PSA: The Dancing Granny: A Collaboration Between Ko-Thi Dance Company and First Stage!

Next up in First Stage’s 2021/22 season will be THE DANCING GRANNY, a play by Mansa Ra adapted from the children’s book by beloved author/illustrator Ashley Bryan. The production is part of First Stage’s First Steps Series which introduces younger audiences to live theater. Based on an African folktale, the play is a joyful celebration of storytelling, song, movement, community and the beauty of everyday life. First Stage Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement Samantha D. Montgomery will direct this production and Ko-Thi Dance Company Artistic Director DeMar Walker provides choreography, as well as plays the roles of Old Man and Ananse the Spider. The production will also feature live drumming with Kameron “Keon” Sykes. 

Kids and adults will be dancing in their seats as Ananse, the clever spider of African folklore, tries to trick Granny into dancing away from her garden so he can take her vegetables. But his plan backfires when he is drawn into the dance himself. “Shake it to the East, shake it to the West, shake it to the one that you love best!” Sponsored by PNCPerformance runtime is approximately 45 minutes, with no intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 3-7+. 

THE DANCING GRANNY runs February 12 – March 6, 2022 at Goodman Mainstage Hall at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $15. Tickets are available online at or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961.  

Director Samantha D. Montgomery had this to say about THE DANCING GRANNY: “I am excited about First Stage and Ko-Thi collaborating and working together to share Mansa Ra’s adaptation of Ashley Bryan’s THE DANCING GRANNY with the community. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to share, laugh, strengthen their bond and enjoy one another as they listen to the voice and move to the rhythm of this African folklore.” 

Choreographer/Ko-Thi Artistic Director DeMar Walker also commented: “THE DANCING GRANNY will bring together two Milwaukee artistic forces celebrating the amazing cultural legacy of oral tradition and storytelling within the Black theatrical experience. I feel this production runs in tandem with the conceptual works that Ko-Thi Dance Company has performed in recent years for audiences of various ages and backgrounds. We are beyond thrilled to showcase our versatility and virtuosity during this unprecedented time with the incomparable First Stage children’s theater.” 

Added First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank, “We are honored to work with our friends at Ko-Thi Dance Company to bring to life this adaptation by beloved author/illustrator Ashley Bryan. This show will make you want to get up and move!” 

for more information on times and tickets please visit First Stage here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.