Sunday night, a pioneer of modern dance will be in Portland to be recognized with an award for his artistic contributions - and the role he played building modern dance in Portland.
Before Paul King and Walter Jaffe were running White Bird Dance, bringing top-flight modern companies to Oregon and supporting local choreographers, they were in New York, King says, in choreographer Paul Taylor’s circle.
“Wally was on the board of Paul Taylor Dance Company for ten years,” King says.
Then the couple moved to Portland. In 1996 they were asked to help bring Taylor’s dance company to Portland for a performance, and so entered the world of arts entrepreneurship. Fifteen years later, White Bird has raised the curtain for 160 different companies. It has commissioned 29 original works, and a 30th going to a Bay-Area choreographer, in an award to be made this weekend. King says it’s appropriate to have Taylor in town for the occasion.
“Paul Taylor Dance company is why White Bird is alive. To have the company back to mark our anniversary is so significant.”
Taylor, who’s 83, rarely travels, but said via email he’s choosing music for a new work, and will begin choreographing it in June.