Pioneer Winter Collective Debuts “Birds of Paradise” at the Sandrell Rivers Theater

The art of dance is alive and thriving in the community of South Florida. One of the leading dancers in the local scene is Pioneer Winter. Having been commissioned for performances at the Miami Theater Center, Karen Peterson and Dancers, Tigertail Productions, Jacksonville Dance Theatre, FundArte, and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Pioneer has set the stage for exceptional artistry in his genre with notable acclaim.

Not only has he achieved recognition locally, but he has also been given acclaim nationally. In fact, he was recognized in Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch. The Miami-based choreographer and artistic director of the Pioneer Winter Collective (PWC) has rooted his dance theater company in social practice and community, focusing on queer visibility and beauty beyond the mainstream, allowing artists of all generations and physicality to express themselves through the art of dance.

A major objective continues to be expanding the definition of all that dance is and can be so that all bodies survive, thrive, and are witnessed in spite of constant erasure based upon race, body type, age, and ability – this goes for both the artists as well as the audience.

Pioneer Winter Collective

PWC performs for its first time at the Sandrell Rivers Theater on March 31 and April 1 at 8:00 pm and April 2 at 2:00 pm for the newest chapter in a series about transformation that -itself – continues to transform, Birds of Paradise. In collaboration with local artists, choreographer Pioneer Winter continues their exploration of beauty and virtuosity outside the mainstream.

Barbara Meulener

The idea of the bird of paradise emerged as a choreographic inspiration, a queer response to the mythical phoenix – the bird reborn from its own ashes. This new and evolving work confronts our notions of dance by exploring movement with people of varied physical ability, body type, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and experiences.

Barbara Meulener

Featuring live dance performance, film, and sound alchemy, Birds of Paradise has morphed into each space (or spaces) it’s been performed since premiering out of the pandemic at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in 2021.

Frank Campisano

Now, Pioneer Winter Collective welcomes audiences to sit in-the-round and share in a stunning performance experience that is both intimate and larger than life.

“The work honors and celebrates the enduring nature of queer and marginalized people to shape themselves into something that is desirable, vulnerable, fierce and reborn. This will be the third iteration of this series by Miami-based choreographer Pioneer Winter, who continues exploration of beauty and virtuosity outside the mainstream. Birds of Paradise is iridescent and effortful. It is a provocative, immersive piece perched between fight and flight. Featuring film, and live music and dance performance.”


Performed by seven incredible artists Clarence Brooks, Jessica Gilmore, Junior Domingos, Hector Machado, Niurca Marquez, Shamar Watt, and Pioneer Winter. Collaborators include film production by White Elephant Group and McKenzie Mortensen, production design by Hans Lau, music and sound design by Juraj Kojs, poetry and spoken word by PWC’s inaugural Poet-in-Residence Arsimmer McCoy, costume design by Karelle Levy (KRELwear), and lighting design by Apon Nichols.

“This is my first time including myself as a performer in Birds of Paradise,” says Pioneer Winter, who recalls 2019 being the last time he performed. “This chapter of Birds of Paradise is particularly poignant for me since it’s my return to the stage. Also, I feel this cast and team of collaborators demonstrates how much we’ve grown and evolved in spite of challenges. The theme of ‘turning falling into flight’ runs through the veins of our entire process. This premiere also traces a path from previous iterations – conveying a new sense of rigor and wholeness.”

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