Karen Peterson & Dancers Celebrate 32 Years of Impacting Dance and Disability Communities with Multimedia Dance Concert on May 27-28

For 32 years, Karen Peterson & Dancers (KPD) have been conducting stage performances aimed at focusing public attention on physically integrated dance presentations. Her ensemble will celebrate that multi-decade milestone with a very special production of “Repertory Favorites,” a multidisciplinary dance concert, May 27 and May 28 at The Dennis C. Moss Cultural Arts Center’s Lab Theatre in South Florida. 

KPD’s dynamic exhibition will feature eight company members performing  dance numbers  created by acclaimed physically integrated choreographers from across the United States. A documentary on KPD’s dance program for teens with special needs in the Miami-Dade County Public School System will also be presented and a premiere of KPD’s latest work is also on the show’s bill of fare.

The concert includes a curation of works from the KPD repertoire to honor its more than three decades of dedication to inclusive, mixed-mobility dance, education and advocacy gained by performances held in the US and around the world. 

“We’re thrilled to feature the culmination of our repertoire to celebrate our 32nd anniversary,” said Karen Peterson-Corash, KPD’s founder and artistic director. “We’re proud to continue our commitment to the development of physically integrated dance and to advocacy for DEI: diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

The program will offer “Time Being,” a dance piece created by award-winning, LA-based choreographer Victoria Marks, which premiered at the 4th Annual Forward Motion Dance Festival in October 2022. Five KPD dancers (Shawn Buller, Marjorie Burnett, Adam Eckstat, Narieka Masla and Sun Young Park) will perform with both mobility devices and static dining room chairs. This piece playfully flips the script on the kind of physically integrated dance that seems to feature the non-disabled performers at the expense of the dancers with disabilities.

Also on the performance schedule is “Remember When,” crafted by acclaimed physically integrated choreographer Marc Brew. The multimedia piece features veteran KPD dancer Jesus Vidal framed by video vignettes to open a conversation of remembrance. Having first been performed in East London in 2008, it continues to offer themes portraying a peeling away of layers, using line and extension, intricate folding, placement and replacement.

Another segment of the show includes an excerpt of a duet from “Lost and Found,” performed by Penelope Huerta and Jesus Vidal. 

New to the repertoire, KPD premieres their latest work called “A Curious Distraction,” featuring four KPD company dancers (Monica Lynne, Adam Eckstat, Sun Young Park and Jesus Vidal) utilizing a bench and cane as props.

The KPD concert series will also premiere a new film by Dinorah de Jesus Rodriquez entitled “Foot Loose,” which spotlights six groups of teen-age dancers with special needs in the Miami-Dade County Public School System who had the opportunity to create choreographies with professional dancers from KPD. The film documents the experiences of each group as they work through the choreography and rehearse their final culminating performance.

Time Being, featuring, from left, Adam Eckstat, Sun Young Park, Marjorie
Burnett, Karen Peterson-Corash and Shawn Buller

All venues are fully wheelchair accessible and have free onsite parking. To arrange for group sales and discounts (10 or more people), for any questions, and to request materials in accessible format, sign language interpreters and/or any disability accommodation, call 305-298-5879 or email karen@karenpetersondancers.org.

Support for KPD comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, SouthArts, The Miami Foundation, Citizens Interested in the Arts, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

The performances will be held at 2 and 8 p.m. May 27 and 2 p.m. May 28 at the Dennis C. Moss Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 St., Cutler Bay. Tickets can be purchased for $20 online at MossCenter.org or by calling the box office at 786-573-5300. Seniors, students, military personnel and people with disabilities can get a 10 percent discount on tickets. Get your tickets here.

Karen Peterson & Dancers was founded in 1990 and is dedicated to the development, education and presentation of physically integrated dance. The troupe has brought together performers with diverse abilities as role models for the dance and disability communities for more than 30 years. 

The organization has presented an annual season of new work at multiple venues throughout South Florida and has invited hundreds of dance artists to be part of the company’s creative and inclusive performance process. 

The troupe has performed nationally, at festivals from New York to Washington, D.C., and has taken part in shows in nine countries and communities overseas, including Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Serbia, Guatemala City and Portugal. 

In honor of her work, Ms. Peterson has received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the New World School of the Arts, a Bank of America “Cultural Award” from the American Red Cross and a “Queen of the Arts” Award from the Miami Herald. 

In 2019, the company was named “Best Dance Company” in Miami by the New Times and received the 2017 Boston Conservatory Alumni Entrepreneurial Award to support the presentation of “Warmamas: A Performance” at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City. 

Time Being, with Sun Young Park

KPD produced the annual international festival of physically integrated dance, “Forward Motion,” in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 with the support from the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Peterson’s ensemble has brought together leading physically integrated dance companies from around the country, including Candoco, Kinetic Light, Heidi Latsky, Axis, Dancing Wheels and Full Radius. 

Karen Peterson-Corash is a  2022 recipient of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music Alumni Achievement Awards for her “dedicated work in the field and contributions to society” and was invited to be part of a three-city NEA-funded tour “Beyond Barriers, Boundaries and Beliefs” with Dancing and Wheels and Heidi Latsky Dance in June 2022 in Cleveland, Brooklyn, and Miami. 

KPD has also sustained ongoing educational and training workshops in the Miami-Dade Schools since 2006, working with more than 5000 teens with special needs. 

Reviews of the KPD include:

“A high artistic level for contemporary dance” (El Nuevo Herald

“One of Miami’s cultural treasures” (Miami New Times

“A tour de force, an exquisite and inquisitive look at mixed ability dance…innovative and meaningful….10 great moments in Miami dance – special, defining, unrepeatable of the year 2017.” (The Miami Herald)

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