See evolution of hip-hop dance as TV talents take to Stratford stage

PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 November 2016

Collabo by Alex Rumford

Collabo by Alex Rumford

© Alex Rumford

A thrilling celebration of hip-hop dance promises show-stopping performances as some of the country’s best urban dance companies take to the stage for Collabo at Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Performers include Sky’s Got to Dance 2013 winner, Lukas McFarlane with UnTitled Dance Company as well as IMD Legion, Program 68, and Britain’s Got Talent’s Unity UK, from Leyton.

Collabo brings together dancers from all over the country. It all began in 2006 as a move away from the traditional “battle” style of hip-hop dancing, where rival crews would compete with each other to see who had the best dancers.

“I was inspired by the battle style – hip-hop comes from the club, and that’s a beautiful thing,” founder Tony Adigun said.

“Ten years ago, everything seemed very insular and private and I wanted to break down the ‘my gang, your gang’ philosophy.”

That inspired him to create Collabo, where dancers work together to choreograph stage performances with a street feel.

Even the name points towards the collaborative nature.

“Since then there’s definitely been a change in the hip-hop scene and Collabo has been a big part of that,” Tony said, so it’s only natural that dancers from previous years are returning to recreate some iconic performances.

He added: “I’m definitely excited – it’s been a long time coming and I’m excited by what this platform can provide for dancers past, present and future.”

Another person who is very excited is director of East London Dance, Polly Risbridger, who said Collabo is always a highlight of her year.

“It’s a chance to see artists doing new things and the audience always go crazy for it,” she said.

As well as the talented people on the dancefloor, there’s another famous face in presenter Ricky Norwood, better known as EastEnders’ Fatboy.

Polly said: “Ricky has been on a 10-year journey with us and used to dance so for him to come back is a real treat, and he keeps the audience laughing – he’s a real entertainer.”

“He comes back every year – we used to have to get him taxis from the EastEnders set!”

Collabo runs from today to Saturday. Tickets are £12. For booking and more information visit

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