Cultivating excellence in African people’s dance

Trailblazers Fellowships

Applications for the 2017-18 starters Fellowships are open!

Download the Guidelines and Criteria
Download the Application Form

The Trailblazers Fellowship is an annual professional development programme initiated in 2003 to support UK-based dance artists, practitioners, performers, choreographers, dance teachers and researchers working in the field of dance of the African Diaspora. The aim is to cultivate excellence in African people’s dance by providing training and mentoring in order to ensure there is sustained investment in these talented individuals. To date, there have been over 40 Trailblazers since the programme’s inception.

Trailblazers features two strands of development, which alternate annually: Starters for first time applicants in the early stages of their careers, who demonstrate creative spark, ambition and leadership potential; and Champions for past recipients of the fellowship who have demonstrated strong leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

What is a trailblazer?

An innovative leader in a field; a pioneer.
A person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness.

Each participant receives 

  • A bursary towards a project of their choice (£2000 for Starters and £3000 for Champions*)
    *Champions must seek match funding or support in kind of a minimum of £1500.
  • A tailored development programme including training, career coaching, mentoring and peer learning
  • A range of networking opportunities
  • An opportunity to share their learning in a public showcase


How can I apply?

Trailblazers Starters is open to UK-based dance artists who are working in the field of dance of the African Diaspora, as a dancer, choreographer, teacher or researcher;  chosen through open application and an interview. Trailblazers Champions fellowships are selected by nomination, chosen from the Trailblazers Starters Alumni.

Applications for the 2017-18 Trailblazer Starters Fellowships are open!

Deadline 31 March, 2017.

Download the Guidelines and Criteria
Download the Application Form


Trailblazers Starters Surgeries

A half-day event designed to equip applicants with the know-how to submit an effective application. The timetable of events includes further information on the fellowship which is specific to DAD work, and how it sits within the ethos of the newly formed One Dance UK.  In addition, a step-by-step guide through the application form will give an insight into the specific outcomes and objectives to be evidenced. There will be time for ‘1 to 1’ advice, as well as time to network with peers and colleagues.

LondonSunday 5 March, 9.30—2pm a­t One Dance UK, Ensign House, Battersea Reach, Juniper Drive, London SW18 1TA

Delivered by Akosua Boakye, Trailblazer Alumni Coordinator; Yassmin Foster, DAD London Programmer and Tomorr Kokona, Professional Development Manager.
Also in attendance, Mbulelo Ndabeni, Trailblazer alumni.
London Timetable

Register your interest/ sign up

BristolFriday 10 March, 1—3pm at Trinity Arts, Bristol, (Graffiti Room), Trinity Road, Bristol BS2 0NW.

Delivered by Katy Noakes, DAD South West Programmer.
Also in attendance, Roni Edwards, Trailblazer alumni.

Register your interest/ sign up

Birmingham  – Thursday 23 March, 6—8pm at Ace Dance and Music, 54-57 Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SL.

Delivered by Oluwatoyin Odunsi, DAD North Programmer.
Also in attendance Lola Adodo, Trailblazer alumni.

Register your interest/ sign up

Leeds  – Friday 24  March, 6—8pm at Phoenix Dance Theatre, St Cecilia St, Leeds LS2 7PA

Delivered by Oluwatoyin Odunsi, DAD North Programmer.
Also in attendance Imani Jendi, Trailblazer alumni.

Register your interest/ sign up

Sean Graham by Irven Lewis

Sean Graham by Irven Lewis

Get to know the current Trailblazers

Trailblazers Champions 2016-17
Trailblazers Starters 2015-16

For more information email us at or visit our past Trailblazers page to view more about the previous fellows.

The programme is supported by funds from Arts Council England, Trust and Foundations, private organisations as well as individuals.

Past awardees of the scheme commented:

Everything I am now doing artistically is due to having been a Trailblazer.  The scheme fueled me as an artist, it empowered me and gave me the confidence.

Vicki Igbokwe; Creative Director, Uchenna Dance; Trailblazer 2007-08 & 2012-13

I will never finish being a Trailblazer.  I still have my application form and goals and revisit them

Akosua Boakye; London Academy Cohort Director, Dance United; Trailblazer 2006-07