Teachers and Staff

Pioneer Winter, Director – Ballet | Tap | Jazz | Modern | Contemporary | Professional Development | Project LEAP

Pioneer Winter is a Miami-native choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker of Pioneer Winter / Collective. He is co-director of RIFT Blackbox and the curator of transmedia performances for FilmGate Interactive Media Conference. Winter also directs Project LEAP (Living Equality through Arts and Performance), a free dance and creative communication program for LGBTQ teens that focuses on teaching how to use the arts for activism and social change. As a young artist, he uses social and cultural narratives to anchor his work. A Horatio Alger Scholar, he is an alumnus of the Florida International University Honors College, and holds a Masters in Public Health. Pioneer Winter is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University/White Oak. He was recently awarded the 2014-2015 Miami Choreographer’s Fellowship, and is on faculty of the FIU Honors College. His project Grass Stains was also recently awarded a Knight Arts Challenge Grant.

Pioneer is accredited to teach by Florida Dance Masters and Certified in Autism Movement Therapy. Pioneer has been an instructor for Edwin Holland School of Dance (2005‐2008), Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High (2007‐2009), Performing Arts Network (2009‐2010), Jubilee Dance Theatre (2009‐2010), Next Generation Dance Academy (2008‐2014), Peaches School of Dance and Music (2010‐2012), Arts for Learning (2012-Present), Miami-Dade College – Kendall Campus (2012), and Alvin Ailey / Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts | AileyCamp Miami (2012, 2013), Nova Southeastern University (2013), American College Dance Festival (2014), and Broward College (2015).

Pioneer Winter has presented work for the Int’l Fringe Arts Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, as a speaker/choreographer for TEDxMIA at New World Symphony, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Art Museum (now Perez Art Museum of Miami), San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, the Knight Foundation, Bass Museum of Art, Deering Estate at Cutler, American College Dance Festival, Frost Museum of Art/FIU, O Cinema, the Florida Dance Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival/Thalian Hall, FilmGate Interactive Media Conference, and Triskelion Arts, NYC, among others. Winter began studying with Edwin and Gaile Holland, followed by Miami City Ballet with further training by Michael Langlois, and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA). Pioneer Winter has performed throughout the United States and danced in Spain, Mexico, and Scotland. He has danced for Dance Now! Miami, Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Brazz Dance Theater, Aire Dance Company, and Next Step Dance, among others.

Continued professional development has included intensive choreographic and transmedia labs with The FIELD, MDC Live Arts, Creative Capital, and the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier program. He has been in residency at Cannonball Miami/LegalArt, Miami Dade College, Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, Nova Southeastern University, and Broward College. Winter is on the vision committee for the building of the Pembroke Pines Performing Arts and Civic Center, as well as serving as a grants panelist for Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Community Grants.

Janay_Thurston_HeadshotJa’Naye Thurston – Hip-hop

Miami native, started dance at a local church as a young child, preforming lyrical pieces during service each Sunday, soon advancing to the summer program “Move Miami All-Stars”. There she was introduced to modern and jazz style of dance, while being apart of the Miami Jackson General Band Danceline as their dance mascot. She continued band life in high school as a North Miami S. high “Jade Dancer”, a Booker T Washington S. high “Lady twister”, and last a Miami Northwestern S. high “Golden Girl”. At Miami Northwestern she was apart of the PAVAC Magnet program, and the YCDT dance company all under the direction of Traci Young-Byron. Ms.Young’s energy, love, and work ethic motivated her to push even harder. Once graduated, she attended New World School of the Arts–auditioning and gaining a spot for the Miami Heat Dance team during her second term.

BBrigette_Cormier_Headshotrigette Cormier – Ballet | Tap | Creative Movement

Dancer and choreographer, and dance educator in Miami, FL. She received her BFA in Dance from the New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL) on scholarship in 2011 and has been choreographing and performing her new danceworks since then. In 2012 Brigette founded Love Steady Arts at 276 Art Studio in Wynwood, a multi and interdisciplinary art studio and  theater, where she directed, choreographed, and curated shows and performances throughout 2012 and 2013. Brigette has danced with Miami based dance companies Whole Project and The Peter London Global Dance Company, and freelances with choreographers Pioneer Winter, Ivonne Batanero, and Lara Tinari.

Her most recent commissions include original danceworks for MMT by Heroes Unite and by Pioneer Winter Collective for MiamiArtZine.  Brigette’s personal dance history includes extensive training in classical ballet, tap, and modern dance. She is inspired by modern dance legends – the voice of empowerment and change of Martha Graham and the freedom of expressivity of Doris Humphrey.

Tiffany_Jackson_HeadshotTiffany Jackson – Hip-hop | Bootywork

Born in High Point, NC in which she began dancing at age 2 specializing in jazz, tap, modern, and ballet. At the early age of 10 was she recognized not only at a regional level but also at national competitions and received a lifetime scholarship to “The Broadway Dance Center” in New York. As a teenager Tiffany received the All-American and All-Star awards for cheerleading every year she cheered. After graduating Tiffany became an All-Star cheerleading coach for Champion All-Stars. In the summer of 2009 Tiffany flew to Miami,FL to audition for the NBA’s best dance team -Miami Heat Dancers and was selected! Appearing on Multiple France television shows, as well as shows like Basketball Wives and BET 106th and Park and also creating a dance program named “Bootywork” and CO-Creating “Bounce” Fitness, Tiffany continues to share her talents not only in the entertainment industry, but also in the community. Tiffany continues to also work on her ultimate goal which is to open Sports and Performing Arts Enrichment Centers for under-privileged children across America along with Food For School.

Belaxis_Buil_HeadshotBelaxis Buil – Modern | Barre







Marissa Nick – Contemporary

Marissa Alma Nick is a Miami-based dancer and choreographer. She is the founder of Alma Dance Theatre,  and the Artistic Director of ScreenDance Miami through Tigertail Productions. By sculpting the physical form, Nick’s work is an expression of love, experienced through the cycle of life; through this work, she explores the loss of the mind that often comes with our finality. She began dancing at the age of three and found a profound connection to movement. Nick went on to becoming a high school graduate from the New World School of the Arts and received her BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida. Recently, she has received professional development training from Creative Capital. Her work in site-specific performance and screendances has gained Nick a unique reputation as a conceptual choreographer. She has danced for choreographers Mia Michaels, Michael Foley, Ronald K. Brown, Rosie Herrera, and Pioneer Winter. Her work in choreography has received grants from the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs, Tigertail Productions, DACRA, Primary Projects, Miami Independent Thinkers, Miami Light Project, Nova Southeastern University, FilmGate Interactive Media Conference, and Inkub8.

Jared Sharon, Owner – Director | Performance | Visual Art

Jared Sharon, Miami-based interdisciplinary and visual artist, studied at the University of Miami. Sharon focused on sculpture and installation, and earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. He has since expanded his practice to include performance and movement-based art, leading to the establishment of RIFT Blackbox Theater/Miami Dance Studio in Wynwood. Recent collaborations have led to exhibitions at the Ancient Spanish Monastery, Bass Museum of Art, Art Wynwood, and Miami-Dade County Auditorium, as well as film screenings at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival and Inkub8.