Nefertari African Dance Company celebrating 50th anniversary with festival

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MILWAUKEE -- The Nefertari African Dance Company is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a festival this weekend. Evan spent the morning at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society with a look at the company's history.

About Nefertari African Dance Company (website)

The Nefertari African Dance Company was founded as a performing group in 1968. It would provide for young people of african descent, an avenue of expression and pride in the culture of their ancestors. From the beginning the group has received acclaim for their vivacious dexterity in presenting the various forms of African Dance. The group was comprised of female students and alumni of North Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA. They were accompanied by male musicians who are master’s of the intricate drum rhythms of West Africa.

 The Nefertari African Dance Company is affiliated with the International Institute of Wisconsin, Inc. and was founded by Sarah Lee Grant. Ms. Marilynn Douglas, who danced with Nefertari while a student at North Division, is now the Director. The dancers have performed throughout the state of Wisconsin and most states in the American Midwest. School and church tours have taken the company across the United States of Chicago, Gary, Philadelphia, Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.

The company has danced before audiences at the 1976 Bicentennial White House celebration in Washington, D.C., the World Famous Apollo Theatre in New York (Harlem USA), the Festival of Nations in St. Paul, Minnesota, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Disneyworld and the Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida and have been featured artists on cruise ships to the Bahamas. The group was invited to Salt Lake City, Utah in February 1992, where they presented a series of workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances at twenty public schools.

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