Dianne McIntyre, Choreographer


Dianne McIntyreDancer, choreographer, theater artist and cultural pioneer Dianne McIntyre has performed virtually around the world, from Hollywood to Broadway to Europe and back, on big stages, dance floors, film sets, and concert halls. Name it, and she has been there: Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Walker Arts Center, the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow and many more.

She has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and many college dance troupes. Her list of musical collaborators is a study in vanguard jazz innovators, including Olu Dara, Butch Morris, Lester Bowie, Max Roach, Hannibal, Don Pullen, Cecil Taylor, Hamiet Bluiett, Ahmed Abdullah and countless others. And both McIntyre and her choreography can be seen in the film Beloved.

Born in 1946 in Cleveland, to which she has returned to make her home after spending 30 years in New York, McIntyre graduated from John Adams High School in 1964, and attended Ohio State University. After receiving her B.F.A. in dance, she taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before moving to New York City in 1970. Infusing jazz and poetry into her work, in 1972 she founded the dance/music ensemble Sounds in Motion.

In a 1983 review by the New York Times, McIntyre is described as having a “long tensile body with long, strong back and limbs.” As she is avidly interested in history and culture, much of her work has riffed on, referred to, or honored the black experience in America. One signature concert work, Take Off from a Forced Landing, is based on the life and work of her mother, Dorothy Layne, a pioneering African-American aviator. Other important dance works include Lost Son (1973), Deep South Suite (1976) and Journey to Forever (1977). McIntyre dissolved her company in 1988 to pursue other creative outlets and since then has been busy choreographing, teaching and directing.

In 2005 she directed the world premiere at Cleveland’s Karamu House of Daughter of a Buffalo Soldier, a dance-theater piece honoring 96-year-old Cleveland choreographer Marjorie Witt Johnson, founder of the Karamu Dancers. McIntyre has also reached into her own history, creating I Could Stop on a Dime/And Get Ten Cents Change, featuring dances and narratives from her father’s life in Cleveland.

Her versatility is seen in her work for the stage, her three New York Dance and Performance Awards, her Emmy nomination and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trust.

—Amy Sparks

Cleveland Arts Prize
P.O. Box 21126 • Cleveland, OH 44121 • 440-523-9889 • info@clevelandartsprize.org