Karen Peterson Corash, the 1990 founder and artistic director of non-profit Karen Peterson and Dancers Inc. is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and has received numerous awards for her choreography that focuses on mixed-ability work for 26 years.
Karen and her company are teaching artists, performers, creators and advocates for physically integrated dance. Karen has developed and led “mixed-ability” dance events with her troupe (KPD) on a local, national and international level and at dance and disability festivals in NYC, Atlanta, Cleveland, Brazil, Italy, Bosnia, Scotland, Serbia, Guatemala, Montenegro, Ireland and Lisbon. KPD performed for the VSA International Conference in Washington D.C. in 2010 and directed workshops in Guatemala City for “Alas de Libertad” (Wings of Freedom), a VSA Latin American partner in 2012.
Karen is a “Lifetime Achievement Award” winner from the New World School of the Arts, a Bank of America "Cultural Award" winner from the American Red Cross, and a "Queen of the Arts” Award from the Miami Herald.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, announced that Karen Peterson and Dancers (KPD) has been awarded a major grant of $150,000 to launch Forward Motion, an annual integrated dance festival and conference in Miami in September 2018 and 2019. Candoco Dance and Axis will be part of this festival.
KPD is South Florida’s only professional company dedicated to mixed ability or integrated work, and Forward Motion is the next step in advancing their work. Forward Motion will be one of the first annual events anywhere in the world dedicated to bringing together dancers with and without disabilities – including leading international companies of excellence, teachers and choreographers – for public performances, new commissions, community teaching, and professional educational opportunities.
The company's mission remains in place since 1990. KPD is dedicated to the development, education and presentation of physically integrated dance through workshops and performances.
Since the incorporation, the company has serviced over 5000 teens with disabilities within the Miami Dade schools, has greeted and performed with over 100 International dance artists abroad and In Miami and has engaged over 10000 dance audiences members in formal and informal concerts to the visions of possibilities of inclusion with ideas of dance and disability.
"'Perfume de Gardenias' features a wheel chaired dancer, all innovative and accessible"-The Scottish Newspaper Daily Dance Reviews
“Mano a Mano is a tour de force, offering a more a more exquisite and inquisitive look at mixed ability dance”….. “innovative and meaningful”-Mia Leonin, Performance Journalism
"Karen Peterson and Dancers is redefining dance"-Joanne Green, Miami New Times
"this is a most interesting dance company and one that should attract attention of dance lovers; in the future buy a ticket", Marj O'Neil Butler for Miami ArtZine Magazine
"Buoyant Dreams was beautiful. It brought the concert up to a new level. Please tell your dancers how much they were admired"-Anna Preston, VSA Regional Coordinator for the Lyric Theatre, Stuart, Florida
"unconventional concepts of beauty, using two traditional dancers and two in wheelchairs
"daring artistic challenge to society's notions of physical form and graceful movement"-ENZ Magazine
"Ms. Peterson has consistently performed outstanding work locally, statewide and nationally and made vital contributions to the field of accessibility to the cultural arts"
Carlos Ochoa, Tom Olsen, Danielle Peloquin