On Friday 15 September, DanceEast and Roman River Music Festival will present a beautiful afternoon of dance and live music in the spectacular location of St Martin’s Church, Colchester.
Dance maker Joseph Toonga will showcase his work To Be Felt, performed by a group of dynamic dancers against the backdrop of charismatic cellist Matthew Sharp. Sharp will perform a short programme of works including Bach, Britten and Giovanni Sollima, providing the setting for Toonga’s choreographic mash-up of dance genres. Billed as an emerging dance-maker, Toonga’s previous accolades suggest this choreographic talent is well-established, and not one to miss.
As an award-winning choreographer, Toonga, who works in a unique contemporary and hip-hop fusion style, has previously presented sell-out performances of To Be Felt at Orford Church on the Suffolk coast as part of the Britten Dances weekend. Toonga’s work at Orford Church was a huge success, and featured pieces set to works by Bach, Volan, Lutoslawki and Britten, accompanied by cellist Leonard Elschenbroich.
In 2015, Toonga was the first recipient of DanceEast’s Choreographic Development Award, enabling his continued artistic development and the creation of To Be Felt. Following an open call for submissions, over 60 applications were received from UK-based choreographers, working across all dance genres and contexts. Toonga was awarded a total of £5,000, thanks to a generous legacy gift from David Andren and individual donations. The Choreographic Award may be used for research and development, or as a contribution towards making a dance work. The aim of the award is to nurture and develop choreographic talent and offers space, time and resources.
To Be Felt was originally commissioned in 2016 by DanceEast with generous support from the St Bartholomew’s Church David Andren Legacy.