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Above photo: From the intensely dramatic to the light and funny, Peterson & Dancers encompasses it all. A venue for new talent and mixed abilities that is unique to this area. Always refreshing and inspirational. -Lisa Cantu, audience member

2013: Mission and History    Click Here to See the New World School of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award Letter

Karen Peterson and Dancers Inc, founded in 1989 by Artistic Director Karen Peterson, is dedicated to the unique creation, education and presentation of dance through quality based workshops and performances.  The company’s groundbreaking repertory is performed by dancers with and without disabilities and an annual season of new "mixed-ability" work fosters creative opportunities for dance artists of all abilities.  The organization creates and presents “mixed-ability” dance, promotes International Cultural Exchange and provides opportunities for dance artists at Excello, the company’s black box performance home established in 2002.

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 communities in Miami Dade County for twenty - two 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 dance workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances to thousands of audience members, teachers, therapists and special needs students. The organization provides a positive “can-do” role model for both the disability and dance communities through education and outreach without disabilities and is the new art form for the 21st century. Artistic Director Karen Peterson is the only choreographer in Florida who has won four dance fellowship awards, two from the State and two from Miami Dade Cultural Affairs, for her choreographic vision. She shares her tradition and knowledge of contemporary, conservatory dance training with individuals, who despite their disabilities have a professional and artistic desire to perform. It is the collaborative and creative spirit within the art form that makes this effort possible.

Peterson is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory has received numerous Choreographic Fellowship Awards from Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs and has created over 35 works for dancers with and without disabilities. Under her direction, Karen Peterson and Dancers has represented the State of Florida in New York City, Atlanta, Cleveland, Brazil, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Bosnia and Montenegro.

In 2007, KPD reached out to new audiences during a State tour through Tampa, Key West, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach and provided workshops to students and performances to audiences at universities, museums, schools and medical facilities.

The company of eight dancers performed Doris Humphrey’s 1935 “New Dance” with a video lecture. Since 2007, the company has worked with 1500 teens with special needs in the Dade County Public Schools and received a 2011 Knight Arts Challenge Award and a Coldwell Bank Cares Award for this project “The Talent Showcase” now in its seventh year.

In 2010-12, KPD performed for the VSA International Conference at the Harman Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C., completed a five day residency and community performance, in Trebinje, Bosnia and created “dance 4 4” at the Sartre Theatre in Sarajevo, Bosnia. She also facilitated “mixed-ability” workshops in Belgrade, Serbia (May 2013) with the group “Hajde Da” and workshops and performance in Guatemala City with “Alas de Libertad” Dance Troupe (wings of freedom) and with Dance Forms Productions at the 62nd International Choreographers’ Showcase.

In 2012, Karen received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New World School of the Arts, a Rosemary Kennedy Initiative Award from VSA Washington to train young interns, a Cultural Exchange Grant from APAP to continue her work abroad and a Mildred Pallas Foundation grant to create new work.

Since 1990, the company has presented an annual season of new choreography at it home, Excello, at the New World School of the Arts, at Florida International University’s VH100 Theater, at the Byron Carlyle Theater, at the Miami Dade County Auditorium or at smaller community venues.  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 collaborate on new work. Over the past three years, she has also included video in her work.

Master Workshops have been held at the The National Multiple Sclerosis Association, the VA Hospital in Miami, Very Special Arts Florida at the Arsht Center Black Box, the InKub8 Studio Space, The Little Haiti Community Center, at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, The Play Ground Theatre, the Florida Dance Festival in Tampa at the New World School of the Arts, at the Lighthouse for the Blind, Shake-A-Leg, Post Polio Association, Easter Seals, Cerebral Palsy Association, AD Barnes Access Center, Miami Children’s Creative Therapy, the Miami Childrens Museum, the Hope Center, Perdue Medical,  Aventura Arts Center  as well as others facilities throughout the State.

Committed to touring the company has also performed at conferences in New York City (“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 Events 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) in Trebinje, Bosnia for adults with and without disabilities (May 2010) and in Sarajevo, Bosnia (May 2012) to create new work.

