White Bird in the Community


UK’s BalletBoyz teach class at da Vinci Arts Middle School, 2017.

White Bird has partnered with community members to offer several programs that bring dance into Portland area schools and dance studios, with a focus on education and broadening the audience of contemporary dance. The programs range from master classes and interactive workshops with major dance companies, to an annual month long curriculum taught in the Portland Public Schools, grades 6-12.

“The project has blossomed, incorporating the talents of 67 teachers in an interdisciplinary juggernaut that includes courses outside the proscribed ‘cultural’ scope of social studies and history” -Willamette Week

“White Bird is tireless in its efforts to continue its partnership with Portland Public Schools to create an exemplary curriculum for grades 5-12, stressing the integration of the arts with other disciplines” -Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator


Le Grand Continental

Community engagement is essential to White Bird. In September 2012 we presented our largest community event ever, Le Grand Continental, performed by 160 nonprofessional dancers of all ages, ethnicities and body types, in Pioneer Courthouse Square before an audience of over 5,000. A smaller version followed in May 2013 at Portland’s Union Station to celebrate National Train Day. White Bird’s Annual Outreach Project with Portland Public Schools, reaching over 3,000 students and teachers, will celebrate 18 years in 2017/18. Virtually every dance company we bring offers a dance workshop to Portland area students and the professional dance community.


School-Bus-danceCurriculum & Performances with Portland Public Schools

Since 2001, White Bird and Portland Public Schools have successfully partnered in developing a month-long multi-disciplinary curriculum on an artist or theme inspired by a dance company that White Bird is presenting. Taught through the lenses of history, anthropology, literature, art, music and dance, the curriculum sparks a passion in students who otherwise might not be exposed to contemporary culture. Each project culminates in a free student performance for 2,700 students and teachers by the dance company at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. We want to thank our Portland Public Schools Curriculum Team led by Kristen Brayson, Arts TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment).

Curriculum & Performance History

  • 2018- “Alvin Ailey’s Legacy: African American Culture and History,” with a free student performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on April 25, 2018 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
  • 2017 – “The Arts and Culture of Argentina,” with a free student performance by Che Malambo on April 26, 2017 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
  • 2016 – “The Arts and Culture of Cuba,” with a free student performance by Malpaso Dance Company of Cuba on May 4, 2016  at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
  • 2015 – “The Blues In Tap and Music,” with a free student performance by New York City’s Dorrance Dance in a new work called “The Blues Project,” with a live blues band.
  • 2014 – “Hispanic Arts & Culture,” with a free student performance by New York City’s Ballet Hispanico.
  • 2013 – “Indigenous Cultures in New Zealand and Australia,” with a free student performance by New Zealand’s Black Grace.
  • 2012 – “Hip Hop in Different Cultures,” with a free student performance byCompagnie Käfig, based in France, involving 11 young men from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 2011 – Exploration of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, focused on the history of the African American fight for freedom with a free student performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
  • 2010 – Ethnic diversity with a free student performance by Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
  • 2009 – The Celebrations and Cultural Diversity of Brazil with a free student performance by Dance Brazil.
  • 2008 – Theme of Cultural Exchange with a free student performance by Urban Bush Women (Brooklyn, NY) and Compagnie Jant-Bi (Senegal, West Africa).
  • 2007 – The great African-American artist Jacob Lawrence, culminating in a student performance by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company of dance works inspired by Lawrence’s artwork.
  • 2006 – Alvin Ailey with a performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
  • 2005 – Chinese Arts and Culture with a performance by Beijing Modern Dance.
  • 2004 – Children of Uganda—AIDS in Africa and the healing and nurturing power of the arts.
  • 2003 – Hispanic arts and culture, with a student performance by Ballet Hispanico, America’s leading Hispanic dance company.
  • 2002 – “Cultural Collaboration,” with a performance of The People of the Forest by Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and the BaAka Musicians of the Central African Rain Forest.
  • 2001 – Inaugurated first outreach project with Portland Public Schools in February 2001, Black History Month, on Alvin Ailey and African American culture– introduced to 4000 elementary, middle and high school students, culminating in a free student performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

White Bird’s Community Partners
Jefferson Dancers
Jefferson High School (PPS)
da Vinci Arts Middle School (PPS)
Buckman Arts Focus Elementary School (PPS)
NW Pilot Project
Our House of Portland
Portland Public Schools
Outside In
St. Mary’s Home for Boys
Beaverton  Arts & Communication Magnet Academy
Vancouver School of Arts & Academics
Reed College
Portland State University College of the Arts