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"The KPD dance program gives the children a program that does not mandate perfection because of mental or physical challenges. It builds their confidence and social skills as well as finding an outlet of acceptance regardless of their disability. They are actually having fun while working hard. This program is pleasurable and productive for the child who regularly has to attend occupational and physical therapy to achieve the same results. My daughter's social skills, attitude, self confidence, visual motor and physical skills have improved and she dances everywhere she goes. It is an incredible program for the special needs kids without the pressure to achieve unobtainable physical and mental goals expected in a regular dance class. The program is truly a beautiful experience for my daughter and her friend, Gabi who suffers from Cerebral Palsy." Sendi Goss, mother of Shay Goss


Children with developmental and physical special needs are invited to participate in this dance and
performance workshop creating together towards a performance for families and friends


Please see compiled surveys of the Miami Dade County teachers who participated in the program

YEP PROGRAM - The 6th Talent Showcase – Nov 2011 – March 2012 by Karen Peterson and Dancers Inc

Survey Responses from Miami Dade Classroom ESE/SPED Teachers

What improvements did you see in your students?  What impact did the dance program have on your students?

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Lund for working with my students with varied exceptionalities.  I have students with significant intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, specific learning disability, speech impairment, language impaired, and selective mute and hearing deficit.  Ms. Lund accepted my students with their varied abilities and helped them to improve in many ways. The biggest impact of this program was on their self confidence.  Some students were amazed to find out what they can do with their body while few showed off his/her capacity to move the body.  Students’ coordination improved.  Progress in sequential visual perception, visual memory was evident.  For students, it was a journey of joy.”

  • Harsha Shah, Miami Palmetto Senior High School

“I was extremely pleased with the Dance Program this year. My students enjoyed every session and were totally engaged. The overall improvements were gross motor skills/freedom of body movements, following directions, self-confidence, eagerness to participate, and social skills.”

  • Yvette Asous, Hialeah High

“We saw several improvements in our ASD students this year.  The greatest of these is the students’ individual progress in following directions, coupled with each student’s increasing strength in performing modeled physical movement, most notably for students that have huge gross-motor and vestibular impairments.  We have Autism-spectrum students, and believe me; our students have disabling conditions from one edge of the spectrum to the other! Our students were ALL able to participate, and as a team, were able to create something larger than themselves.  This is huge, because for the most part, most of these youngsters are left out of the larger picture and have very few, if any, chances to work as a performance group TOGETHER with anyone.  WE WERE ALL THRILLED WITH THE PROGRESS EACH OF OUR STUDENTS MADE IN THE GROUP DYNAMIC AND INDIVIDUALLY AS WELL!!!!!”

  • Vicki L. Pollard, Booker T. Washington Senior

“I noticed after a few times of music therapy, my students were following the routine.  The students in my class need physical therapy for motor skills. Music therapy provides them with the extra exercise and movement they need. The warm-up activity and dance routine helps stretch and move body parts that they don’t normally move.”

  • Mr. Vidal, North Miami Beach Senior High

“The children are more involved this year.  I think that since they now know Karen, they feel more comfortable with her.  My students do not do well with change so keeping everything consistent does help.”

  • Roxana Hernandez, South Dade Senior High

“I teach autistic students. The dance movement class this year with Jennifer was excellent. Her class was fun for my students and it allowed them to express themselves thru movement.  They really enjoyed her and looked forward to her class each week. It allowed free expression which in turn gave them confidence.”

  • Susan Berger, Hialeah High School

“Our students’ disability consists of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Trainable Mentally Handicapped and orthopedically impaired.  This program impacts the students in that it helps them with their self-esteem.  They learn to work together in a team with peers. It also helps them with coordination, produce quality work, behave in a cooperative way in a group, and communicate effectively.”

  • Martha Prado, North Miami Senior High

“My students enjoyed Mrs. Karen’s class. They improved their coordination as well as their skills in following directions. They learned how to work in a group and their self esteem went up. My students looked forward to her class every week and she has a lot of patience for my students. They benefit with skills such as independent functioning, socialization, coordination, following directions, and initiative.”

  • Maria Bermudez, Country Club Middle School

“The students enjoyed this program enormously. The main improvement which I observed was that I was able to use the dance practice as a reward or positive reinforcement, in order to improve behavior. On dance practice days, students arrived eager for their practice and looked forward to working with Lina which was incredible with this population.”

  • Lourdes Luis, Southwest High School

“The final performance was a wonderful accomplishment for our students.  They were so proud of their performance. Despite their varying abilities they helped one another achieve success. Although the activities were unfamiliar at first, the students became more confident and looked forward to every class. They were eager to show their new found talents in movement and dance. They followed directions, modeled movement. Their self expression and group interaction were greatly enhanced. It was a very positive experience!”

  • Nancy Beim, Booker T. Washington Senior High

“My students enjoyed Karen’s class. They improved their coordination as well as their skills in following directions. They learned how to work in a group and their self esteem went up.  My students look forward to her class every week and she has a lot of patience for my students. They benefit with skills such as independent functioning, socialization, coordination, following directions and initiative. I wish this could be offered all year.”

  • Maria Bermudez, Country Club Middle School


“Students learn cooperation, coordination, working as a team, and building self-esteem” a

  • Julia Altman, Miami Northwestern Senior High School

“This program has a positive impact on our students. Everyone enjoyed working with Ms Karen. They enjoyed performing at Booker T Washington SHS and were very proud of themselves”

  • Ms. Creevay and Ms Fernandez, Miami Springs Senior High School


“The students looked forward to the dance classes in their schedule and made more interaction with their peers”

  • Jeanne Zayas, John A Ferguson,  Senior High School

“I noticed that certain students came out of their shells, sort to speak! They enjoyed themselves so much that they blossomed right before our eyes. My students wanted to perform again and they loved the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts center Venue. I noticed that certain students were able to follow multi-directives while dancing – something that is very difficult for them to do when completing an academic task. Thank you for all you do!”

  • Ms Toledo, Campbell Drive Middle School

“I want to inform you how wonderful Lina was with out students. She was a natural working with this population and they loved her. She was able to encourage and achieve what seemed impossible. I thank you for the experience.”

  • Susan Berger, Hialeah High School

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“Karen Peterson and Dancers is funded in part by: “the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, helping bring South Florida together through the arts” by The Children's Trust. The Trust a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County, by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor, the Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioners, by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts." Supported in part by: Coldwell Bankers, The Mildred Pallas Levenson Dance Foundation, Miami Salon Group.  Citizens Interested in the Arts, the Whitten Foundation, CEP APAP Travel Award and Power2Give

Please contact our Accessibility Coordinator, Karen Peterson at karen@karenpetersondancers.org with any questions or concerns regarding performances or worksh


Excello Dance Space | 8700B SW 129th Terrace, Miami FL 33176 | 305-298-5879 | karen@karenpetersondancers.org