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As part of our Dance of the African Diaspora programme, Joseph Toonga delivered a bespoke Masterclass specifically for dance artists looking to enhance their creative practice.

Joseph Toonga creates the kind of art that put change into motion and empowers the next generation of dancers. – Katie Hagan, Dance Art Journal

This Masterclass explored how Joseph works with dancers from different specialisms to create a unique movement language that seamlessly combines Hip Hop with contemporary.  Participants gained insight into how Joseph uses his artistic practice to connect to an array of social contexts.

The class began with Joseph’s intense, high impact warmup using Popping, Krump and Contemporary like you’ve never used them before. Participants were then be led through a series of artistic tasks, working on freestyle techniques to create original movement inspired by Hip Hop foundations. Joseph shared his methods of how to share and create a narrative through choreography, digging into participants’ own personal archive as stimuli.

To continue the learning, participants were offered the chance to apply to take part in DX’s first Remote Residency – a paid opportunity to test ideas and receive support from the DanceXchange Artist Development team.

This Masterclass was presented as part of Dance Insights ONLINE Autumn Programme and is presented in collaboration with One Dance UK

Key Information

When

Friday 30 October 2020

Where

Zoom

Joseph Toonga

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 is Artistic Director of his company Just Us Dance Theatre, through which he has established annual mentorship programmes developing and supporting emerging Hip Hop performers.

Joseph’s signature style is embedded in Hip Hop practices – combining the rawness, compactness and precision of Hip Hop with shapes and structures from contemporary choreography. His craftsmanship pushes the boundaries of Hip Hop theatre, utilising real life stories to explore and physicalise emotive themes relevant to today’s society.

In 2016, Joseph co-founded Artists 4 Artists with Emily Crouch and Lee Griffiths – the UK’s first artist led initiative working to raise the visibility of the Hip Hop sector through artist development, producer support and wider industry conversations. Joseph is at the forefront of change within dance. By bringing together different dance forms he creates work that is relatable, poignant and innovative.

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