Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker
Founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Ko-Thi Dance Company
Head of University of WI-Milwaukee's Dance Department's BFA African Dance
Performance and Choreography degree.
Artistic Director and Lead Trainer/Choreographer/Curriculum Development of
Ton Ko-Thi Children's Ensemble
Ferne Caulker is a native of Sierra Leone, West Africa. She founded the company in 1969 after returning from a research trip to Ghana, West Africa. There, she studied with the National Dance Company of Ghana at the University of Ghana in Legon. She is a Full Professor at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, in the Department of Dance. She has been teaching at UWM since 1971 and created the University's first courses on the technique and history of African, African-American and Caribbean dance.
In 1995, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship allowing her to spend 3 months in Tanzania, East Africa. In addition to focusing on her own research, she taught at the University of Dar es Salaam, worked with the UWASA traditional Cultural Group, and provided workshops and lectures for children through the United African-American Cultural Center in Arusha.
In 2001, Milwaukee's Professional Dimensions honored her with their prestigious Sacagawea Award, given annually to two outstanding women of achievement.
Ms. Caulker is a sought-after passionate speaker on behalf of the arts and has served on many panels including the 1999-2000 State Superintendent's Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts in Education and the National Endowment for the Arts 2000 Dance Panel. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Arts Board.
Assistant to the Artistic Executive Director
Musical Director of Ko-Thi and Ton Ko-Thi Ensembles
Sonya Thompson, DeMar Walker
Assistants to the Artistic Director of Ton Ko-Thi Children's Ensemble
Dr. Patrick Bellegarde Smith
Historic and Cultural Advisors