FIU’s Pioneer Winter Talks Identity, Resilience and Place Through Dance

Choreographer and FIU Honors College faculty member Pioneer Winter (right) discussed identity, resilience and place at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum with the museum's art curator Amy Galpin (left). Valenti Govantes/PantherNOW

Valenti Govantes/Contributing Writer 

Choreographer and FIU Honors College faculty member Pioneer Winter has democratized performance.

He and art curator Amy Galpin discussed his projects on creative inclusivity with those who have disabilities, are people of color or are part of the LGBTQ+ community, at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Winter’s passion for dance began when he first observed a tap dance class with his mother as a child. 

Later in his career, he participated in a dance project, “Raising the Surface,” which featured dancers who were HIV-positive and HIV-negative to break the stigma associated with the virus. 

“Art is a sneak attack disguised as entertainment,” Galpin said, calling out a quote Winter said in the Miami Herald. 

Part of the Pioneer Winter Collective, a dance company created by Winter, was a previous project called “Gimp Gait.”

Winter shows pictures of his “Gimp Gait” performance with Marjorie Burnett. Valenti Govantes/PantherNOW

The project featured a dance duo between Marjorie Burnett, a woman with cerebral palsy, and how through Winter’s help she was able to do something that was often challenging for her: dance. 

The audience was also shown clips of Winter’s other dance projects, “Reprise” and “Dov.” 

“Reprise” gathered people with diverse backgrounds, including different ethnicities and disabilities to show the renewal of their self-efficacy.  

This was made clear through the participation of a transgender woman and paraplegic man in the video. 

“Dov,” named after the lead 13-year old subject of the project, focused on the son of a friend of Winter’s and tells a coming of age story. 

Winter incorporated various references of bears into the project, as “Dov” translated to “bear” in Hebrew.

The conversation ended as Winter discussed details of his newest dance project, “Birds of Paradise”. 

This project will use avian imagery to examine themes, such as the nature of a paradise and if paradise could be considered more like a prison.

Photos of the project featured individuals dressed in black clothing with multi-colored feathers.

The plan is to officially have a showcase by the end of the year and expand upon it on a national scale in the future, said Winter.

Winter stressed that funding is a factor when determining his next projects and that he has more projects he would like to create or expand upon.

He was asked by the audience what he thought it was about the human body that lent itself to being a great form of artistic expression. 

“They are the one thing that is inseparable from ourselves. They are the most praised and most contentious parts of ourselves,” said Winter. 

Winter’s push for diversity in the field of dance was profoundly clear in how he discussed the incorporation of people of color and people with disabilities into his projects.

The main idea to take away from this conversation is how one’s ethnicity or disability should indeed not limit them from pursuing their creative interests.

Be the first to comment on "FIU’s Pioneer Winter Talks Identity, Resilience and Place Through Dance"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.