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karenpeterson
and dancers


Peterson's work has emotional intelligence and touches places in your heart that only a true artist can go. -Mary C.Kane, New York City
about us

KPD is Florida’s only full time dance organization that features choreography performed by dancers with and without disabilities and has been a role model for the artistic and disability community in Miami Dade County for twenty years. Under the dedicated direction of Artistic Director Karen Peterson, the company provides educational programming for children with special needs and provides inclusive rehearsal and performance opportunities for professional dancers with and without disabilities.

KPD is the only organization south of Georgia that has a committed history of providing “mixed-ability” dance workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances
to thousands of audience members, teachers, therapists and special needs students. The organization has provided a positive “can-do” visual role model for both
the disability and dance communities through education and outreach. Artistic Director Karen Peterson is the only choreographer in Florida who has won four dance fellowships, two from the State and to from Miami Dade, for her choreographic vision. She shares her tradition and knowledge of contemporary, conservatory dance training with individuals, who despite their disabilities, have a professional desire to perform. It is the collaborative and creative spirit within dance that makes this
effort possible.

Since 1990, the company has presented an annual season of new choreography at its 50-seat home, Excello, at the New World School of the Arts and at Florida International University’s VH100 Theater. Before “mixed-ability” was recognized throughout the world as a valid art form, Peterson consistently showcased
“mixed-ability” dance using wheelchair and non-chair dance artists to inspire and collaborate on new work.

Master Workshops have been held at the Lighthouse for the Blind, Shake-A-Leg, Post Polio Association, Easter Seals, Cerebral Palsy Association, FAPHERD, AD Barnes Access Center, Miami Children’s Creative Therapy, Post Polio Association, the Hope Center, Perdue Medical as well as many others facilities throughout the State. Committed to touring the company has also performed at conferences in New York (“Mobility Junction Festival at Vineyard Theatre, NYC - 1997) Ohio (CI 25th Anniversary at Oberlin College - 1996), Atlanta (The American Dance Therapists Annual Conference - 1993) and throughout Florida for Very Special Arts in Washington D.C., Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach. The company has branched out internationally and has held residencies in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2001)
and at the “International Festival of Different Abilities” in Carpi, Italy (April of 2002), at the Edinburgh “Fringe” Festival, Scotland (August 2003), at the American Choreographers Showcase, in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain (June 2005), at Montenegrin National Theatre in Podgorica, Montenegro (May 2008) and in Trebinje, Bosnia for youth with disabilities. (May 2010)

The company of eight dancers reconstructed and performed Doris Humphrey’s 1935 “New Dance” and completed a 2007 Florida tour and provided workshops
and a video performance at universities in Tampa, Key West, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. KPD has partnered with Very Special Arts, Arts for Learning
and The Children’s Trust and works with special needs students to research movement towards performance. KPD will perform for the VSA Arts International Conference in Washington D.C. in June 2010 and in Trebinje, Bosnia in May 2010.


"'Perfume de Gardenias' features a wheel chaired dancer, all innovative and accessible"-The Scottish Newspaper Daily Dance Reviews

"... an engaging blend of synchronicity and spontaneity"-The Miami Herald

“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
with recorded video"-Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald

"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"
-Marion Winters, Executive Director, VSA Florida

Photos by Luis Olazabal, Karime Arabia, Fred Karrenberg

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