Since 1990, the group has performed brand-new ensemble pieces by numerous choreographers, using hundreds of dancers, at various locations.
KPD is the first full-time dance company in Florida that performs choreography by dancers with and without disabilities. For thirty years, the creative and disability communities in Miami Dade County have looked up to KPD as a role model.
Miss Peterson has worked with over 5000 teens with special needs in the Dade Schools to research movement towards performance since 2006.
Karen Peterson, the artistic director, and founder of KPD, has received numerous dance fellowship honors and awards for her choreographic vision, including:
• Mildred Levenson Dance Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011
• Coldwell Banker’s Cares Award
• A Citizen Interested in the Arts Award
• Cultural Exchange Fund APAP Travel Award
• John and James L Knight Foundation Challenge Award to support the company’s work in the Miami Dade Public Schools
• 2015 American Red Cross-Cultural Award for Women and was named one of the “Queen of the Arts” by the Miami Herald in September 2014
• KPD received $150,000 from the Knights Arts Challenge Award for Forward Motion: A two-year festival of physically integrated dance in 2018 and 2019
Under the dedicated direction of Artistic Director Karen Peterson, the company provides educational programming for students with special needs and provides inclusive rehearsal, performance and touring opportunities for adult professional dancers and choreographers with diverse abilities. Some of the most notorious nationwide events include:
• New York City (“Mobility Junction Festival at Vineyard Theatre, NYC - 1997)
• Ohio (Oberlin College - 1996)
• Atlanta (The American Dance Therapists Annual Conference - 1993)
• Florida (West Palm, Key West, Orlando, Tampa, Naples, the King Center in Brevard County) for Very Special Arts Florida events held at museums, universities, and rehabilitation centers
Artistic Director, Karen Peterson Corash
"Karen Peterson and Dancers is redefining dance"
- Joanne Green, Miami New Times
KPD facilitated the Miami / Lisbon Dance Exchange with a new work entitled IDENTITY for eleven dance artists from Lisbon and Miami.
The work was performed at the Lisbon Forum theatre in April 2016 after a seven-day residency and at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in May 2016 to a SOLD OUT audience.
In 2017, The company premiered Scrutiny – a full-length, work for fourteen dancers, seven with disabilities on May 11, 12, 2017 at the Miami Dade County Auditorium.
The work featured dance artists from the Miami/ Vienna Dance Project, LizArt as well as video artist, Maria Lino, and choreographers Juan Maria Seller, Karen Peterson, and Katrina Weaver.
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 interested in the physically integrated dance form.
The organization provides a positive “can-do” role model for both the disability and dance communities through education and outreach and maintains a high quality of artistic product.
Her company has branched out both locally and internationally and has held outstanding performances and residences in:
• Festival of Different Abilities” in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2001)
• Festival of Different Abilities” Carpi, Italy (2002)
• The Edinburgh “Fringe”, Scotland (2003)
• American Choreographers Showcase, in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain (2005),
• Montenegrin National Theatre in Podgorica, Montenegro (2008) Community Center in Trebinje, Bosnia for adults with and without disabilities. (2010).
• Sarajevo, Bosnia in at the Sartre Theatre (2012)
• Hajde Da Dance in Belgrade, Serbia in 2013 to set a new dance work "Body Without Text" on 26 mixed ability dance artists, from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia, with a final performance in Belgrade. (2013)
• Members from KPD performed repertory excerpts at "The Off Frame Festival" in Belgrade (2013 and in 2014)
• Ms. Peterson and Lize-Lotte Pitlo set an improvisational dance on seven members from the “CroiGlan” Dance Company, in Cork, Ireland
• Very Special Arts International Conference at the Harman Shakespeare in Washington D.C.
• New World School of the Arts
• Florida International University’s VH100 Theater
• Byron Carlyle Theater
• Excello, in the Falls Industrial area
• Pinecrest Gardens amphitheater
• Nova Southeastern University Theatre
• Miami Dade County Auditorium
• the Lighthouse for the Blind
• Post-Polio Association
• Easter Seals
• Cerebral Palsy
• AD Barnes Access Center
• Miami Children's Museum
• Hope Center
• Perdue Medical
• Jackson Hospital
• South Dade Cultural Arts Center
• Aventura Arts Center
• City of Miami showcase for special needs
• Very Special Arts
• The Children’s Trust’s Community Events
To continue spreading the word about "physically integrated dance" as a legitimate dance style accessible to the dance and disability populations, the group regularly performs at smaller community venues nationwide and pledges to continue the integration of dance and movement through a unique, diverse and visionary approach.