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).
“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
Curriculum & Performance History
2020 - "The Cultural History of Harlem," with a free student performance planned by Dance Theatre of Harlem on May 13, 2020 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (cancelled due to COVID-19).
2019 - "The Arts, Culture and History of the Great City of Philadelphia," with a free student performance by PHILADANCO on April 24, 2019 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
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, 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.