Dianne McIntyre is regarded as an artistic pioneer, with an impressive career spanning four decades with choreography for dance, theatre, television and film. A 2019 Dance/USA Honor Awardee and 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, her individualistic movement style reflects her affinity for cultural histories, personal narratives and the boldness, nuances, discipline and freedom in music and poetic text. Since 1972, she has choreographed scores of concert dances, four Broadway shows, 30 regional theatre productions, a London West End musical, two feature films, three television productions, stage movement for recording artists and created five original full-length dance dramas. World renowned dance companies, such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, GroundWorks Dance Theater, Dancing Wheels, as well as forty plus university ensembles and major dance festivals have commissioned her choreography and teaching residencies.
McIntyre has received numerous honors for her work. Fellowships include the John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the National Dance Residency Award, National Endowment for the Arts Three-Year Choreography Fellowship, Creative Workforce Fellowship, National Dance Project Fellowship, and many other grants, commissions and fellowships from NEA and New York State Council for the Arts. Her awards and nominations include three Bessie Awards (1989, 1997, 2006), two AUDELCO's, one Helen Hayes award, four Helen Hayes nominations, one Emmy nomination, Master of African American Choreography Medal from The Kennedy Center, American Dance Festival Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beineke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, Distinguished Alumni Award from The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio Dance Pioneer Award, Cleveland Arts Prize, and Thelma Hill and Woodie Lifetime Achievement Awards. She has also received Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees from SUNY Purchase and Cleveland State University.
Born in Cleveland, McIntyre studied dance with Elaine Gibbs and Virginia Dryansky and received her BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, under the tutelage of Helen Alkire, Vera Blaine, James Payton, and Lucy Venable. Upon moving to New York City in 1970, McIntyre performed with Gus Solomon's Dance Company for two years. She also became a mentee of Louise Roberts, who was the Director of The Clark Center for the Performing Arts, where young McIntyre was given free space to rehearse her early dances. Roberts produced McIntyre's first dance performance in New York and helped McIntyre launch her vision to establish her own dance company. In 1972 Dianne McIntyre founded Sounds in Motion, in Harlem and soon after the Sounds in Motion School. McIntyre's ensemble of dancers and musicians performed extensively in New York and throughout the country for over twenty years in major venues such as The Joyce Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Kennedy Center. Internationally, Sounds in Motion toured abroad in Europe as well. Highlighted performances: Life's Force (1979), Take-Off From a Forced Landing (1984), based on her mother's stories as an aviator; and Their Eyes Were Watching God (1986), based on the Zora Neale Hurston novel. Sounds in Motion in Harlem in the 70's and 80's was a space not just for dancers and musicians, but became a center for what McIntyre calls, “the culture crowd,” where many artists, scholars, activists would gather to forward the movement of Black consciousness. Here, McIntyre became a mentor to many promising artists, some of whom are now prominent dancers, choreographers, educators and founders of their own companies.
After sixteen years, McIntyre closed her company to embark on an independent choreography career and has since conceived, choreographed and directed countless projects. In 1991 after extensive research she recreated dance pioneer Helen Tamiris’ epic 1937 work How Long, Brethren? Among numerous theatre productions, in 2009, she choreographed Lincoln Center Theater/Broadway's “Joe Turner's Come and Gone” by August Wilson-to critical acclaim. Inspired to create work derived from real life narratives and accompanied with in-depth research, McIntyre has conceptualized and directed her own “dance-driven dramas” that have appeared in both dance and theatre venues. Notable works are Just Yesterday (2010), Open the Door, Virginia! (2005), Front Porch Lies and Other Conversations (2007), Daughter of a Buffalo Soldier (2005), and I Could Stop On a Dime and Get Ten Cents Change-A Ballroom Drama based on her father's life stories (1996).
McIntyre's work has also been featured on the large and small screens. Her work appeared in feature films, Beloved (Harpo/Disney) and Fun Size (Paramount). She choreographed HBO's award-winning film, Miss Evers Boys', for which she received an Emmy nomination. In addition, she was the choreographer for PBS television features Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper and for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf.
Throughout her career, McIntyre has collaborated with numerous celebrated musicians for including Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, Max Roach, Butch Morris, Amina Claudine Myers, Cecil Taylor, Don Pullen, Kysia Bostic, Hannibal, Ahmed Abdullah. Along with her mentors, her fellow dancers and collaborative composers, McIntyre acknowledges the influence of directors and playwrights with whom she has worked: Bartlett Sher, Marion McClinton, Regina Taylor, Des McAnuff, Jonathan Demme, Douglas Turner Ward, August Wilson, OyamO, Ntozake Shange, Avery Brooks, Rita Dove, Joe Sargent, Rick Davis, Woodie King, Jr., Irene Lewis, Oz Scott and Rick Khan.
Dianne McIntyre is a member of Stage Director and Choreographers Society, ASCAP, Dramatist Guild, and serves on the Board of Cleveland Dance Movement.
Dances That Describe Themselves by Susan Leigh Foster – University Press of New England.
I Want to be Ready: Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom by Danielle Goldman – University of Michigan Press
Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance by Thomas F. DeFrantz – University of Wisconsin Press