The company has been featured on CNN News, ABC News, Miami Artzine, in Dance Magazine, in the Florida Trend Magazine and in the Athena Tasha’s book, “Dancing in the Landscape”.


Support and Donors Karen Peterson and Dancers 2013

$0-$99
Gary Wolfson, Ms. Schrier, Lisa Cantu, Joanne Barrett, Maureen O’Rourke, Don and Ruth Buller
Jackie Acosta, Lee Brooke, Grace Alfiero, Laurence Dorman, Joseph Perkell,
Lynn Sloan, Shawn Buller, Vicki Richards, Julian Corash, Carol Kaminsky, Daniel Corash

$100 – $1000
Dale Andree, Kay Levine, Diane Ashley, Cynthia and Ray Henley, Sheryl and Curt DeGreff, Beth Gordon, Donna and Peter Fayerman,
Abi and Tim Watts Fitzgerald, Jessica Kersey, Judi Hamelburg, Richard Aszatalos, Jackie Acosta, Diane Ashley, Miami Dance Futures,
Norton Viney Foundation, Tigertail, Very Special Arts Florida, Miami Dance Futures, Dale Andree, Martha Castilleja, Hirsh and Company CPA

$1000 – $3000.
Leibowitz Charitable Foundation
Whitten Arts Foundation, New York
Target Corporation
The Miami Foundation
Citizens Interested in the Arts
The Kennedy Center Foundation
The Children’s Trust

$3000 – $5000
Florida Department of State Department Division of Cultural Affairs

$10000 – Above
Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs


Karen Peterson and Dancers Inc. Board of Directors
Updated September 2013

Founding Board Member - Mildred Pallas Levenson

Board Members

Karen Peterson Corash- President and Artistic Director
11760 SW 72 Ave.
305-378-6626
305-298-5879- cell
Karen@karenpetersondancers.org
Affiliations- member of the Florida Dance Association,
the American Presenters Association, Dade Cultural Alliance
Excello Dance Space- studio owner
8700 SW 129th Terrace
Miami, FL 33157

Cynthia Henley- Secretary
Physical Therapist, co-owner Advanced Driving Rehabilitation
7655 SW 142 Street
Miami 33158
cynthiahenley@bellsouth.net
305-232-1971
305-733-8809- cell
Affiliations: South Florida Post Polio Assn,
Post Polio Health International,
University of Miami Post Polio Clinic,
Miami Music Club, Advanced Driver Rehabilitation

cynthiahenley@bellsouth.net
305-232-1971
305-733-8809- cell
Affiliations: South Florida Post Polio Assn,
Post Polio Health International,
University of Miami Post Polio Clinic,
Miami Music Club, Advanced Driver Rehabilitation

Diane de Vries Ashley - Financial
Financial Consultant to Florida International University
dibankker@gmail.com
305-215-7171
8120 S.W. 83rd Street,
Miami, FL 33143

Abigail Watts-FitzGerald - Attorney
awf@devinegoodman.com
Devine Goodman Rasco Watts-FitzGerald & Wells, P.A.
www.devinegoodman.com 
305-374-8200, 305-374-8208- Fax
777 Brickell Avenue, Suite 85o, Miami,  33131

Educational Advisory Members

Beth Gordon
Inclusion Consultant
bgordonvsa@gmail.com
786-261-6021
305-742-8300
305-388-1770
11043 SW 138 Place
Miami, FL 33186
http://www,vsal.org

Judy Litt
Education and Community Engagement Director
The Playground Theatre
judylitt@gmail.com
305-751-9550
9806 Northeast 2 Ave
Miami Shores, FL 33138

Martha Castilleja
Easter Seals at SW Focal Point Senior Center
mcastilleja@sfl.easterseals.com
301 NW 103 Ave
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
 
Lucy Binhack, CTRS, MPA
Disability Services, Director
Binhack@miamidade.gov
305-365-6706
Miami-Dade Country Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces
275 NW 2 Street, Miami, FL 33128

