When most Americans think of Africa, they do not envision mansions, yet this is the kind of life Edna Stevens enjoyed in Liberia. But when she came to American, she had to give up her life of comfort.
Growing up in Monrovia, Liberia, Ms. Stevens had a very luxurious lifestyle. Her family lived in an estate complete with wait staff, a playground, and individual rooms for each family member. But in 1980, Edna’s life was turned upside down. Sensing the increase in civil unrest, her family fled Liberia, just before the onset of a horrendous military coup.
Edna arrived in Virginia when she was seven years old. She did not stay there for very long, however, since the waitlists for schools were very slow. Ms. Stevens moved to New York where she completed her education. At school, her peers often mocked her due to her thick accent and status as an immigrant. After she finished her schooling, Edna did some acting and modeling in New York before decided to relocate to Minnesota.
Since moving to Minnesota, Ms. Stevens founded her own dance company: Universal Dance Destiny. Her company has performed in venues throughout Minnesota—such as the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and the Walker Art Center—as well as international locations. The company has spawned a nonprofit division called Universal Dance Ministry, which emphasizes ministerial and worship dance productions. Edna lives in Minneapolis with her two children.