by: PHOTO COURTESY OF BLAINE COVERT - The Jefferson Dancers are preparing for a tour of China later this month.The Jefferson Dancers this month will be the first Portland dance company to perform and tour in China.

The elite dance company at the North Portland high school will perform at the invitation of Portland's Chinus Cultural Productions and its partners in China.

The dance company will perform at four venues in Tianjin, Xuzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai during spring break, between March 21 and April 1.

The China tour will not just showcase the dancers, but it will also raise Portland's profile in China.

"The Jefferson Dancers' performances will no doubt create awareness and generate curiosity for people in those cities to learn more about the creativity Portland is known for," says Jack Coleman, who's working to promote the tour. "As China is striving to transform itself from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China,' Portland can strategically position itself to identify opportunities that will benefit the city."

The public is invited to a free performance by the Jefferson Dancers at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 12, in the Wieden+Kennedy atrium, 224 N.W. 13th Ave.

Artistic director Steve Gonzales and the dancers will be on hand for a meet and greet, as well as Hong Mautz of Chinus Cultural Productions.

Following their China tour, the Jefferson Dancers will return to the Newmark Theatre for their annual spring performance series.

Ticket proceeds from the event this event and additional donations will support the program and make it possible to bring in guest choreographers to set new works for the company.

“Support of the Jefferson Dance program enriches the community, the city of Portland and the world of dance at large,” says Steve Gonzales. “After nearly losing the program in 2005 we’ve relied on the generous support and donations from private and public organizations and the community at large to continue to engage students in the world of

dance. This event is yet another opportunity to support this important program.”

The Jefferson Dancers are also available for performance bookings at cultural arts assembly, dance class workshop or other local events.

The spring performance series is set for May 1 to 3 at 7:30 p.m. each day, and May 4 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $11, $16 and $20 plus service charge, available at and

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