In an opinion piece published on the Miami Herald's website, Karen Peterson, who founded her Miami-based company, Karen Peterson and Dancers in 1990, talks in the first person about how she has brought professional dancers "with and without disabilities together," what it has meant to her, and what it has meant to dancers in Miami, and, as she says, across the globe.
Her company is dedicated to the "development, education and presentation of dance through workshops and performances, integrating dancers and students with a range of physical abilities."
On Thursday, May 11, and Friday May 12, Karen Peterson and Dancers join forces with Austria's LizArt Productions (LAP) to present "Scrutiny: The World Gone Astray" at the Miami Dade Auditorium. Fourteen dancers – seven with disabilities, including those with physical and visual impairments – have worked on "Scrutiny" collaboratively for the past few months. In April, the two groups performed in Vienna, and now they will bring the piece to Miami.
Peterson describes "Scrutiny" as a "reflection of the emotional, social and political turbulence in the world today." The piece is choreographed by Peterson, Juan Maria Seller and Katrina Weaver, and was workshopped with company members. It also includes powerful visuals from Miami-based video artist Maria Lino.
"All of my artistic work in Miami has led up to these performances – the dynamic physical movement, the deep integration of all abilities, collaborators from across the ocean and an opportunity to work closely with my KPD partners,” says Peterson.
“ 'Scrutiny' is an international, cross-cultural, and challenging dance piece,” she adds.
The Austrian collaborators, LizArt Productions, based in Vienna, was founded in 2006 by Elisabeth Löffler and Cornelia Scheuer. It is one of the first arts organizations in the country to include people with disabilities. Loffler and Scheuer have been performing, leading and directing projects for over twenty years in Europe and other countries. LizArt Productions’ vision is that of "equality among all artists, and their diverse bodies."
In the Miami Herald op-ed, Peterson says: "We are going through a time right now when society is more obsessed with human physical perfect than ever before . . .Perhaps, it's time to explode the whole concept of perfection and beauty wide open and create a new paradigm for how we see each other."
With "Scrutiny," as with all of her work, Peterson sums it up like this: "It is my hope that the art I create with my collaborators, and the spark and vision in all cultural work that embraces and expands who we are as people, can speak to this moment and be part of the ongoing change our society needs."
Tickets for "Scrutiny" are $20 general admission, and $15 students and $10 seniors and people with disabilities, and can be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster at tinyurl.com/ScrutinyMiami or in-person at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium box office.
Performances take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12, with a post-performance reception on Friday, at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, “On Stage Black Box” theater, 2901 West Flagler Street, in Miami, which is fully wheelchair accessible. There is free onsite parking.
For more information and to arrange for group sales discounts visit www.karenpetersondancers.org, or call (305) 298-5879.