Miami, FL | Born: 12/08/1987 | Lives and works in Miami
Pioneer Winter is a Miami-native choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker of Pioneer Winter / Collective. He is co-director of RIFT Blackbox and the curator of transmedia performances for FilmGate Interactive Media Conference. Winter also directs Project LEAP (Living Equality through Arts and Performance), a free dance and creative communication program for LGBTQ teens that focuses on teaching how to use the arts for activism and social change. As a young queer artist, he uses social and cultural narratives to anchor his work. A Horatio Alger Scholar, he is an alumnus of the Florida International University Honors College, and holds a Masters in Biostatistics. Pioneer Winter is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University/White Oak. He was awarded the 2014-2015 Miami Choreographer’s Fellowship.
Pioneer Winter has presented work for the International Fringe Arts Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, as a speaker/choreographer for TEDxMIA at New World Symphony, Miami-Dade College, Museum of Contemporary Art – Plaza, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Perez Art Museum of Miami (formerly Miami Art Museum), Miami-Dade County Auditorium, Miami Beach Convention Center, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, WPBT2’s Art Loft, Knight Foundation Random Acts of Culture, Bass Museum of Art, Art Wynwood, Deering Estate at Cutler, American College Dance Festival, Art Live Fair, Frost Museum of Art, O Cinema, Florida Dance Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, FilmGate Interactive Media Conference, and Triskelion Arts, NYC, among others.
Winter began studying with Edwin and Gaile Holland, followed by Miami City Ballet with further training by Michael Langlois, and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA). Pioneer Winter has performed throughout the United States and toured in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain and Mexico City. He has danced for Dance Now! Miami, Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Brazz Dance Theater, Aire Dance Company, and Next Step Dance, among others. Continued professional development as included intensive choreographic and transmedia labs with The FIELD, MDC Live Arts/Nora Chipaumire, Creative Capital, and the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier program.
Support for his work has included the Puffin Foundation, Miami Foundation, Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs, Miami Beach Arts Trust, Creative Capital Professional Development Program, City of Miami Beach Arts Council, Miami Art Museum, Miami Theater Center, Miami Light Project, and Tigertail Productions. Winter is the only choreographer to be accepted into the Cannonball Miami/LegalArt 2012-2013 residency program for Miami-based artists. He has been in residency at Miami Dade College, Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, and Nova Southeastern University. Winter is on the vision committee for the building of the Pembroke Pines Performing Arts and Civic Center, as well as serving as a grants panelist for Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Community Grants. In Fall 2014 he will join the adjunct faculty of the FIU Honors College.
Pioneer Winter’s projects find their niche in the portability of the messages and how themes discussed maintain significance and identification within the current social climate. Pioneer also works in film; he believes that a multichanneled introduction of medium to the audience fosters greater absorption. This contributes to the community at-large, rather than relying on an already-knowledgeable arts community. More of Pioneer’s work can be viewed here.
Pioneer Winter’s ONTOLOGY of DANCE
Existing in dance—rather, embodying my experiences, seeing the evidence of life and scrutinizing with my own form—I do not hold myself to temporal or spatial parameters. Rather, I see my movement choices as fluid and only truly observable while in a performative state. My self is not made manifest unless presenting. In this, my movement is prompted by social commonalities of sexuality, fear, freedom—humanity at its basest level. And while my ontology looks at collective consciousness, my own subjectivity and here-world is paramount.
My name is Pioneer Winter. My dad says my name came to him from God, but everyone knows it was the marijuana. I had a strange childhood growing up, always fighting for the permission to dance. I remember when I was little, my grandfather passed away — my dad and I stood on the dock behind our house to cast his ashes into the dark lake. My dad turns to me and says, “Give us a little soft shoe, son.” So there I stood holding my grandfather’s ashes in a cardboard box and tapping out ‘Tea for Two.’ This sticks out in my mind as a moment where dance and mortality intersect in my life. And it would not come again for years later until I choreographed a work about my mom. I’m currently developing a solo confessional work titled DJ Apollo, which is a reference to George Balanchine’s neoclassical ballet blanc Apollo with music by Igor Stravinsky, the story of a young and beautiful god at the height of his powers — in this work, it will be a DJ whose lack of relevance and aging has seen him fall from power, no longer capable of drawing and controlling the audiences he once had. This story of mortality will serve to choreographically excavate my fears of aging and dying, not so much for myself but for those I’m afraid of losing.
As a young queer artist, I use social and cultural narratives – my Miami-made history – to anchor my work, demonstrating properties of contemporary dance and theater, along with functional multimedia, text, and current events.I am strongly influenced and uniquely shaped by growing up in Miami, developing work that is site-specific, concert/theater-based, and dance on film.
My process includes development of a pattern that draws from improvisation and then becomes standardized across an ensemble as they re-work it to suit their own bodies. I also observe dancers fully and create work that I know will translate to them more efficiently—not by condensing movement, but by becoming more aware of an artists’ individuality and reconciling the physical differences in all of us. Experimentation remains an integral method in my work and I utilize it to maintain levels of spontaneity and reality. Unlike inanimate mediums, utilization of movement and bodies is both a complication and significant investment. This tenuous boundary between states of staging and revision is unique to choreography and it is something with which I am fascinated.
I promote social awareness and engage the community at-large by creating dialogue focused on community interactions, and interdisciplinary collaboration with dance performances–shaping connections that move. Much of this comes out of my own experience navigating through relationships and my own sexuality, unique from my cohorts and removed from ageist underpinnings. This sexuality, fear, freedom—humanity at its basest level—is something that is incredibly visceral. Many of us are identity-hungry and fight daily to maintain our own truth. My passion resides in crossing barriers–commonalities over stereotypes, and noting the parallels between different people and backgrounds–cultivating geo-social identity through performance.