantle presumptions about female physicality, and invite change.  Born to Exist is touring this autumn and in February/March 2023.

Following its phenomenal touring record in 2021, Toonga’s outdoor work Born to Protest is also on the road.  Exploring the hypersensitivity of the black male figure, five dancers create an intense energy performing en masse to Hip Hop beats.

Upcoming Dates:

4 October                        Oxford Playhouse Born to Exist
5 October                        Connaught Theatre Worthing Born to Exist
10 October                      Norwich Playhouse Born to Exist
14 October                      Lowry Salford Born to Exist
18 October                      Lakeside Arts Nottingham Born to Exist
20 October                      The Anatomy Rooms Aberdeen (part of Dance Live) Born to Exist
25 & 26 October     
       The Place London Born to Exist
27 October                      Edge Hill Arts Centre Ormskirk Born to Exist
15 November                  Aberystwyth Arts Centre Born to Exist
25 November                  DanceEast Ipswich Born to Exist

Promoters’ packs: Born to Protest Born to Exist

Trailers:   Born to Protest  Born to Exist – the woman I know