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Dance Insights Online returned in Autumn 2020 with a curated programme celebrating Dance of the African Diaspora (DAD), in collaboration with One Dance UK.

This programme contained a Dance on Screen YouTube Premiere and Live Q&A, as well as a panel discussion.


A presentation of dance work made for the screen curated by internationally acclaimed artist Joseph Toonga (Artistic Director of Just Us Dance Theatre), showcasing outstanding choreographers Jade Hackett (UK) and Renann Fontoura (Brazil) alongside an exclusive online presentation of his own work, Born To Manifest.

Key Information


Wednesday 28 October 2020


Youtube Premiere


Joseph Toonga (UK), Artistic Director of Just Us Dance Theatre

‘You say I’m a black guy. I know who I am, do you know who I am?’

BORN TO MANIFEST is a new four-part film series created as a collaborative project during the COVID-19 lockdown that responds to an earlier Hip Hop theatre work Born to Manifest by Joseph Toonga, Artistic Director of Just Us Dance Theatre.

A powerful Hip Hop dance double bill, the original theatrical production, Born to Manifest premiered in November 2019, and illuminates systemic racism and its impact on Black British Men.  Joseph Toonga draws from real life accounts to a create a poignant, responsive piece that simultaneously champions cultural identity and challenges racial stigmas. Set to an original score from Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, this dynamic new dance work explores the themes of mental health and the power and privilege that still oppress and dictate. Joseph delivers stark home truths through the complexity and beauty of an individual’s journey.


Jade Hackett (UK)

Why do I love us so much? premiered online in September 2020. The piece was created during the COVID-19 lockdown by choreographer and artistic director Jade Hackett, in response to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the repeated trauma of seeing black people suffer at the hands of those in power.  Why do I love us so much? shifts the narrative of what has been seen on screens around the world in recent months and is a celebration of black culture and communities.

Jade Hackett is an Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Performer based in East London. Her work spans both commercial/pop promo and theatre, both in a live and filmed capacity. Previous credits include: Adidas, House of Holland, T4, Panasonic, London 2012, Boy Blue, Zoonation, Blaze, The Sugababes, Blackstreet and Lethal B. Jade specialises in Hip Hop, Locking, Popping, House, Afro Dance, Tap and Lindy Hop. Her body of dance work is Black culturally inspired and explores themes including women, freedom of speech and mass incarceration.


Renann Fontoura (Brazil)

“Caput, head, he who has neither name nor voice, the indeterminate behind the mask. “

Caput is a dance video work created remotely during the Covid 19 pandemic, a dance work produced from video to video that seeks to communicate contemporary issues related to our relationship with self-image, information and new technologies of communication.

Using the body language of the interpreter Leonardo Laureano, developed through experience in various dances from the African diaspora (Hip Hop, House, Krump, Breakin’, etc …), and from a perspective derived from performing arts and contemporary dance lines, we developed an experimental language with a focus on subjectivity, in an attempt to bring the viewer closer to these different artistic lines and incite critical sense. Having the concern of leaving a space, through subjective and abstract language, so that each viewer can create their own narrative interpretation, or not.

Renann Fontoura is a Brazilian dancer and choreographer whose practice investigates improvisation using Hip Hop and Popping techniques. His work has been commissioned by numerous festivals including Alkantara Festival Space (Portugal) and Festival Danca em Transit (Brazil), and he is co-founder of Abstracto – an annual event that brings together musicians and dancers to test ideas and hold artistic experiments in front of an audience.

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Discussion: Contemporary vs Tradition

A lively panel discussion on the topic of  ‘Contemporary vs Tradition: navigating through contemporary spaces.’

Bringing together some of the UK’s most exciting talent working within Dance of the African Diaspora, including Alleyne Dance, Dickson Mbi, Joseph Toonga and Alesandra Seutin, this session invites artists to reflect on their experiences of making work that spans indoor and outdoor spaces, connecting with audiences and navigating perceptions of their practice as Black dance makers.  The discussion will be facilitated by ACE dance & music’s Oluwatoyin Odunsi (Board Member) and Iona Waite (Education Officer).

This event  is presented as part of Dance Insights Online Autumn Programme and is presented in collaboration with One Dance UK

Key Information


Friday 6 November 2020



Alleyne Dance

Alleyne Dance is a UK based company with an international reach, founded in 2014 by sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. The choreographic aesthetic reflects the sisters diverse background in athleticism and dance training. Within their abstract contemporary construct, Alleyne Dance blend Afro-Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills, delivered as fast-paced and dynamic movement. They infuse lyrical and fluid motion, layered with rhythm and textures in physically powerful, yet graceful performances.

Alleyne Dance has received over 15 choreographic commissions and the company’s current productions, A Night’s Game and The Other Side of Me, have been touring internationally for several years. In autumn 2020, Alleyne Dance will be releasing a new short interactive Dance film named, (Re)United.

The company’s participation work has been delivered in a range of settings around the world and is designed to support the individual’s creative mind, passion, determination, strength, and most importantly, their intention and belief in themselves. During the global pandemic, Krisitna and Sadé launched an online home workout series named, Alleyne Sisters Workout.

In 2020 Krisitna and Sadé were jointly awarded Best female Dancer of the year for their performance A Night’s Game in Impulstanz Vienna 2019, awarded by Kritikerumfrage-Jahrbuch 2020 (Critic Survey – Yearbook 2020), Publishedby Der Theaterverlag, Tanz Jahrbuch 2020 magazine.

Dickson Mbi

Dickson, studied at Lewisham College and London Contemporary Dance School. A world-renowned dancer in the Hip Hop dance community for his popping skills, which is integral to his work today he has worked with awarding artists like Russell Maliphant and Boy Blue Entertainment. He featured in the Lucozade Revive advertisement in 2012, nominated for ‘Best Achievement in Dance’ at the UK Theatre Award, ‘Emerging Artist’, ‘Outstanding Male Performer (Modern)’ at the National Dance Awards Critic Circle 2017 and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for the ‘Times Breakthrough Artist’ 2018.

Alesandra Seutin

International performer, choreographer and teacher Alesandra, daughter to South African and Belgian parents, was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. She grew up in Brussels and now lives between Brussels and London  She holds a Diploma in dance theatre from Laban and a degree in choreography and performance from Middlesex University in London. Alesandra also further trained at the École des Sables, Senegal and became a student of Germaine Acogny, training directly under Acogny. Alesandra is a worldwide ambassador of the Acogny technique, which she teaches at Ecole des Sables and globally.

Alesandra has performed for several noted artists including, Johnathan Burrows, Matteo Fargion, Helge Lentonja, Rosemary Lee, Hugo Glendinnings, Germaine Acogny and Rafael Bonachela, to name a few. She has been working on a new work Dear Winnie for JR.CE.SA.R supported by KVS & NNT, which has toured in Holland 2019-2020, will resume tour in Belgium 2020-21 and internationally in 2022.

As Artistic Director and Choreographer Alesandra has created work for Phoenix Dance Theatre, Trinity Laban, 12º North Dance, State of Emergency and 3rdEDge, and she will be a Guest Artistic Director for the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) 2020-21.  Alesandra also works as a facilitator and teacher leading intensive workshops and classes internationally for professional companies, dance organisations and training institutions in Europe and Africa.

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.

Masterclass with Joesph Toonga

A bespoke masterclass delivered by Joseph Toonga specifically for dance artists looking to enhance their creative practice.  A professional development opportunity where participants will explore everything from the choreographic process to techniques for working with dancers from different specialisms.

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.

Learn more about the artists chosen