Oscar Trujillo, Jesus Vidal de Leon Photo credit: Karime Arabia
Oscar Trujillo, Shawn Buller Photo credit: Karime Arabia
Jesus Vidal de Leon, Justice Rodriquez, Katherine Brennan Photo credit: Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez

Featured artist is Karen Peterson Corash, the founder, artistic director, choreographer of Karen Peterson Dancers (KPD).  Karen is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and has received many awards from Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs for her physically integrated choreography. She has created over twenty-five works that have been presented in New York City, Atlanta, Cleveland, Brazil, Italy, Scotland, Bosnia, Serbia, Guatemala, Montenegro and Ireland. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 from the New World School of the Arts and also a Coldwell Bankers Cares Award, Citizens Interested in the Arts Award, Cultural Exchange Award from APAP, a Knight Foundation Challenge Award, American Red Cross-Cultural Award, an Autism Speaks Award and was named one of the “Queen of the Arts” by the Miami Herald 2014. She has influenced the dance and disability communities in South Florida for 29 years with her dedicated activities of education, creation and presentation of inclusive dance. She received the 2019 Boston Conservatory at Berklee Alumni Entrepreneurial Award for the presentation of “Warmamas” at the Judson Memorial Church, NYC. She is also a Miami-Dade County, Dance Miami Choreographers’ (DMC) Program Winner for 2019 – 2020.

    Karen Peterson and Dancers (KPD), based in Miami, was founded in 1990 and is Florida’s leading non-profit dance organization dedicated to integrating professional dancers and students with a range of physical abilities.  It is the only full-time organization south of Georgia that works in the physically integrated dance genre on a statewide, national, and international level. The company’s focus on physically integrated dance includes those with and without disabilities, which both elevates the human spirit and reshapes the paradigms of dance and beauty, regardless of perceived or real barriers.

     The company has presented an annual season of new work throughout South Florida and nationally, from New York to Washington, D.C., and in nine countries, including Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Serbia, Italy, Montenegro, Britain, and Portugal.  In honor of her work, Ms. Peterson has received multiple choreography awards from the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, 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. 

     The organization received a 2011 Knight Foundation Award to support inclusive dance in the Miami Dade Schools, a 2017-2019 Knight Foundation Challenge Grant, a 2018 and 2019 NEA Grant and a 2019 Funding Arts Award to support “Forward Motion” Miami’s annual festival of physically integrated dance in 2018 and 2019.  The 2019 Forward Motion Festival is scheduled for September 26 – 28 in Miami.

     KPD has also sustained ongoing educational and training workshops including working with over 5,000 teens with special needs since 2006. Reviews of the KPD: “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). www.karenpetersondancers.org

     KPD was named the best Miami Dance company by the Miami New Times in 2019.

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