CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Ko-Thi is pronounced "koh-thee," with
a soft "th.")
Ko-Thi Dance Company explores African roots in Martin Luther King
Week UI residency
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Ko-Thi Dance Company, Wisconsin's largest African-American
arts organization, will help the University of Iowa celebrate Martin Luther
King's birthday with a full-week residency, culminating with a performance
at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, in Hancher Auditorium.
The performance will feature dances from Haiti, Nigeria, Jamaica, Liberia,
Senegal and Cuba -- showing a variety of traditions that have developed
from African dance. Artistic Director Feme Yangyeitie Caulker will offer
a free pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m. in the Hancher Greenroom for
interested audience members.
The public is also invited to a free mini-performance with commentary,
followed by a question-and-answer session, at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21,
in the UI Museum of Art.
The residency will include activities for students at the Johnson School
of the Arts and McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids, and Washington
Elementary and Mt. Vernon Middle School in Mt. Vernon. School groups from
around the region will attend a Jan. 21 Hancher matinee performance as
part of the Stage Door series.
At its home base in Milwaukee and on tour, the Ko-Thi Dance Company
is dedicated to preserving and performing African, African-American and
Caribbean dance traditions, with all their flair, rhythmic energy and spiritual
depth. The company uses a wide variety of drums and other traditional instruments,
as well as authentic costumes and ornamentation, to produce electrifying
Caulker, a native of the West African country of Sierra Leone and a
1994 Fulbright Scholar, founded the Ko-Thi Dance Company in 1969. The word
"Ko-Thi" means "to go black" in the Shebro language,
representing the company's interest in searching for African culture throughout
the Diaspora of African peoples.
The company is a professional affiliate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
where Caulker is a faculty member, and the company's rehearsals are held
at the university's department of theater and dance. The company also has
an on-going partnership with the Milwaukee High School of the Arts.
The company has presented performances and residencies throughout the
country, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Dance Africa Festival
and Lincoln Center in New York City, and has also toured internationally.
Ko-Thi has been honored by selection as a national touring company for
In recognition of her accomplishments, Caulker was named Milwaukee's
Woman of the Year in 1986, and she was inducted into the Wisconsin Academy
of Sciences, Arts and Letters in 1990.
UI Men's Intercollegiate Athletics is the sponsor of the concert, through
the University of Iowa Foundation. The performance and residency are supported
by the Heartland Arts Fund.
Tickets for the Jan. 22 Hancher concert are $26, $23 and $20. UI students
and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets
available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger
are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office
personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair
access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is
equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr/
on the World Wide Web. Learn more about the Ko-Thi Dance Company on the
World Wide Web at http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/afrst/artists/kothipro.htm.