Cultivating excellence in African People’s Dance

Trailblazers Fellowships

Photo credit – Foteini 

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 and Champions.

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
  • 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

Previous Trailblazers have gone on to set up their own companies, work in educational or community settings and contribute to research in the field of Dance of the African Diaspora in the UK.

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

— Vicki Igbokwe; Creative Director, Uchenna Dance; Trailblazers Starter 2007-08 & Champion 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