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Gabriela Cruz in Birds of Paradise - Photo by

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County Presents The World Premiere of Birds of Paradise

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 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 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.

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit for up-to-date information.


The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Adrienne Arsht Center also receives generous support from individuals, corporations and local, state and national foundations.


About Us

Set in the heart of downtown Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is committed to welcoming and connecting ALL people to the arts, to the Arsht Center and to each other. Our stages are alive year-round with artists from around the world, innovative programming from our resident companies and local arts partners, free community events that reflect Miami’s unique identity and arts education experiences for thousands of Miami children each year.

Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has been recognized as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area, a leader in programming that mirrors South Florida’s diversity, a host venue for historic events and Miami’s hub for arts education.

Each year, we serve more than 60,000 young learners and offer more than 100 culturally diverse and inclusive education programs — many enhanced by the Arsht Center’s relationship with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local teaching artists and Miami-based arts organizations.

The Arsht Center is also a home stage for three resident companies — Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony — and a launch pad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage. Our 300+ events each year include the Center’s Signature Series of classical, jazz, Broadway, local theater and much more. We present a robust series of touring Broadway musicals direct from New York, the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival and an award-winning Miami-based theater program. In addition, our Family Fest, Free Gospel Sundays, CommuniTEA LGBTQ+ celebration and Heritage Fest are among dozens of free events that bring together people from all corners of our community. For more information, visit


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation 

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit