Josie Metal-Corbin

Profile By: Erin Arellano

Part Five Site Specific Dance

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 collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group” (Dance for PD). Dancers come from all over the world to learn. Before retiring from UNO in 2015, she secured a grant through the NU Foundation to fund a continuation of the program through the Xandi Johnson Foundation.


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Part Six The National Water Dance Project

The National Water Dance Project was a national initiative. People across the nation were asked to demonstrate the fragility of water as a natural resource. At the time, Nebraska was going through a drought, so the project was named “Drought.” It was one of the landmark productions of Metal-Corbin’s career, because she worked with the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Department to secure access to one of our city’s landmarks, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge as the site for UNO’s contribution to the project.

Rehearsals took place in the Dance Lab, the hallways of the School of HPER, and on the UNO track. They practiced in sun, wind, and rain which made it physically challenging beyond the choreography itself. The performance occurred in January, something Metal-Corbin had to remind the national organizers because her performers were standing on a bridge,