Jakari Sherman

Jakari Sherman is a passionate choreographer, ethnochoreologist, and performer who experience extends over 20 years. Rooted in the African American tradition of stepping, his work has sought to push the boundaries of percussive dance as a communicative medium by challenging conventional paradigms and exploring the use of technology, storytelling, and diverse musical scores.

Servind as the Artistic Director of Step Africa!, he has brought new life to the folkloric tradition of stepping locally and across the globe. Under his creative guide, the company has won awards for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Innovation in the Arts, and Outstanding New Work.

Jakari has also received Metro DC Dance Awards for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Excellence in Sound Design and Original Composition. For three years he served on the faculty of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World, and has performed and taught all across the country and throughout the world.

Jakari got his start performing and coaching for champion competitive teams, and launched his professional career as the Founding Director of the National Basketball Association’s first permanent step ensemble. He is also Founder of Ordered Steps, a Houston-based nonprofit devoted to teaching stepping as a tool of youth outreach and community development

Jakari has received a Mater of Arts in Ethnochoreology from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Throughout his studies and research, he is undertaking groundbreaking ethnographic work related to structural analysis, teaching methodologies, and historical archiving of steppingi n the United States. As an ethnochoreologist, he seeks to blend performance, research, and community engagement through performative ethnography and applied ethnochoreology.

Jakari is a member of the Congress on Research in Dance and the International Council on Traditional Music, and has lectured on stepping throughout the world, including Greece, Kazakhstan, the UK and Belgium.

DJ John Armstrong

Latin, Afro, soul, R & B, Caribbean, reggae, jazz, funk, hip hop, House, disco: Londoner John Armstrong has played and mixed all these genres, and more, across several continents for more than three decades.

There are three connecting strains in John’s professional life; the law (now retired!), writing and music. As a busy London media, entertainment and copyright lawyer, John represented music artists, film makers, actors, managers and record companies. Then, when the weekend came, his law partners went off to play golf while he went off to play records in London’s busy late-70s and early 80s clubland, as well as interviewing the artists he loved, writing about them in Blues & Soul, Black Music & Jazz Review, Time Out, City Limits, Songlines, the Independent, and a host of other, lesser-known publications.

After spells dj-ing at legendary nightspots like the Hampstead Country Club and Soho’s Beat Route and WAG clubs, in 1984 John started a 10-year, twice-weekly residency at London’s legendary Bass Clef – the jazz. Afro and latin club that almost single-handedly started the ‘alternative’ London club boom in the early days. He was certainly one of the first DJs in London to play long sets- up to six hours or more –mixing many different kinds of dance music , rather than just sticking to one style. This led John to further residencies, at the Loughborough Inn Brixton (where with Edna Crepaldi, he ran Europe’s first lambada and forro club in 1989) ,Notting Hill Arts Club (the infamous Futuro Flamenco nights, with Martin Morales), the Big Chill Bar and Big Chill House, Bar Cuba, Havana Hanover Square and Guanabara, as well as countless festival and club appearances around the world including Womex, Big Chill Festival, Europe, East Africa and the Middle East.

In the late 90s he was honorary music director at Brazilian Contemporary Arts, presenting Brazilian cultural events of all kinds in the UK, such as the ground-breaking ‘Since Samba Has Been Samba’ show at the Royal Albert Hall starring Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Elza Soares and Georgie Fame. Around the same time he was also music editor of Latin London, the first fully-dedicated Anglophone Latin culture magazine in the city.

Apart from a busy club and festival DJ schedule, John has compiled more than 200 albums for many of the major and indie record labels in many genres; Brazil, Cuba, Africa, the Caribbean, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Middle-Eastern, Irish & Celtic, soul, funk, jazz –even early rock & roll , rockabilly, Cajun and Tejano.

On the radio front, John was consultant for BBC World Service in the set-up and music programming of Afrique FM, a 24 hour a day music and sport radio station broadcast out of Abidjan throughout West Africa.

John was one of only a handful of djs invited onto the legendary John Peel’s Radio 1 show Top Gear to play a live (Latin House) vinyl set., later consulting with EDM superstar Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook for Norman’s well-received Brazilian electro-house compilation Bem Brasil.

