Future leaders in dance of the African Diaspora

Trailblazers Starters 2017-18

Dickson Mbi

Dickson is a world-renowned dancer in the Hip Hop community. He has a background in jazz, ballet and contemporary dance having trained at Lewisham College, London Contemporary Dance School and mentored by Stuart Thomas. Additionally, he is known for his remarkable Popping skills, strong personality, powerful movement and positive attitude.  Dickson has won many Popping competitions including: Justedebout, BattleISM and UK B-Boy championships.


Together with his partner Brooke Milliner, he is committed to fostering new generations of dancers both in their battling crew Prototype, which won the world Hip Hop dance championship in 2012 and Fiya House a Popping crew. Dickson has won several choreographic awards and commissions:  REVERB Award for Best Choreography, MASDANZA Audience Award for Best Choreography, National Theatre of Korea commission solo, Leave A Trace – CHVRCHES (Music Video) and OLMECA Commercial. He has danced with world leading artists including: Madonna, Basement Jaxx, Shallama, Robbie Williams, Corrine Bailey-Rae, Black Eyed Peas, Russell Maliphant and Mickael Marso Riviere. He has featured in major TV commercial campaigns: BALLMAIN X, H&M, AUDI, E TRON Robot, SMIRNOFF ICE and was the face for Lucozade Revive.



Iris De Brito

Originally from Angola, Iris trained at the Lisbon’s conservatoire for music & dance, completed her dance studies at The London Studio Centre, and trained intensively with the late William Louther Dance Theatre. A dance practitioner since 1995, she is currently working and researching Afro –Luso dance styles. As a performer Iris has had a diverse career working in the commercial sector, TV Film and video. She has participated in African dance company work and toured the international festival circuit, specializing in Salsa and Afro – Cuban styles. Also, Iris has choreographed for stage and camera and created and directed her own dance theatre production at Jackson’s Lane Theatre.


Iris is the founder of Kizomba in the UK, bringing Afro – Luso culture to new audiences. She started her own academy and created her own teaching method, striving to elevate teaching standards in the sector. She curates the yearly programme for Batuke! Festival – the first event of its kind in the UK currently in its 8th edition – regularly inviting UK based and international artists. Iris’ current career objective is to draw on acquired experience to broaden leadership skills, create work that has an artistic impact and document her contribution to dance of the African Diaspora in the UK.

Jamaal Burkmar

Whilst studying Jamaal was inspired to begin playing with choreography which led to the creation of a piece he made in his second year entitled Ocean. The piece was commissioned for VERVE, the postgraduate company at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Ocean proved successful with audiences in UK and beyond.


After graduating, Jamaal continued to make work in Leeds. In his first year after leaving the institution, Ocean was reworked a third time on a second group of dancers in VERVE to be performed for a final time at Dance UK’s industry-wide conference in April 2015. During this period, he was also successful in gaining his first Grants for the Arts award for the creation of a short work called Sonder. In summer 2015, Jamaal won the New Adventures Choreography Award whilst also garnering commissions at Edge Hill, NSCD and a few universities around the country.

Zinzi Minott

Zinzi Minott’s solo and collaborative pursuits focus on the relationships between dance and politics. She is interested in how dance is perceived through the prisms of race, queer culture, gender and class. Her practice is driven through Dance, and her outcomes range from dances, performance, live art, sound, and film. Zinzi is interested in the space between Dance and Art and is creating a habitat between the two worlds.