Joseph Toonga channels the experiences of young Black British men in this fierce, dynamic dance performance. The show begins with the lone figure of Toonga and some harshly suggestive audio: ape noises, gunshots, the sounds of police making arrests. It’s a dramatization of stigma, with racial identity the site of both oppression and pride. Soon, another man appears, and from there, the production becomes a kind of physical dialogue: the two dancers move both with and against each other, in gestures that are by turns combative and conciliatory.
Set to an original score by Mikey J and marked by the idioms of street dancing, Born to Manifest draws on styles like krump, and also on the martial arts moves that influenced urban dance at the point of its inception; the result is an exhilarating fusion. What these two performers achieve with their leaps, rolls, and contortions is a kinetic expression of resistance—a glorious act of assertion. There will be a post-show chat after the January 26 performance, moderated by Gabrielle Martin.
Presented by the PuSH International Performing Arts Festival.