Ko-Thi Dance Company

Performing traditional African, African-American, and Caribbean dances, Ko-Thi Dance Company aspires to bridge the cultural gap between western and non-western peoples. The company’s founder, Sierra Leone native Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker studied with the National Dance Company at the University of Ghana in the late 1960s. After finishing research in Ghana, she opened the Ko-Thi Dance Company in Milwaukee in 1969.[1] Ko-Thi artists are trained not only in the dance but also in the origins, mythology, and culture surrounding it.[2] Performers wear traditional garb and play authentic instruments, educating audience members through interpretive dance and musical expression.[3] The Ko-Thi Dance Company today attracts many performers who wish to further their knowledge and training in traditional African Diaspora and Caribbean dance. As a result, the company has become a school for aspiring artists and musicians. In addition to teaching these recruits, the company also provides year-round classes in dance and drumming for children and adults. This educational outreach program, “Drumtalk,” serves the Milwaukee community by offering courses on the language, history, and performance of African Diaspora dance.[4] In 1995, the company was recognized as “artists-in-residence” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Caulker spent more than four decades as a faculty member.[5] The Ko-Thi Dance Company regularly performs at local Milwaukee theaters, schools, and colleges, and has toured across the United States and internationally in Canada and Japan.[6]

Footnotes [+]

  1. [1]Bios,” Ko-Thi Dance Company, accessed September 6, 2015.
  2. ^ “Ko-Thi Dance Company Heats up the Oconomowoc Arts Center Main Stage,” Lake Country Now, January 14, 2015, accessed September 6, 2015, http://www.lakecountrynow.com/news/oconomowocfocus/ko-thi-dance-company-heats-up-the-oconomowoc-arts-center-main-stage-b99425936z1-288520881.html.
  3. ^ “Ko-Thi Dance Company,” accessed September 6, 2015, https://www4.uwm.edu/psoa/dance/partnerships/kothi.cfm.
  4. ^Ko-Thi History,” Ko-Thi Dance Company, accessed September 6, 2015.
  5. ^ “Ko-Thi Dance Company,” accessed September 6, 2015, https://www4.uwm.edu/psoa/dance/partnerships/kothi.cfm.
  6. ^Ko-Thi History,” accessed September 6, 2015.

For Further Reading

Agordoh, Alexander Akorlie. African Music: Traditional and Contemporary. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2005.

Welsh, Kariamu, Elizabeth A. Hanley, and Jacques D’Amboise. World of Dance: African Dance. 2nd ed. New York: Chelsea House, 2010.


Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. Encyclopedia of Milwaukee reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Copyright, Privacy, and Terms & Conditions.

Have a suggestion for a new topic? Please use the Site Contact Form.

Leave a Comment