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Published on: Wednesday December 9, 2020

Hip Hop dance artists announced for new  ‘Roaming Dance’ commission for Birmingham International Dance Festival 2021

DanceXchange and Punch are delighted to announce that Hip Hop artists Joseph ToongaEmma Houston and Bellatrix have been commissioned to deliver two projects for ‘Roaming Dance’, one of six large-scale commissions through Gallery37 North.

‘Roaming Dance’ is planned to culminate in summer 2021 with a performance in an outdoor place or unusual space in North-West Birmingham, as part of Birmingham International Dance Festival  (BIDF). Emma Houston, Bellatrix and Joseph Toonga will be joined by early career artist Omar Spence who will take up an artist-development opportunity offered as part of the project.

Lucie Mirkova, Head of Artistic Programmes at DanceXchange said:

We are thrilled to be co-commissioning these three inspirational Hip Hop artists to work in North West Birmingham for BIDF 2021 and the Gallery37 North initiative. This partnership with Punch Records supports our curatorial priorities for the festival, taking inspirational dance out into communities to make meaningful connections with local people. We’re excited to see where these collaborations lead us!

Go here for full details of the commission and biographies of the artists


Joseph Toonga said:

I’m very excited to be able to work with artists from Birmingham and look forward to sharing experiences together and seeing how we can express that through dance. Hopefully through this commission I can give not only myself but the dance community in Birmingham a chance to showcase our talent and build a network together for future work.


Emma Houston commented:

We are beyond excited to have been offered this opportunity. We’re looking forward to working together, connecting and collaborating with new people in Birmingham, and getting to know the city better. It’s super affirming to be given the chance to bring this project to life, and it’s also a big opportunity for us as professional artists.

Talking about the artist development role Omar Spence said:

I feel ecstatic to have been given this opportunity, even more so considering who I’ve been paired up to work with. I look forward to learning more about producing, organising, performing and choreographing at such a high level and hope to bring all the knowledge I can back to my peers, crew and students.


‘Roaming Dance’ is one of a series of six commissions to be delivered in North West Birmingham, that will collectively launch the three-year GALLERY37 NORTH (G37n) arts residency programme for young people led by Punch Records and Saathi House.

Keep up to date on ‘Roaming Dance’ at (which launches a new festival site in the New Year) and at Gallery37n

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