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World Premiere of “Birds of Paradise” at Adrienne Arsht Center



 The World Premiere of


Birds of Paradise


Arsht Center Artist-in-Residence Pioneer Winter explores beauty and brilliance outside the mainstream


September 16-19, 2021

Tickets: $15, $40*

Carnival Studio Theater


       Gabriela Cruz in Birds of Paradise. Photo By WorldRedEye.com


Miami, FL – The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) is pleased to announce the world premiere of BIRDS OF PARADISE, a series of dance-based queer solo portraits and an ensemble piece which explore the themes of agency, survival and transformation. Created by the Arsht Center’s Artist-in-Residence Pioneer Winter (@pioneerwinter) and commissioned by the Arsht Center, BIRDS OF PARADISE confronts our notions of dance by exploring movement with people of varied physical ability, body type, gender identity, race, ethnicity and experiences. The new work features interwoven filmed and live dance performance and will be experienced in the round beginning in the Center’s intimate Carnival Studio Theater and ending in the Peacock Foundation Studio.

Tickets for BIRDS OF PARADISE are $40* and will be available beginning August 4 at noon. Tickets may be purchased at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org. In honor of the Arsht Center’s 15th birthday this season, $15 tickets will also be available as part of the Center’s “Sweet $15” program to make the arts accessible to all. Visit arshtcenter.org to learn more.

“I’m grateful to have developed Birds of Paradise in partnership with the Adrienne Arsht Center, and with such a powerful team of collaborators and performers,” said Pioneer Winter. “We honor and celebrate the enduring nature of queer and marginalized people to shape themselves into something that is desirable, vulnerable, fierce, and reborn at the same time. The pandemic made closeness, intimacy, and touch taboo. Isolation – an experience very familiar to the queer community – was pervasive. In this new context, we began to focus on the individual experiences that lead up to the moment you think you’ve fallen, is actually flight. The project itself was reborn, as a series of filmed solos honoring the voice of the individual.”



This world premiere performance marks the culmination of a two-year artist-in-residency program with Miami-based choreographer Pioneer Winter and Pioneer Winter Collective which began in December 2019. The partnership is the evolution of an ongoing collaboration between the Arsht Center and Winter that dates back nearly a decade. Winter was first invited in 2011 to choreograph for the Arsht Center’s Miami Made Festival. Since then, Winter has become one of the leading artistic voices to emerge from and extend beyond South Florida. He and his dance collective have performed in the Arsht Center’s annual CommuniTea Dance and Winter has served as an instructor for the Center’s AileyCamp Miami, Accessing the Arts and other arts education programs.



Established in 2016, Pioneer Winter Collective is a Miami-based, intergenerational and physically integrated dance-theater company, rooted in social practice and community, queer visibility and beauty beyond the mainstream. Described as avant-garde, experimental, fearless, and as diverse as Miami itself, the Collective democratizes performance through unexpected bodies in unexpected places, producing unexpected social change – powerful stories and voices that transform the cultural landscape.



“The Arsht Center is proud to commission an immersive, imaginative work like Birds of Paradise, and we are proud to support local artists like Pioneer Winter, who reflect the diversity and beauty of our community,” said Jairo Ontiveros, vice president of community engagement for the Arsht Center. “Being able to support local artists is incredibly important – particularly during the pandemic, when arts organizations have been severely impacted.”



BIRDS OF PARADISE was developed in collaboration with the performers: Frank Campisano, Gabriela Cruz, Josue Garcia, Niurca Márquez, Barbara Meulener, Katrina Petrarca, Lize-Lotte Pitlo, and Shamar Watt; the White Elephant Group media company; sound artist Juraj Kojš; and costume design by Chaplin Tyler.

BIRDS OF PARADISE was commissioned by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MAP fund, also supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support is provided by Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its 2019 Knight Arts Challenge open call and Our Fund Foundation, an LGBTQ community foundation.

Arsht Center Commitment to Health and Safety

The Arsht Center remains deeply committed to the health and peace of mind of our guests, artists and staff. Based on guidance from national and local health officials, these performances are seated at full capacity. Face coverings are required. We are also maintaining enhanced cleaning, sanitation and air filtration procedures. Please visit here for more details and future updates.



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