Recently, he also wrote, produced and presented a major 13-part BBC Radio 2 show ‘Viva Latino’ –a history of latin music, with in-depth interviews with many major latin music stars, including icons such as Sergio Mendes, Gloria Estefan, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow and Enrique Iglesias, as well as many of Cuba’s timba and son aristocracy.

Currently, John is involved in the founding, construction and development of The Institute of Light , a multi-media ‘analog hub’ in a disused railway arch in the heart of London Fields. The plan is to open the venue on June 1st 2016- in time to beam the Rio Olympics on the giant outdoor projector-wall. whilst nibbling coxinhas and sipping caipirinhas. Fingers crossed.

Mercy Nabiyre

Mercy Nabirye works internationally in arts management, specializing in reviewing systems and strategies to support and strengthen creativity and artistic visions for organizations and individual artists. This includes change management, strategic planning, organizational and governance development, research and consultations for individuals, SME organisations and community groups in UK, Uganda and Canada.

Mercy is currently Director for ADAD (Association of Dance of the African Diaspora) a national artist support organisation set up in 1994 to promote the practice and appreciation of dance rooted in the African Diaspora, raising its profile to be valued as part of the British Cultural experience.   From 1st April 2016 ADAD will merge with 3 other organisations Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England to become ‘;One Dance UK’ a new integrated body to support the Dance industry.  During this tenure, she has steered the organisation to deliver national and international programmes at key venues like South Bank and The Place, including Bloom National Festival celebrating dance of the African Diaspora across the UK regions, Re:generations International conference – the only UK academic and artistic conference focusing on perspectives of the art forms and a professional development fellowship Trailblazerswhich tailors a mentorship programmed for future leaders for the dance sector.

Previous leadership and management roles include work at Apples and Snakes, England’s leading performance poetry organisation; Creative Partnerships Kent (CP Kent), a creative learning initiative for Arts Council England; Future Creative CIC a social enterprise providing creative learning, professional development and community engagement programmes in the education, cultural, public, early years and youth sectors.

Mercy graduated in performing arts in Uganda, East Africa and continued her studies in London UK, in Film and Video Production.  Other training includes CIMA CBA Business Accounting Certificate, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Clore Leadership short courses..

Mercy’s artistic background is as a performing artist, choreographer, producer and writer for stage and screen both in Uganda and the UK.  She has toured and performed with an African Music band at major world festivals including Womad UK.  She featured in musicals and films including the Hollywood blockbuster “The last King of Scotland”.  She continues to engage in community initiatives involving African Dance, Drumming, Video film and Photography and is a member of key international organisations including International Association of Blacks in Dance (USA), Arterial Works (Africa), Dancing Strong (UK).

Cindy Claes

Cindy creates artistic earthquakes through her ground breaking Dancehall, Krumping and hip hop theatre productions. Choreographer, performer and dance storyteller, she tackles social and political issues through dance and theatre, creating rippling emotional reactions amongst her audiences, from laughter to tears. Challenging conversations are put centre stage with the potential to create positive social change through the arts.

Her unique international dance exchanges and educational leadership programs, aim to raise awareness about social responsibility. Daring to dream and daring to act upon thesedreams are core values to Cindy’s work. Developing Citizens of the world as well as Artists of the world, she uses dance theatre as a platform for exchange, debate and growth. Her international dance exchanges enable diverse voices to be heard and nurture leadership within various street dance communities.

Cliford and Gaëlle Jasmin, Salsabor Florida

Cliford and Gaëlle Jasmin, Salsabor Florida

SALSABOR FLORIDA is the new South-Florida Salsa and Afro-Caribbean Dance School coming from PARIS. Recognized as a High Pedagogy and Teaching Quality school, SALSABOR classes enjoy a high international regard. In 1997, SALSABOR introduced the Mambo, New York or On 2 Style of salsa dancing to France, where it is commonly called ‘Puertorican Salsa’ (in recognition of the contribution of the Puerto Rican diaspora in developing this style). It subsequently trained most of the recognized salsa instructors of this style in France, which now nourishes one of the strongest On2 scenes worldwide.

