Pioneer Winter's Phallussy at Miami Made Weekend

Categories: Theater
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At 23, Pioneer Winter is something of a curiosity. He was born in South Miami, graduated from the dance magnet at Michael Krop high school in 2006, choreographed a show for the largest arts festival in the world in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2007, had his master's degree in public health and epidemiology by 2009, performed with Dance Now! Miami, Next Step Dance, and Jubilee Dance Theatre and in Cotton Club Revues in Mexico City, Barcelona and Madrid. He's trained with dancers like Michael Langlois and Brigid Baker. He was also an original cast member in Rosie Herrera's Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret in 2009. 

In Spring 2010, he conceived and directed Reaching the Surface, a multi-disciplinary project aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS stigma by inviting artists infected or affected by the disease to take part. The process was much more charged than the young director had anticipated, with mixed reactions and one performer discovering his positive status during rehearsals. His new show, Phallussy (like phallus + fallacy, in case you were puzzled), part of the Arsht Center's Miami Made weekend, is a series of vignettes that examines and challenges stereotypes tied to gender and sexual orientation.


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Akiko Elliott
New Times: How did your interest in gender roles and sexual preference evolve? 

Pioneer Winter: Since I began choreographing, it's always been my motivation to create work that focuses on social change or reformation, in addition to the obvious artistic aesthetic. Phallussy came out of my own experiences as a young man navigating my way through relationships and my own sexuality. As I am a young choreographer, my experiences are not the same as my cohorts, where most of them have had life occurences that I may not have encountered as of yet. One's sexuality, though, is something that is incredibly visceral. Who better to represent this over-emotional, turbulent, sometimes life-altering experience than someone who is still riding that "wave?"

What are some examples of what Phallussy's audience can expect to see?

Phallussy covers ideas like chivalry--I actually get completely naked (rear to the audience) after undressing so my pas de deux partner can use my clothes to walk over. In return for my kindness, though, she breaks down in a fit of hysterical laughter over my "shortcomings." This serves as a metaphor for other aspects of a relationship where, try as you might, your best is simply never good enough.

The final pas de deux is between a male and female, dancing to a string quartet version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters." As they are dancing in a box of purple light, projected on the back [wall] are two male dancers performing a pre-recorded rendition of the same pas de deux. This shows the inherent differences between male and female dynamics, and how it's really impossible not to find beauty in BOTH versions.

What can the audience expect to feel?

A range of emotions: mostly humor and, at times, a sense of anxiety for the characters.While the Arsht Center has billed Phallussy  as a work-in-progress (part of the Miami Made Weekend's "Incubator" series), I think the audience will feel satisfied with the performance. I can only look forward to presenting more and more work in the future.

Finally, we have to ask: what is the deal with your name?

My name, I can thank my father for. The shortest answer would be that he's a hippie. He wanted my first name to be something very unique and for my middle name to be "Chilly" ... so, "Pioneer Chilly Winter." However, my mom intervened and I was born Pioneer Cole. (Still, when you say my name fast, it sounds like "Pioneer Cold Winter," which, at that point, might as well have been kept as "Chilly.")

Phallussy runs Friday, March 4th at 9:15 p.m. and Saturday, March 5th at 3:15 p.m. at the Carnival Studio Theater (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets are free and seating is first-come, first-served. Visit arshtcenter.org/miamimade.


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