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Forward Motion Physically Integrated Dance Festival & Conference Returns to Miami

Forward Motion Physically Integrated Dance Festival & Conference Returns to Miami

Countries around the world are both reassessing society through the lens of diversity, inclusion and equity, and are working to slow and end the pandemic of COVID-19. Arts and culture that address who we are at this moment can be a vital part of both change and recovery, and the third annual Forward Motion Physically Integrated Dance Festival & Conference, taking place in Miami from September 22 through the 25, aims to do just that.

Returning after being canceled in 2020 when performing arts venues were shuttered, the Festival showcases companies, dancers and choreographers who are inclusive of those with and without disabilities, exploring a new terrain of beauty, movement and performance. Produced by Florida’s own groundbreaking physically integrated dance pioneers, Karen Peterson and Dancers (KPD), this third event will truly mark the start of South Florida's reopened performing arts season, and feature some of the best dancers and companies of any kind, in performance, in discussion and holding workshops.

With ongoing lead support from the National Endowment of the Arts, KPD has put together a notable program that will appeal to Miami audiences, as well as help define what physically integrated dance is in 2021. The line-up inlcudes:

Dancing Wheels Company, one of the leading physically integrated groups in the United States. The company tours globally presenting innovative works from nationally acclaimed choreographers such as Heidi Latsky, David Dorfman and David Rousseve. The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls them, “Energized and pulsing.”

Choreographer Marc Brew, Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company, the acclaimed physically integrated ensemble based in Oakland, CA, returns to Forward Motion to set one of his solo pieces on Miami-based wheel chair dancer Jesus Vidal de Leon. Brew was formerly a dancer in London's Candoco Dance Company, one of the world's top physically integrated groups, and The Scotsman said he, " Knows exactly how to touch his audience in all the right places."

Tampa's REVolutions Dance, is a physically integrated company that has performed around the country. Artistic Director Dwayne Scheunemann is a former member of Oakland’s AXIS Dance Company, the acclaimed physically integrated, and his company returns to Forward Motion for a second time this year.

Karen Peterson and Dancers, one of the leading physically integrated dance companies in the Southeast United States, tours and collaborates internationally. They were recently named “Best Dance Company” by the Miami New Times, and MiamiArtZine calls their work, “Intricate and meaningful…an eye-opening experience.”

"It's with much relief and a renewed sense of commitment that we are bringing Forward Motion back to South Florida this September, after more than a year of reduced contact with our audiences," says Karen Peterson, Founder and Artistic Director of both her own KPD company, and the Forward Motion event. “Dancers and choreographers find beauty in the world – much needed right now – through the work we do, and that's especially true for those of us pushing the boundaries of physical differences to discover new vocabularies and possibilities." 

The Forward Motion schedule includes a set of free "conference" activities, workshops and classes for a range of students and communities, and main performances taking place at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium:

Wednesday, September 22

Workshop with Dancing Wheels, 5:00 to 6:30 pm

For the general public, for those with and without disabilities, and for dance professionals and students. Location ArtSpace/Studio at the Koubek Center-Miami Dade College.

Tickets are $10 at the door only.

A closed-to the-public gathering of the physically integrated dance companies attending Forward Motion will follow.

Thursday, September 23

Workshop with Marc Brew, 5:00 to 6:30 pm

For the general public, for those with and without disabilities, and for dance professionals and students. Location ArtSpace/Studio at the Koubek Center-Miami Dade College. Tickets are $10 at the door only. 

Conversation With Company Directors, 7:00 pm

Free and open to all, a conversation with all four company directors and dance critic Jordan Levin, on the past, present and future of physically integrated dance. Location theater at the Koubek Center-Miami Dade College.

Friday, September 24

Community Contact Improvisation "Jam," 5:30 to 6:45 pm

Free and open to all, led by Karen Peterson of KPD and Dwayne Scheunemann of REVolutions Dance for those with and without disabilities, and for dance professionals and students. Location ArtSpace/Studio at the Koubek Center-Miami Dade College.

I Am A Dancer, 7:00 pm

Free talk and discussion with choreographer Marc Brew about his career in dance as a wheelchair user breaking boundaries. Location theater at the Koubek Center-Miami Dade College.

Welcome Reception, 8:00 pm

Free reception for all immediately following the talk, on the Koubek Center patio.

Saturday, September 25

Forward Motion Main Performances, 2:00 and 8:00 pm

The main performances this afternoon and evening feature the same program, showcasing all Forward Motion companies and guest on the main stage of the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. Performances include the Miami premieres of Dancing Wheels' Company's Pallas Athena, with choreography by Catherine Meredith, and Odyssey, with choreography by Marc Brew; the Miami premiere of Perky, Quirky, Smirky, from REVolutions Dance, with choreography by Christina Acosta; the Miami premiere of Remember When, a solo featuring Jesus Vidal de Leon, choreography by Marc Brew; and a new restaging of KPD's Lost and Found, choreography by Karen Peterson, video by Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez. Tickets are $25, with special discounts and ticket packages available. 

Visit www.ForwardMotionMiami.com for full Forward Motion information, schedule and ticket purchase links. Saturday main shows are each $25 general admission, $18 for students with ID, seniors 65 and over, and people with disabilities. Show tickets through Ticketmaster or in-person at the Auditorium box office. Workshops are $10 for everyone, pay at the door.

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