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Mr. Jones, who co-founded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company as part of an openly gay, interracial couple, says the award and White House reception will shape his worldview.

“I’ve always had this kind of position of feeling just outside, maybe the other, I don’t know why but maybe a stepchild,” Mr. Jones said. “As one gets older and you realize that your brand of art-making with its implied protest is actually something that people in positions of power respect, it’s a very important change, very important change, it makes you feel more of a sense of responsibility but it’s a responsibility you can accept joyfully.”

The gala will be recorded for broadcast as a two-hour prime-time special on CBS. This year’s will air Dec. 28.