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Dancer and choreographer Pioneer Winter’s first one-man show, “Pie Solo,” opens this Friday, March 15 and runs through March 30 at The Sandbox at the Miami Theater Center. In “Pie Solo,” Winter will explore faith and religion, father-son relationships, sexual identity and the hyper-sexual side of queer culture. He will also attempt to address the nebulous relationship between the past and the present — and how these two periods of time skew and shape who we are.

Pioneer Winter | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Pioneer Winter. Photo by Neil de la Flor

At an early age, Winter was a dutiful son and Jehovah’s witness. He attended Bible study classes, volunteered with his family, went door-to-door preaching and even memorized the titles of the books in the bible. He rattled them off to me when we spoke at The Sandbox.

“If my mom hadn’t died,” Winter told me, “and my father hadn’t left the church, I may not be a dancer today, or a homosexual. I’d most likely be married and a Jehovah’s Witness.” Winter’s father, who had a slight falling out with the denomination, severed Winter from the life he had known for something new and uncharted.

The perfect family exists on television. In 3D, life is a whole other reality where the passage of time is marked, and sometimes marred, by the catastrophic and, most importantly, the small events that refine the course of our lives. Sometimes we can’t see the changes taking place until we’re able (and willing) to recognize them. Sometimes the changes are so personal and taboo that we often fail to see who we are beyond the mirror. Winter is not afraid to look.

Winter also is not afraid to examine gay-culture with a sharp eye. In “Pie Solo,” he takes on the hyper-narcissistic and sex-driven side of gay culture. The same culture Winter is a part of is also a the same culture that often splits him up into parts, leaving him (and us) grasping for bits of his identity to hold.

From these pieces, Winter creates. He told me this performance is about the exploration of a quarter life of a young artist whose life radically changed course upon the death of his mother. I almost laughed at the quarter-life comment because Winter is so young, but there was something authentic about Winter’s statement that made me remember my past and the deaths that have marked and altered the course of my life. My decisions, conscious or otherwise, were not always my own, because when someone we love dies, or disappears or abandons us for the first time, we feel alone.

“Pie Solo” contains nudity and adult language.

“Pie Solo,” $20, will be performed March 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30. At Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores; 305-751-9550; www.mtcmiami.org.

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