It was a sunny, hot, and extremely humid Saturday afternoon, Labor Day weekend, and a crowd had started to gather at the Euclid oval on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. There were a few people who may have been there from previous word-of-mouth knowledge, but the majority of the ever-increasing crowd was just trying to see what the fuss was all about.
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.