Tony Adigun’s most well known and acknowledged achievement in his career so far has been his becoming Artistic Director of Sky’s Got To Dance.

When Tony isn’t hard at work being the creative mastermind behind the hugely popular talent show however, he is busy running his own companies Avant Garde Dance & Avant Garde Elves both of which gave impressive performances at this year’s Collabo


As part of Spitafields Music’s Summer Festival, Avant Garde Dance and Early Opera Company have been commissioned to create a collaborative piece. With Avant Garde Dance being known for their Hip-Hop inspired style, Tony spoke on the challenges of choreographing a piece to opera music.


Photography by Alys Tomlinson

I usually work with beats, finding the musicality and quality of the sound, which then informs the choreography.

In opera, it’s the vocal that creates both the musicality and the structure, so this is a new challenge for me.

Music is always key to my work – the difference is that the vocal is creating the rhythm so we want to respect the vocal and marry the movement with the vocal.


I feel like I’m learning about a new style of music and this process means I’m challenge myself and this adds a certain kind of pressure I enjoy.

I also like the challenge of knowing I have to deliver a show at the end at the end of it (and hopefully a great one too).”

The piece of music which Early Opera Company will be playing on the night is the work of revolutionary Italian composer Monteverdi.


Like Avant Garde Dance, Monteverdi also pushed boundaries with his art form of music; shaking up the usual structures and elements of the opera at his time.

Tony explained how choreographing to Monteverdi’s work has complimented Avant Garde’s own innovative style.

There are lots of parallels to the both of us.

He was experimental and innovative, and it makes me appreciate that he took risks. So it seems fitting to work with someone who has the same values. The way he pushed boundaries resonates with us.

We are taking a risk with this.

Our usual audiences are going to be surprised but it is going to be another example of us breaking the usual ‘Hip-Hop’ conventions, and in the meantime we are going to bring our aesthetic and innovative style to a totally new audience.


Avant Garde Dance has created site specific pieces in the past, touring their interactive piece Taxi around various locations up and down the country.

This piece – Monteverdi Ballets – will be performed in Shoreditch’s Village Underground. Known more for it’s gigs and club nights, Tony expressed how he has had to do things differently to make the piece work in such a unique space.


Village Underground is a brilliantly awkward space.

Great for clubbing but the space is challenging in terms of site lines and making sure the audience have something to see and not just focus on the stage. I know if I perform something in one place I might need to repeat it somewhere else to make sure people have seen it.

The space is incredibly atmospheric and suits the production and the Avant Garde gritty urban style.

Early Opera Company and Avant Garde Dance will be performing their Monteverdi Ballets twice on 17 June at Village Underground. With the two different genres coming together, this is sure to be a compelling show.

Tickets are available at the East London Dance Official website.