In 2013, SALSABOR founder Cliford Jasmin and his partner Gaëlle Jasmin moved to Miami, Florida, to develop here a new branch of SALSABOR. At SALSABOR Florida, the Jasmins not only offer classes in On2/ Mambo for all levels, but also a range of Caribbean dance styles including Bachata, Chachacha, Bolero, and, most crucially, Haitian kompa. Cliford’s Haitian heritage has impelled him and Gaëlle to return to this dance form of his island, which in fact traces its roots back to the moment of the Haitian Revolution. Through research on these roots and earlier forms of this dance in the 20th century, Cliford and Gaëlle Jasmin propose a new approach and pedagogy that they term ‘Kompa Artistic’; currently, they are engaged in its creation and dissemination.

Their website dedicated to the Artistic Kompa movement is here: www.kompaartisticdance.com or www.kompadance.com

They also run an online platform for learning Salsa: www.esalsabor.com, www.salsabor-florida.com, www.salsabor.fr

Benjamin Lebrave – Akwaaba Music

Benjamin Lebrave – Akwaaba Music

Akwaaba is dedicated to spreading African music and pop culture. Its founder Benjamin Lebrave started Akwaaba because he had found it way too difficult to access a whole lot of music from Africa. To resolve this, Akwaaba offers online distribution, promotion and marketing. It also works with artists to get them shows, studio collaborations, build their online presence, and even license music for film and TV: in short, Akwaaba covers a lot of ground to get artists more visibility and more money. And for fans, it offers a window onto the wide diversity of music being created all over the African continent.

Born and raised in Paris, Alwaaba’s founder Benjamin graduated from ENSAE (Paris Tech) with a double master’s degree in economics and statistics. Rather than further his education with a PhD at an Ivy League school in the US, he chose to put aside his not-so-funky background to follow his passion: music. Yet his strong analytical skills and work ethics are never that far away, and come in handy on a daily basis to ensure Akwaaba’s smooth operation. Speaking fluent French and English also helps. And being able to schmooze in Spanish and Portuguese doesn’t hurt much either. Benjamin now runs Akwaaba from Accra, Ghana.


Iris de Brito and BATUKE!

The BATUKE! festival started out of its creative director Iris de Brito’s passion for the music and dance of Lusophone countries, and their realization that there is a special rapport and connection between the Portuguese speaking African countries, a recognition of common experiences through music and dance. Moving beyond ad hoc events based on invitations to individual artists, it has created an annual platform in the UK where these artists, young and old, can meet and share their common heritage. Batuke aims to be a self-sustaining venture. Now in its 5th year, Iris’s aim is to improve it further, continue to improve standards, reach out to local communities as well as international audiences, and make the event one not to be missed in the social dancer’s calendar.

Iris is the creative mind behind BATUKE! The director of London’s Studio Afro-Latino, she is Portuguese of Angolan heritage long resident in the UK. An accomplished dancer of a range of Latin styles, from salsa to lambada to samba, Iris has been at the vanguard of pushing cultural and historical understanding of the Angolan dances currently so popular internationally. Iris directs the show and creates the general feel and flow of the event to the last detail, including coming up with the name of the festival (a play on the Luso-African dance form Batuque). She works on BATUKE! all year round.


Adrien Delmas

Adrien Delmas

Adrien Delmas, PhD (2010) in History from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, is currently Scientific Director of the French Institute of South Africa (UMIFRE 25 CNRS, USR 3336 ‘Afrique au Sud du Sahara’). He has published on travel writing in the early modern world including Les voyages de l’écrit. Culture écrite et expansion européenne à l’époque moderne (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2013) et Written Culture in a Colonial Context (Leiden, Brill, 2012). He is associate researcher at the EHESS and at the University of Cape Town. The French Institute of South Africa’s knowledge of the research landscape and networks in Southern Africa will be of invaluable help within the extensive fieldwork that the members of the Modern Moves team aim to conduct on the dance scenes in Luanda, Kinshasa, Maputo, Johannesburg, and other African cities.