Miami, FL | Born: 12/08/1987 | Lives and works in Miami
Pioneer Winter is a Miami-native conceptual choreographer and filmmaker; he is an alumnus of the FIU Honors College and holds a B.A. in Psychology (’07) and a Masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (’09). Pioneer has presented work for the International Fringe Arts Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, TEDxMIA at New World Symphony, Miami-Dade College, Museum of Contemporary Art Plaza, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Art Museum, Miami Beach Convention Center, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, WPBT2′s Art Loft, Knight Arts Random Acts of Culture, Bass Museum of Art, Art Wynwood, Deering Estate at Cutler, American College Dance Festival, Art Live Fair, O Cinema, Florida Dance Festival, and Film Gate, among others. Pioneer 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 has worked with Jubilee Dance Theatre, Dance Now! Miami, Next Step Dance, Brazz Dance Theater, Ballet Etoile, Aire Dance Company, and has performed on tour in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain and Mexico City. Pioneer is the only choreographer to be accepted into the Cannonball Miami/LegalArt 2012-2013 residency program for Miami-based artists, and after completing residency with Miami Dade College – Kendall, he will be a resident artist at Miami Theater Center/The SandBox in March 2013. Currently, Pioneer also directs Project LEAP, a free six-month dance and creative communication program for teens that focuses on teaching how to use the arts for activism and social change.
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.
My work demonstrates intersecting properties of contemporary dance and theater in order to promote topics of social awareness through functional multimedia. Self-taught as a media artist, I believe a multichanneled and multileveled introduction to the audience fosters greater reception. This philosophy contributes to the community at-large, rather than relying on an already-knowledgeable arts community, without compromising integrity. The arts have long been credited with an aesthetic that transports its visitors from reality to the fantastic; I utilize this quality in film direction and displays of dual performance-media to hint at topics of social reform in a way best absorbed by the audience. My work in creating site-specific dances and open admission to all performances allows the work to cross barriers, developing community awareness and in vivo arts support–fostering art lovers and geo-social identity.
As a young choreographer and film director, I have found that the connection between academia and the arts has always been a precarious balance of isolationism. I believe that both exist to symbiotically aid in furthering the other. Studies in public health have given me perspective and experiences that many have not confronted. Comparatively, I have used my age as a catalyst for much of my work; this lends itself to my technique. It comes out of my own experiences as a young man navigating my way through relationships and my own sexuality, unique to 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.
I find my sound and visual associations very evident in Reaching the Surface (2010), where I sought to reduce HIV stigma by presenting artists who were HIV+ or advocates. I promoted similarities rather than differences with an underlying theme of health awareness that other directors might not know firsthand. The result was intense, with mixed reactions; one of my cast actually discovered their positive status during the project. Reaching the Surface was created for others, but it actually helped this particular artist through the first weeks of diagnosis.
I find dance for the sake of dance is often unable to access the public. Performance is limited by the presentation space. In film, the audience can be transported to a vastly singular location; practices in hyperbole that are developed for the proscenium are regained with mixed-film and heighten shared events. The structural content can employ interactive storylines as a means to expand the audience’s interpretation. The choreographer controls where the audience looks and what part of the dance or dancers are seen; this creates a guiding dynamic that allows for synchrony and shared experience. In this, both the audience and performers in the films share participatory roles to reach their conclusions simultaneously.
In the past, I have enjoyed the development of a pattern that draws from improvisation and then becomes standardized across the ensemble as they re-work it to suit their own bodies. Now I have learned to observe my dancers fully and create work that I know will translate to them more efficiently—not by condensing movement, but by becoming more aware of my artists’ individuality and reconciling the camera lens. Experimentation still 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 the recording of performance.
My work points to dance as an instrument of social change—its niche not only the portability of the messages, but also the way the themes discussed maintain significance and identification within the current social climate.