Sherri Hayes, PhD
Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Miami
5915 Ponce de Leon Blvd
Coral Gables, FL 33146
shays@miamidade.edu office phone:  (305) 284-4535 cell:  (305) 934-2349


Three Reasons to Donate to
Karen Peterson & Dancers

1. Response from Audience

“It was inspiring to see the fusion of music, dance and mixed ability performers, It was very powerful, and quite an intense experience to see individuals perceived in the general ‘eye’ as disabled create, express and surpass in ability, what many of us are not capable of doing.” ..................................................................Natasha Bravo, therapist, Children’s Creative Therapy

“Creative, refreshing, imaginative” …………………………..…………..Christine Pointer

“Breathtaking, astounding, awesome” …………………………..……………Anonymous

“From the intensely dramatic to the light and funny, Peterson & Dancers encompasses it all. A venue for new talent and mixed abilities that is unique to this area. Always refreshing and inspirational.” ……………………Lisa Cantu, audience member

“Terrific!!! Very well put together, lots of talent, Bravo!” …………..…….....Enrique Mesri

“One of the things I really enjoyed about the performance I saw was the diversity presented. I found it very interesting to watch such a variety of styles, from creative young girls to seasoned dancers. Each of the dances has a way of communication that was uniquely different from the others. It made me realize how personal dancers make their movements. It was a thoroughly enjoyable program!” …...….................Diane De Vries Ashley Managing Director / Partner Zenith Capital Partners

“Inspirational, moving, encouraging” …………………………..……………..Jill Brondolo

“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

2. Response from Parents

“Excellent program. Word needs to get out to the benefit of highly skilled, dance teachers providing the great benefits of movement, music and creativity to kids with special needs.”…………………………………………………….………....Libby Navarrete

“Gabi was extremely happy. She was working as part of a team. Her confidence has improved greatly.” ……………………………………….…Antoinette Bednarczyk

“Please continue to empower my son; your program is a class “A” service to children and young adults with disabilities. Danny has better coordination and the most beautiful outcome of his achievement in your program is that he now dances at all parties!! I was recently at a party with Danny and he asked every lady in our table
to dance with him. Thank you so much!” …………………………………Janet Belltaylor

“Your classes are a great opportunity for children without Medicaid, to take advantage of the quality of therapy dancing provides. The teachers are so professional.” Sandra Garcell

“I truly believe that the dance classes are helping Gabby to maximize her abilities. For example, it relaxes the muscles enabling her to move more smoothly while performing functional activities, including standing, walking, playing (skipping, hopping, running).” ……………………………………………Marguerite Alvarez, R.P.T.

“This is a wonderful program. Gabi has improved socially, emotionally, and physically.” …………………………………………………………Rose Marie Chang (nurse)

“Emilee’s muscle tone seemed to improve – she gained some weight and increased her stamina. I also noticed a change in her classmates. I was so amazed to see her autistic classmates interacting with teachers, students and even other parents!” …….Lori German

“All activities were rewarding for parents and children.” ……………..Maria C. Hoffman

3. Response from Miami-Dade Teachers

“I hope we could do it next year too.”……………Sara Ogliastri, Nautilus Middle School

“This program gave the students a new and wonderful way to express themselves while reinforcing functional skills.”………Natalie Sanz, North Miami Beach Senior

“The students loved her and the program.”…………………..Brownsville Middle School

“These students demonstrate improvement in motor skills as well as social skills. They learned to work cooperatively and enjoy themselves while engaged in the dance activities…….…………............................................................................Isabel Arias, Farah Arab, Vivian De Armas, Lourdes Duckardt Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior

“What a great experience this was. The students looked forward to participating.” ……………………………………………Gail Williams, Booker T. Washington Senior

“I think the impact of this dance will stay with the children for a very long time.” ………………………………………………..Francine Miller, Brownsville Middle School

“My students felt that they were part of something extraordinary. This program has boosted their self esteem and taught them valuable social skills.”………....Maria Bermudez Country Club Middle School

 

Send your check now to:
Karen Peterson and Dancers, 8700B SW 129th Terrace, Miami, FL 33176-5904
or Via PayPal


 

“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