Arts News

Dance Presenter White Bird Launches New Speaker Series

The Portland institution invites audiences to join intimate conversations with some of its longtime collaborators. First up: Judith Jamison and Ronald K. Brown.

By Fiona McCann March 23, 2017

Judith jamison. photo by andrew eccles bgb2mk

Judith Jamison kicks off the new White Bird series, 'View from the Perch'

Image: Andrew Eccles

For two decades, White Bird has been bringing some of the world’s best contemporary dance to Portland, showcasing established and emerging companies from the city, the region, and places as far afield as France, Israel, and Brazil. Now, a new series promises a glimpse into the creative processes of some of the artists with whom they’ve worked.           

"View from the Perch" is billed as a series of three educational programs, kicking off on Monday, April 3 with a conversation between Judith Jamison, former artistic director Emirata Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and acclaimed choreographer Ronald K. Brown, whose company Evidence fuses African dance with contemporary movement and storytelling (catch them in action April 6–8 at the Newmark). The conversations, says White Bird’s Linda Twichell, serve as a showcase for the work with which White Bird is regularly engaged, while providing an opportunity for guests to interact with the artists and speakers in an intimate setting of 50 to 75 people. 

“The purpose of this is to understand their thought process, and to gain insights into their creativity,” says Twichell.

The series continues April 20 with puppet-maker and production designer Michael Curry—a long time White Bird collaborator who also has Broadway’s Lion King and American Ballet Theatre’s acclaimed new Whipped Cream on his resume—meets with former Portland Art Museum Chief Curator Bruce Guenther.  June promises a capsule collection by designer Michelle Lesniak at White Bird's White Party, accompanied by music as well as an address by Lesniak on designing for dance.

Twichell says the chosen speakers boast strong local connections as well as reflecting an important artistic moment. “We wanted to be very current,” she says. Individual tickets run $95–$125 or $250 for the series of three, with cocktails, wine, and appetizers included. The first two events take place in the Treasury in downtown Portland. So: will "View from the Perch" become an annual event? Says Twichell: “There’s more to come.” 

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