23/24 Annex Choreographer Joseph Toonga

Joseph Toonga originates from Cameroon and was raised in East London. Joseph makes and performs dance productions relevant to the here and now which are embedded in Hip Hop and inspired by real life stories. His craftsmanship and signature choreographic style challenges conventions commonly used in Hip Hop dance and shifts audience perceptions by addressing racial stigmas and societal stereotypes.

Commissions and stagings include Secret Cinema collaboration for the premiere of the French film Les Misérables;  Boston Conservatoire of Dance; Middlesex University; Codarts University of the Arts, Rotterdam; EDge; National Youth Ballet/ Bundesjugendballett in Hamburg, Germany; Richard Alston Dance Company Elephant in the Black Box;  Junior Ballet Madrid and East Wall with Hofesh Shechter. In Autumn 2021, Joseph was Movement Director for Fair Play, A Bush Theatre productoin by Ella Road.

Alongside extensive teaching and independent commissions,  Joseph runs his dance company, Just Us Dance Theatre, a collective founded in 2007 where he has established an ongoing international Artists Development Programme in Brazil and the UK’s first annual Hip Hop Apprenticeship company. He is also co-founder of artist-led hip-hop initiative, Artists4Artists.  Just Us Dance Theatre has recently been invited to join Arts council England’s NPO (National Portfolio Organisation), for which Joseph will combine the work of ‘Artists4Artists’ to build more cohesive progression routes for Hip Hop creatives.

Joseph has received the  Best Choreography Award Reverb Dance Festival (New York) and been an Associate Artist at DanceEast. 

In 2021, Joseph was appointed  the Royal Ballet’s first Emerging Choreographer where he is being mentored by Resident Choreographer, Wayne McGregor and creating work for the Royal Ballet and also working across departments on projects and has created numerous works for the Royal Ballet’s Draft Works and International Draft Works programmes.

In 2022, Joseph made a ballet for students of The Royal Ballet School and also created In Motion We Feel for English National Ballet School and made a new work for ballerina Natalia Osipova for the Room to Room film project produced by Ana Maria Lucaciu and Catarina Carvalho and created See Us! for the Royal Ballet’s Diamond Gala programme in November. 

In 2023/24 Joseph will create new works for Dutch National Ballet Jr., The Royal Ballet and for Canada’s Ballet BC.

Joseph Toonga. Image by Camilla Greenwell.