BHS’ own King Cobras build a dance empire


Photo: Courtesy of @kingcobras23 The members of King Cobras from left to right: Bety Mayani, Medine Nifasha, Diana Fikiria

Nora Jacobsen

Chances are when you think of high school students running a business, an Instagram dance page is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, for Burlington High School (BHS) junior, Diana Fikiria, senior Bety Mayani, and 2019 BHS graduate Medine Nifasha it is. 

@KingCobras23 is the name of the Instagram account. Posting three times per week,  hip hop dancers King Cobras have over 70 intricately choreographed dances each around 15 seconds long. The trio creates their own routines to hip hop songs, and since their Instagram debut on August 6, 2019 they have racked up an impressive 97.6 thousand followers as of January 28, 2020. 

Image: Courtesy of King Cobras
King Cobras have an impressive following on Instagram

King Cobras began just five months ago, but their relationships started in childhood and they’ve always bonded over music and dance. 

“Its a group of sisters,” Nifasha said. “We’ve all grown up together. We’ve always been dancing and we just love to do that. So King Cobras is just us sharing our love of dance with the world.”  

Nifasha was one of the co-founders of the BHS dance team back in 2016. Fikiria and Mayani are now leading the team as co-captains. 

All three work a part-time job, attend school each day, and Mayani and Fikiria have eight hours of weekly dance team practices. On top of all of that, they produce three high quality videos a week. 

“Normally it takes us about two hours to do all three videos,” Mayani said. “Each video takes from 30 minutes to 45 minutes because we perfect it. We like perfection.”

Photo: Courtesy of @kingcobras23
King Cobras dance in the candy aisle

King Cobras has developed a loyal fan base lovingly referred to as “Cobras” on the account.  On any given day, the account gets flooded with about 500 direct messages. These messages often include fans giving praise, sharing how they’ve been inspired or dance videos to their favorite King Cobras routines. 

“The messages that we get are just so cute,” Fikiria said. “People will send videos of them doing [our dances] as well. It’s people from all around the world, like people will say ‘Hi King Cobras’ all the way from Beijing!” 

“Keep doing what y’all doing coz y’all inspiring people all over the world,” one fan said via direct message. “We are from Melbourne Australia and we love what y’all do!”  

Among their tens of thousands of fans, the group has received recognition via comments, likes, and posts from celebrities such as Chance the Rapper, Blueface, King Imprint, and a Harlem Globetrotter. 

“I LOVE YALL, Y’all killed that!!” King Imprint, a youtuber with a dance-based channel and one million instagram followers said in a comment. 

“A lot of the artists that we dance to do repost us or show us recognition like liking it, commenting, or DMing us asking us to send the video so they can repost it on their page,” Fikiria said. “We also get requests from people who want us to dance to their music, that is like the whole business side of it.”

The group has capitalized on their popularity. Recently, King Cobras has begun making a profit through paid promotions and networking with other companies and artists.  

“Honestly running a business through King Cobras is really nice because it’s our own separate income separate from what we all already make because we are all working jobs,” Nifasha said. 

Nifasha, who is currently studying business at Champlain College, primarily manages the finances, promotions, emails, and networking with artists and brands that contact King Cobras. 

“There are a lot of things I had to search up myself,” Nifasha said. “ Right now we are building our own brand and, for example, I had to file us for our own entity and I didn’t know how to go about that at first because we haven’t learned that at school yet.” 

With their massive fan base, business savvy, dedication, and ambition, the trio has big plans for the future.

“I see this as more than just an Instagram page,” Fikiria said.  Instagram is a good way to get publicity, but it is not a great way to do anything for you long term. After a while it gets old, so you have to branch out. Like YouTube, being on TV shows, and becoming influencers.”