Meet The Staff


Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker

Founder & Executive Director

Ferne is the Founder and Executive Director of the Ko-Thi Dance Company, Wisconsin’s oldest African American arts organization. Ko-Thi, founded in 1969, is dedicated to the preservation and expression of the performing arts from the African Continent, Caribbean and United States. She taught at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee beginning in 1971, where she was a Full Professor in the Peck School of the Arts’ Department of Dance until she retired as Professor Emerita in 2016. She is particularly interested in the relationship between arts training and exposure, increased self-esteem and social behavior. She is a Fulbright Scholar. Her Fulbright award allowed her to study and travel in Tanzania, East Africa for 3 months. Caulker has served on many panels, including the NEA and WAB, and served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Arts Board for one 3-year term.

DeMar Walker

Artistic Director

DeMar is a native of Milwaukee and was raised in the south. He is inspired by the African aesthetic and its influence in contemporary dance forms throughout the world. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Journalism and Theater.  Currently, he is an Associate Lecturer for the Department of Dance at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.


Kumasi Allen

Musical Director

Kumasi is a native of Milwaukee.  He is an alumnus of Ton Ko-Thi and the adult ensemble, returned home.  As a benefit of his years in Ko-Thi and extensive world travels, he brings a wealth of passion, physical training/fitness, artistic and world knowledge to the organization. He is currently a sales and leasing representative for Russ Darrow dealership and is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Sarah Hamilton

Director of Operations & Production

Sarah is a Milwaukee-based lighting designer and theatre/dance technology educator who delights in exploring the ever-evolving boundaries between theatre, dance, visual art, and social commentary. Recent Milwaukee lighting design credits include KTDC's 50th Anniversary Juba-LeeStrange Snow (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), The Roommate and Top Girls (Renaissance Theaterworks), and Dancing on the Ceiling (presented by Simone Ferro), as well as countless student, faculty, and guest artist works with UWM Dance. 


Sonya Thompson

Associate Artistic Director

Born and raised in Jamaica, Sonya has been dancing since she was 4 years old.  Embedded in her soul are the traditional culturalisms of African people throughout the Caribbean Diaspora. She has an Associate’s degree from MATC in Administrative Professional Applied Science and plans to pursue her Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in Criminal Justice.