Metal-Corbin is very proud of the fact that while most university modern dance programs are associated with fine arts or performing arts departments, The Moving Company and Dance Lab remain a part of the College of Education’s School of Health Physical Education and Recreation, which is historically unusual for modern dance. She has always tried to connect dance to the University’s goal of community engagement by connecting The Moving Company to academics and working in secondary schools, combining efforts with other university departments and community-based activities.
Metal-Corbin was engaged in an emerging 21st century genre of research and choreography entitled Public Scholarship and Site-Specific Dance. However, she didn’t realize that she was doing a particular kind of scholarship until one of her colleagues, Victoria Hunter, edited a book, Moving Sites: Investigating Site Specific Dance Performance. Metal-Corbin was asked to talk about the prairie and how it is public scholarship: “It’s exciting for me because it labeled what I was doing” (Metal-Corbin. 26 Apr. 2017). Metal-Corbin wrote a chapter called “Dancing in Place: Site Specific Work.” In her chapter, Metal-Corbin considers all aspects of public scholarship work with the purpose of giving authority to site-specific dance as a serious form of contemporary dance. But most importantly, she talks about the use of this approach to scholarship to “forge connections between performers and audiences to advance discussions on substantive societal issues such as the environment, prejudice, tolerance, courage, and respect” (Metal-Corbin 410).
Metal-Corbin was involved in site-specific dance, even before the phrase was coined. Reach for It started out as a program for elders at the old Paxton Manor. She and her husband, David Corbin, volunteered and started to teach dance and exercise to residents. Eventually, they wrote a book called Reach for It: A Handbook of Health, Exercise and Dance Activities for Older Adults to describe their approach. Although Metal-Corbin stopped participating in these lessons, he continued teaching every Friday, working with elders, for 34 years.
Then seven years ago, she started a new Reach for It, though unlike the original, this was a dance class solely for persons with Parkinson’s. She went to New York for training: “There’s a famous dance company, the Mark Morris Dance Group that provides a wonderful Parkinson’s program. Dance for PD® was “launched as a non-profit