Karen is well known for her extensive work with children and communities as a Touring Artist, Artist-in-Residence, choreographer and educator for over thirty years. She holds a BA from Middlebury College and has received numerous awards from the Vermont Arts Council and, most recently, the Governor's Award for Arts in Education. Dance for and with others, she teaches, is a lesson in self-esteem and group dynamics. It builds confidence in one's body and provides a real emotional outlet. Paula Routly of Seven Days wrote "Amirault... has singlehandedly turned more people on to dance... than any other choreographer in Vermont."
The Karen Amirault Dance Company & KIDZ performs a high-energy repertoire of jazz and tap styles including Latin, African, hip hop, vaudeville, swing and Broadway. The troupe's unique blend of street-smart moves and show-biz glitz celebrate jazz music, dance, multigenerations and multiculturalism. Monkton parent Eugenie Doyle wrote that she's a "rare combination of... technique, flare and heart unequaled in this state.
Residencies: In daily intensive movement sessions, students and teachers are introduced to a variety of traditional and contemporary jazz dance styles that may include hip hop, break and street dance, West African, Latin, swing and/or musical theatre. Creating original dances challenges creativity and movement memory, and familiarizes students with the body/mind connection. Residencies are designed according to the sponsor's needs and include a Teacher/Parent Workshop as well as a final sharing for peers, staff, families and community. Curriculum tie-ins have involved habitats (penguins jitterbugging to keep warm), tall tales, American history through the decades, science (metamorphosis, water cycle, solar system), Vermont geography, and contemporary dance, music, visual art and cultrual trends.
Karen also works with special needs adults and at risk teens, dancing in a classroom setting. Learning about personalities, physical and emotional considerations, and past movement experiences gives each program direction.
Opportunities for in-depth programming might involve building Master Classes into a performance date or incorporating live performance into a residency situation. Karen offers In-service Workshops for teachers and staff as well as grant-writing consultation. Evening jitterbug workshops for parents and adults are especially popular during school residencies. As a choregrapher, Karen enjoys working with community theatres, youth theatre troupes, a capella singing groups, and elementary, middle and high schools statewide.