HYDERABAD: Incredibly fast and quick movements are what you observe when you ask Tony Adigun to strike a pose or do a little jig for the photo-op outside the hotel they are staying at. After much coaxing he complies leaving the photographers to capture the moment quickly.
The London-based choreographer Tony Adigun’s introduction to dance, more so hip hop was inevitable as it was something he was surrounded with. “I grew up in Hackney area of London. And hip hop in that sense, the culture, I was in it. The street dance is what I started with before starting to do hip hop professionally. I think that was the turning point as well for the company,” says Tony who soon grew bored of the same old dance routine that he was doing commercially which is what led to his dance company Avant Garde Dance in 2001. “As a choreographer I want to dabble in different realms, the lighting, architecture, concept which wasn’t really happening when I was hired as a dancer,” adds Tony. Since then Tony’s vision has come a long way. Describing his company as ‘too big’, he says that each dancer once chosen goes through certain amount of training. “Some of my pieces can be straight up hip hop, some contemporary, some can be a mix of both. I don’t think that one dancer has all those skills. But I do have a core number of dancers which numbers to around 20,” shares Tony who has choreographed for stars such as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Usher and Mel B (of the Spice Girls).
As someone who experimented with a lot of dance forms, there is one element he considers most pivotal.
“I feel passion for the dance should be dominant in any style whether it’s hip hop, contemporary or Bollywood, it should have passion otherwise you should ask yourself why are you doing it?”
The choreographer also has a Bollywood connect as he has worked in the Tamil Blockbuster Shivaji starring superstar Rajnikanth. “I worked in the movie Shivaji and I was really inspired with the history and the movements. It was a lot of fun.”
His piece ‘The Black Album’ is a confluence of ‘three different hip hop choreographies woven together like a concept album’. “There is Omega, Classical Break and Dark Matters all part of the piece. Omega is my baby in this. It’s one of the first time that I have allowed myself to look at other aspects of the production and where the company has actually moved beyond hip hop. In classical break, you have two Bboys and ballerina interpreting composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Prokofiev through break dance,” adds Tony for whom challenge in anything he takes up is crucial by way of growth.
The Avant Garde Dance performed The Black Album at the Shilpakala Vedika on Wednesday as part of the British Council’s festival of contemporary dance, Impulse 2.