Graham Cole (He/Him) hails from Portland, OR, the beautiful, weird city where he was born and spent most of his childhood. He began training in dance at an early age, taking classes in ballet at Oregon Ballet Theatre and Irish step dancing at An Daire Academy. Graham worked extensively as a performer, choreographer, teacher and dance administrator in New York City and across North Carolina before returning to Portland in 2019.
Graham first joined White Bird as Boutique Manager, then became Chief Operating Officer, then, in 2021, was appointed White Bird's first Executive Director. As Executive Director Graham oversees White Bird's fundraising efforts and financial management, and leads programming for White Bird's annual season of dance. He is honored and constantly inspired by the opportunity to continue White Bird's legacy of bringing world-class dance to his hometown.
Graham holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. he also leads Graham Cole/Performance, creating and producing original dance-theatre works in Portland (see grahamcole.com for details). Graham is a lifelong cycling enthusiast - if he's not in the office or the theater, he's probably out on his bike!
Christopher Carvalho (He/Him) has been White Bird’s Director of Patron Services & Communication since 2021 and enjoys helping White Bird’s amazing patrons with their subscriptions, tickets, and questions. Before White Bird, Christopher danced with Diavolo: Architecture in Motion for six years where he was the Video Archivist, Assistant Technical Director, and in his final season, the Rehearsal Director. Christopher’s favorite memories from Diavolo are when he performed in Portland for White Bird in 2017, assisted with the Diavolo Veterans Project, and was a top 10 finalist on America’s Got Talent. When not working with Diavolo, Christopher danced for NO)ONE Art House, Derion Loman, fabe dance, JK-CO, and other freelance dance companies.
Christopher grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where he began dancing at Renee Johnson’s Dance Studio. When not being a competitive dancer, Christopher would play soccer, run short distances for track & field, jam out on the guitar and tenor saxophone, and be a regular at the ER for an assortment of broken bones. In 2014, Christopher graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance, a minor in Economics, and received the Donna Cucunato Award for outstanding contribution and achievement in dance.
Christopher looks forward to helping you with any ticketing questions and seeing you at the shows!
Deanna (She/Her) is originally from the vibrant city of Los Angeles and relocated to Portland with her husband in 2019, seeking greenery, bikeability, and standout food. Raised by two professional opera singers and a full schedule of extracurricular arts activities, she carries her passion for the arts into her work in marketing and art direction.
Prior to joining White Bird as their Communication Manager. Deanna danced her way from NY to LA in a professional dance career both in film and on stage. Notable highlights include performing as a guest artist with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, dancing in Taylor Swift music videos, and working with Smashing Pumpkins. Deanna is also the proud owner of a private Pilates studio located in SE Portland where she focuses on empowering individuals to enhance their physical well-being and embrace a holistic approach to wellness.
When Deanna isn’t working on White Bird marketing or teaching Pilates, you can find her dancing, reading, and enjoying time with her two feline companions, Monty and Bomba.
Gretchen (She/Her) grew up as a modern dancer in Swarthmore and Philadelphia, PA, where she attended the newly opened High School for Creative and Performing Arts. While majoring in Feminist Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, she moved from dance to focus on stage lighting design as her double major. All those production experiences nurtured her organizational skills and project planning, which have been the backbone of her career in nonprofit and cooperative sector office management. She has many interests (including peace, equity, social justice, sustainability, community building, crafts, fermentation), and her proudest accomplishment is having raised a wonderful daughter.
As White Bird’s Operations Manager, Gretchen keeps things flowing smoothly in our lovely and convenient downtown office suite – stop by during open hours to purchase merchandise from our Boutique or tickets from our Box Office! Outside White Bird, Gretchen can be found working happily in her bee-friendly garden, maintaining her 123-year-old home, or creating glass mosaics and dioramas. She is a member of Portland Threshold Singers, sharing “beautiful, meaningful, and soothing songs to provide comfort and peace” for all of life’s big changes.
Noelle Simone (They/Them) Is originally from Chicago, IL, and moved to PDX five years ago to be with their now-life partner. Noelle is White Bird’s IDEA Director and works directly with White Bird’s staff and Executive Director to bring diversity to the White Bird stage and develop lasting relationships with the local dance community. Making dance accessible and diverse is their first goal, and they hope to provide a warm and welcoming environment that all White Bird guests and community partners can feel.
Noelle has been performing for over twenty years and has received all their dance training at the Joel Hall Dancers & Center, Northside Dance Theatre, and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance School. They have worked with multiple dance companies and youth dance companies throughout the Chicago and PDX area and have a lengthy resume, including work with Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul. While performing throughout the world, Noelle obtained a B.F.A in Theatre Arts w/Concentration in Theatre Management and a Minor in Educational Studies at The Theatre School at DePaul University. They also received a PMBOK Project Management and DEI Certification from PSU. Outside of work, they engage in Yoga and Pilates as daily practice, feverishly choreograph new material, and enjoy watching the Golden Girls to relax.
Mia Chavez Lysaght (She/Her) is originally from Ventura, California and embarked on her journey to Portland, Oregon in 2016. Mia is White Bird’s Administrative Assistant who serves as the first point of contact for its dance-loving patrons. She provides vital support to the company, on and off stage, through production, marketing, and office administration. Mia’s connection to dance was born during the depths of the pandemic shutdown, where she transformed her dining room into a dance studio - a place where no skill was required, simply the freedom of expression through music and movement. Since settling in Portland, Mia has performed and toured in several bands as a cellist, bassist, and vocalist, playing such venues as Revolution Hall, Mississippi Studios, and Star Theater.
When not assisting through administrative efforts, Mia can be found making music, painting watercolor, canoeing the Willamette River, rollerblading, or frolicking in the lush, green world of the Pacific Northwest.
Walter Jaffe & Paul King, Co-Presidents
Ken Edwards, Vice-President
Kim Allchurch Flick, Treasurer
Sandra Holmes, Secretary
Leroy E. Bynum, Jr., Graham Cole, Lisa Mangum, Shawn K. Mangum
Nancy & George Thorn, Founding Board Members Emereti
White Bird established our Resource Council in 2023 to recognize those who donate their services in support of our mission. We are deeply grateful for the contributions of these dedicated individuals – their generosity enables us to spend more time and resources bringing the world’s best dance to Portland.
2023-24 Resource Council:
Lauren Bayard - 6 years of service
Connie Guist - 17 years of service
Stephanie Sussman - 16 years of service
James Thompson – 3 years of service
Meredith Thompson – 2 years of service
Jessica Vasi - 2 years of service
If you are interested in donating your skills to support White Bird’s mission, please email Graham Cole, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org