Josie Metal-Corbin

Profile By: Erin Arellano

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Part Two The Metal-Corbin Touch

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,     

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,     

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,     

And Eternity in an hour. – William Blake

Metal-Corbin asserts that her life is guided by Barry Commoner, renowned physicist and ecologist whose number one rule of ecology is “Everything is Connected to Everything Else.” Of course, this is not a new revelation. It’s been reiterated by the Renaissance man, Leonardo DaVinci; poet William Blake; bio-chemist, Ernest Baldwin; and New Age and alternative medicine advocate, Deepak Chopra. Now it is echoed in the movements, sound waves, and connections created by Josie Metal-Corbin through dance. She understands that we are linked to this world through our every action, which she represents to the world through dance.

Metal-Corbin has always had an eye for sculpture, poetry, and art, probably from her days as a Tam O’Shanter at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Now, she puts her own touch on these art forms by combining them with her choreography. However, working with museums can be challenging. In 2006, the Joslyn Art Museum commissioned her to choreograph a piece for their exhibition, The Human Touch: Selections from the RBC Wealth Management Art Collection.  The Joslyn did not regularly have dance in their galleries. Museums are obligated to maintain certain environmental and security requirements, and they typically have concerns about the risk posed to their exhibits by the movement of dancers. The museum can be held liable for loss or damage should they be found negligent. For this exhibit, in addition to working with the Board of Directors, the Education Director, and the exhibit sponsor, Metal-Corbin found herself dealing with the insurer as well, as there is always a concern when plans entail bodies coming too close to the works of art. Caution was set aside when it was revealed that the choreography was to be in a tableau vivant style, which is French for “living picture.”  “Dancers were dressed in costume and echoed what was on the wall – and then they would ever so slowly move – and everything changed” (Metal-Corbin. 19 Apr. 2017).

 

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Part Three Collaborator Extraordinaire

Metal-Corbin joined UNO as an assistant professor and associate director of The Moving Company in 1980. Her goal was “[to meet] the mission of the University’s community engagement goal within UNO’s Strategic Plan” (Hunter 409). The Human Touch project was one of many events during the span of her career. Considering the sheer volume of people, organizations, and sites that she has worked with over the years, she has definitely provided visibility for the University.

She can be described as many things: dancer, choreographer, teacher; but she says it was her ability at collaboration that defined her career at the University of Nebraska Omaha. “In my drive to establish new alliances, build audiences, and make dance accessible to all I have experienced an impulsive and compulsive drive to find places and spaces for dance to happen, whether it is for advanced