Pioneer Winter Launches His Own Dance Studio, Prepares for TEDxMIA and Art Live Fair
|From Pioneer Winter's "Mother-Son(days). "|
In the raised ground with fake turf, "center stage" was four chairs facing west. A conductor in a silver-grey suit came out and stood on the block, then lifted his baton to the applause of the audience now eager for what was to come next. An orchestra of strings, brass and woodwinds chimed in, playing Beethoven's Ode to Joy while dancers performed around the oval. The performance also included choral singers, a gospel choir, and a musical arrangement, and the piece itself combined jazz, gospel, and African drum beats. At the climax, the performers shot confetti strings, followed by young men with signs that read, "You have just experienced a Random Act of Culture."
The event -- sponsored by The Knight Foundation -- was the last official act of its kind in Miami, celebrating the more than 1,000 surprise performances in two years that have appeared in cities across the nation. In the midst of this organized chaos was a young man dressed in jean shorts and t-shirt, darting between the performers and giving directions. He is Pioneer Winter, who served as the dance coordinator for this event and choreographer for the contemporary dancers, the AileyCamp Miami alumni.
This was but one of the many projects the young dancer/teacher/choreographer/artist has recently helped to produce. Not just the aforementioned AileyCamp Miami that took place at the Arsht Center, but also his performances of Mother-Son(days) last spring with Ana Bolt, his recent performance with Ana Miranda, the Aire Dance Company, and Carl Ferrari and Gypsy Cat in Soulé.
Now, he's opened the Miami Dance Studio off of Biscayne Boulevard, on NE Second Avenue between 24th and 25th streets -- a studio rehearsal space and a collaboration center. We caught up with Winter during a rare free moment at the studio, the Friday evening before the Miami Beach event.
The space is an open, sunlit, and airy structure with a high vaulted ceiling, ceiling-to-floor-length windows, and the requisite wall of mirrors. With studio owner and partner Jared Sharon in company, we sat down to talk about Winter's work, vision and journey.
A graduate with both a Bachelor's in psychology and a Master's in public health, Winter also trained in conservatory and summer programs with the Miami City Ballet and North Carolina School for the Arts. Like many artists who try to find balance with their freelance artistic pursuits and personal financial interests, Winter pursued an academic track out of a need for stability. Although he danced and taught locally during and after his studies, he took a job in marketing at Care Resource Miami, a comprehensive community health-care center and resource for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and support. But marketing was not his niche. He was more emotionally invested in the daily aspects of people living with HIV/AIDS.
In his Reaching the Surface, an evening-length work with artists either infected or affected by HIV, Winter aimed to "reduce the stigma" of what it is to live with HIV. A mixed-media piece that involved narrative and spoken-word, it sought to express a "universal language that creates awareness for a greater sense of community," he says. Winter does not seek to use art to educate per se, as it is not his intention to be "preachy" or dogmatic; but he says that art "is a way to reach people as an instrument of positive social change."