We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Peterson Corash and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen, why did you pursue a creative career?
I knew from the age of ten years old I wanted to be a trained dancer and choreographer and there was no way I could have been stopped. I knew I wanted to attend the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and find a place where I had the freedom and support to explore and develop my artistic yearnings. I met a dream husband, had two dream sons, and now at 67 years old I am still able to do what I love in a beautiful place called Miami.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I became interested in physically integrated dance after taking several contact improvisations workshops in California with both dancers and individuals who had disabilities. Members of that community took off their braces, fell from their chairs and threw away their canes to dance on the floor with “abled-bodies” Since then, the world of physically integrated dance has skyrocketed around the world especially in Europe. KPD was created in 1990 so I could have more time to develop my craft and nourish my own vision. Since then, we are the only full-time physically integrated dance company in Florida that has a local, national and international presence. In the beginning, many grant committees did not know if KPD should be placed in the social services category or therapeutic categories. No one expected people with disabilities to become such an inspiration to dance-makers around the world and no one expected KPD to last for 30 years as a viable dance company in South Florida.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When all goes back to normal – Miami Beach, Wynwood, 8th Street, Old Cutler Road still love the drive), Wynwood, Pinecrest Gardens and Matheson Hammocks.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, mentored by a wonderful German modern dance teacher , who was ahead of her time in many ways. She taught me about improvisation, the curiosity of movement and dance as pleasure and also saw dance as a health tool and social connector. At the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where I received my undergraduate degree, I was inspired by a teacher, Ina Hahn, a former Dorus Humphrey dancer, interested in site-specific work, improvisation as a tool for research and solid technical training. The two women, along with my mother, gave me the confidence to pursue anything I wanted in the field of the dance arts. My first job in Miami in the 1980s was with the Coconut Grove Danstheatre, a position I gained after an audition one cold, chilly day in New York City headed up by Billie Kirpich. She was the first women who gave me a one-year contract to become a dance artist, teacher and choreographer. I also give 100 percent credit to my husband, David Corash, a solid figure in my life who has stood by my dreams and inspirations for 40 years.