NEFERTARI AFRICAN DANCE COMPANY
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.
Nefertari has performed locally at such events as the Annual Holiday Folk Fair, Summerfest, African World Festival, State Fair, Juneteenth Day Celebration, the Inner City Arts Council Art Festival and the Lakefront Festival of the Arts.
In April 1993, Nefertari went of a performance and study tour in Senegal and the Gambia in West Africa. The group visited West Africa again in the spring of 1995 for a performance and study tour in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Nefertari performed at the first five-star hotel in Ghana, the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana, and West Africa. There were invited to Taiwan to perform and teach at the 1997 International Children’s Dance and Folktale Festival and received invitations to perform in several European countries.
In 1996, Nefertari broaden it’s horizon and became community wide. The group currently involves community participants as young as three-years old through the age of 18. Members currently represent many different schools throughout the city of Milwaukee.