SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. - A southwest Miami-Dade dance studio is home to a special dance troupe that has changed the way people look at dancers with disabilities.
For 23 years, Karen Peterson and Dancers INC has put on performances using traditional dancers with mixed ability dancers, including many who are in wheelchairs or could have special needs.
John Beauregard was paralyzed by a spinal cord injury and said joining the dance troupe 12 years ago changed his life.
"When I first got hurt, I was embarrassed to be seen in a wheelchair and now that's gone," Beauregard told Local 10's Neki Mohan.
Beauregard and his fellow dancers have toured the world, often performing with famous dance companies who are amazed by how they interpret movement.
Karen Peterson and the dancers collaborate, research and integrate their personal movement styles. In 2007, Peterson created a program for students with disabilities in the Miami-Dade Public Schools.
The 15 week program teaches this type of dance to mixed ability students and helps them showcase it at the end.
"It has incredible physical and psychological benefits," said Peterson.
Company dancer Adam Beckstat encouraged everyone to come experience it.
" I really do it to show other people I can do it and inspire other disabled people to do it," said Beckstat.
On Saturday, the company will be putting on a special benefit to raise money for that school program. It will be at the Excello Dance Space at 8700 SW 129th Terrace. For more information, check out www.karenpetersondancers.org.
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