The Kennedy Center

Dianne McIntyre


One of the most important black woman dance artists to emerge during the 1970s, Dianne McIntyre has developed a distinctive body of work that features an idiosyncratic use of music, a dynamic movement style, and important choreographic explorations of the lives of African Americans.

McIntyre received a B.F.A. in dance from Ohio State University under Helen Alkire and studied there with Vickie Blaine, James Payton, Lucy Venable, and guest artists Anna Sokolow and Viola Farber. After moving to New York City in 1970, she danced with Gus Solomons Company/Dance for two years. McIntyre began her own company of dancers and musicians. From 1972 to 1988, she directed her company and school, Sounds in Motion, in Harlem, New York City.

Collaborating with musicians in the vanguard of their field, McIntyre led the company in performances in the major dance venues of the United States, including the Joyce Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Kennedy Center, as well as in Europe. Signature choreography for the company includes: "Take-Off from a Forced Landing" (1984), based on her mother's stories as an aviator; "Life's Force" (1979), a lively interaction of bold music and moves; "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (1986), based on the Zora Neale Hurston novel; and "Mississippi Talks, Ohio Walks" (1984), nightclub vignettes of dance with Olu Dara's Okra Orchestra. Sounds in Motion studio became a Harlem institution in the 1970s and 1980s, due to the creative excellence of the company and its school, and served as a gathering place for musicians, poets, and visual and theater artists. There, through dance classes and choreographic showcases, McIntyre mentored many who became cutting-edge dance artists.

In 1988 Dianne McIntyre decided to pursue an independent choreographic career which includes memorable dance/music projects with Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, Don Pullen, Hannibal, and others. Her dance works have also been set on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, the Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Philadanco, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and numerous college groups. She has been a guest teacher at countless university programs and for the American Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow, and the Bates Summer Dance Festival. In 1991 McIntyre researched and re-created Helen Tamiris's 1937 masterpiece, "How Long, Brethren?," arousing renewed interest in the choreographer's work.

Since the mid-1970s McIntyre has choreographed extensively for the theater this has led her to create and direct dance-based plays that have appeared in both dance and regional theater venues. McIntyre's choreography has also appeared on the large and small screens.

Dianne McIntyre, a 2007 John S. Guggenheim Fellow, has received many national grants, artistic commissions, and awards for her work.
Dianne McIntyre