Diane Alison-Mitchell and the dance artist known as Paradigmz started their careers in the 1990s. They went on to become accomplished dance artists. Between 1993 and 2003 the independent dance sector expanded in terms of activity yet there was very little training in Higher Education for a career as a dance artist in the Dance of the African Diaspora (DAD) as a sector. Furthermore, the administrative debate over the definition of Black Dance at a peak made career definition difficult. Produced through a combination of narrative and critical inquiry, this paper looks at how Diane Alison-Mitchell and Paradigmz developed careers during this period, through on-the-job learning and self-directed professional development projects and engaging with events organised by dance industry professionals. The DAD sector is posited as a community of practice that brings into view ways that the dance practitioners during this time generated discourses to create a context for professional practice. The career journeys of Alison-Mitchell and Paradigmz display how their critical engagement with a range of activities and dance discourses in the UK and abroad enabled them to develop a dance practice with a hybrid but specific identity from a range of dance forms, techniques, modes of dance making and performance.