Ko-Thi Dance Company

December 27, 2008 6:49:36 AM PST
In addition to food, gatherings and music, dance is one of many ways that we celebrate and honor the values, symbols and practices associated with Kwanzaa. Several members of the Ko-Thi Dance Company performed Saturday on ABC 7 News Saturday morning. (News Release) Founded in 1969, Ko-Thi Dance Co. is the third oldest African dance company in the U.S. The international touring company is dedicated to educating and preserving African culture through traditional dance and drumming. Influenced by African-American and Caribbean customs, Ko-Thi uses dance, music, traditional instruments and authentic clothing to reflect and educate on the African Diaspora. Since 1995, Ko-Thi has been a professional affiliate of the Peck School for the Arts at UW-Milwaukee's Department of Dance.

Ko-Thi includes Ton Ko-Thi, a children's ensemble, and DrumTalk, an artist-in-residence program. Aimed at children 6-18, Ton Ko-Thi is designed to introduce and guide children in learning African-based dance and music as well as instill academic, personal and social skills. Through DrumTalk, Ko-Thi's dancers and drummers visit elementary schools, colleges, organizations and more, providing workshops and demonstrations.

The Ko-Thi Dance Company is featured in a new winter promotion from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Wisconsin has spectacular performing arts venues and performers, and winter is the "high season" for many of them. For more information please visit TravelWisconsin.com

About the Founder

A native of Sierra Leone, West Africa, Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker is the founder and artistic/executive director for Ko-Thi Dance Co. Since 1971, Caulker has been a professor of dance at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she created UWM's first course on African, African-American and Caribbean dance. Caulker moved to Milwaukee with her family at the age of 16, and she is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Caulker is a recipient of the Fulbright Research Fellowship and she conducted her research in Tanzania, East Africa. While in Tanzania, Caulker taught at the University of Dar es Salaam, and provided workshops and lectures for children through the United African Alliance Community Center in Arusha.

Caulker has received numerous awards including: Milwaukee's Professional Dimensions' Sacagawea Award in 2001; Wisconsin's 2008 Martin Luther King Heritage Award; Milwaukee Arts Board's 2001 artist of the year; and UW-Milwaukee's 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award, among others.


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