Pioneer Winter dances to the beat of his own drum. The local performer and activist is a third-generation South Floridian, with roots in New York, who became a choreographer after earning a master's in public health from Florida International University. As a kid, he took dance classes at Miami City Ballet, and throughout graduate school, he danced professionally for several companies and developed his choreographic style — one that's focused as much on social activism as movement itself. His work as the director of Miami's only LGBTQ dance troupe is on display in their new show, Reprise.
Winter was inspired to create the show while researching the Stonewall Riots for the upcoming 49th anniversary of the milestone in the fight for gay rights. His research uncovered the vast amounts of historical whitewashing of the riots, whose leaders are typically portrayed as good-looking, white, cisgender gay men, including in the 2015 film Stonewall, which was derided by critics and activists alike. Those portrayals smudge the contributions of African-American, Latino, and trans women who were key players in the events.
"The body is the most political thing on the planet," Winter explains. "And I'm interested in creating a way for opportunities of challenging discourse through dance."
Working from an intersectional perspective, one that examines the complex implications of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other factors, Winter has assembled an inclusive troupe of local dancers of all ages, shapes, nationalities, and backgrounds.
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"I don't do auditions," Winter says. "I develop movements that are always filtered through the individual performer's body, so the cookie-cutter dancer mold is something I've never been interested in."
Reprise was developed as a dialogue between choreographer and performers, working collaboratively. The series of vignettes that resulted tackle difficult issues head-on.
In a piece performed by one of the troupe's male African-American dancers, the performer guides the audience through surviving a run-in with a police officer: how to act, stand, move, position one's body, etc. In another piece, an intense interaction plays out between a traditional flamenco dancer and a recent amputee. As the dancer taps out footwork and claps her hands, the wheelchair-bound performer smacks his hands on the floor and slaps his long braids against the wheelchair. It's an interplay that leads to much more than just cacophony, but rather a brilliant interplay of sights and sounds.
Reprise. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23, with an open bar from 7:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m., at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-547-5414; reprise.eventbrite.com. Tickets cost $30 including open bar.