As of May 30th, 2018, Ko-Thi Dance Company (Ko-Thi) has separated from Black Arts Milwaukee (BAMKE). The company maintains its independence as a 501c3 arts organization and will continue to fundraise for its unique programming. As a founding member of Black Arts Think Tank (now BAMKE), Ko-Thi has great appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of an entity who supports Black arts in Milwaukee. We wish BAMKE much success in its future endeavors, as we are supportive of any initiative to bolster Black arts in Milwaukee. We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to Paul Matthews and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Cory Nettles, Jackie Herd Barber, and the rest of BAMKE Board for their tremendous support of our tenure with BAMKE.
In 2019, Ko-Thi will celebrate its 50th anniversary. This is no small feat, as historically, there are very few African dance companies throughout the world that can claim such longevity of consistent & high quality artistic product and programming.
Ko-Thi was founded in 1969 by Ferne Caulker-Bronson, Professor Emerita of Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During her 45 years at UWM, Ms. Bronson created the first Bachelor of Fine Arts degree of Performance & Choreography of Africa & the Diaspora Dance, along with the Caulker Method, a teaching pedagogy that trains dancers in the African and Caribbean genres.
For nearly 50 years, Ko-Thi has provided Milwaukee with stimulating artistic performances, training, and quality youth programming embodied in Ton Ko-Thi Children’s Performing Ensemble. Ko-Thi has also represented Milwaukee nationally and internationally, touring in major opera houses all over the United States, the Mitsui Festival in Tokyo, Japan, and the Ontario Festival in Ontario, Canada.
In preparation for its 50th year, Ko-Thi has established a new dynamic artistic team led by DeMar Walker and a revitalized Board of Directors, chaired by Cheryl Blue. We are in preparation for an exciting 50th Year Anniversary season (2019) which will include brand new dance performances, a historical exhibit, an alumni reunion, and much more yet to be announced. Stay tuned!