A World Premiere by Dance Icon DIANNE McINTYRE Group

September 28, 2023
A group of 5 dancers wearing black clothing appear onstage with cobalt blue lighting. 3 dancers stand facing the camera with their arms extended upward and parallel to the floor while 1 dancer kneels, facing the curtain.

Check out these featured facts about the DIANNE McINTYRE Group: In the Same Tongue performances Oct 5-7 at the Walker Art Center.

A World Premiere Experience

The Oct 5-7 performances of DIANNE McINTYRE Group: In the Same Tongue, co-commissioned and copresented by Northrop and Walker Art Center, will be audiences’ first opportunity to experience the work. The vibrant movement, sound, and language-based project will unite a vigorous company of dancers and musicians to explore how dance and music “speak” to each other—navigating worlds of beauty, alienation, harmony, tension, and peace.

Dancers on stage

Canaan Mattson, 23-24 CULTIVATE Brochure

Nurturing Artistic Excellence

McIntyre is pleased to be collaborating with local dancers from the CUL·TI·VATE program of TU Dance (under the direction of Toni Pierce-Sands) for the world premiere of In the Same Tongue in Minneapolis. A trainee program for the next generation of dance artists, CUL·TI·VATE provides classes, training, mentoring, career coaching, engagement with current artists in the dance field, and so much more over the course of a year-long program.

A gray-haired dancer wearing a loose-fitted white tank top and pants stands onstage towards the camera, looking down with one arm raised parallel to the floor and the other slightly lower, their hands clenched.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Dianne McIntyre – A Dance Icon

Dianne McIntyre is considered an artistic pioneer with an impressive career spanning four decades with choreography for dance, theater, television, and film. Born in Cleveland, she began studying at the age of four with teacher Elaine Gibbs—and soon after, at age seven, she presented her first choreographed production at a local library featuring neighborhood kids.

In 1972, with New York City as her new dance home, she founded the Harlem-based studio and company Sounds in Motion, which saw massive success and, according to McIntyre, became a center for "helping to advance the energy, freedom, and creativity of the Black community.” She closed her company after twenty years to embark on an independent career, which led her to conceive, choreograph, and direct projects across various mediums, collaborate with celebrated jazz heroes and playwrights, from Olu Dara and Lester Bowie to August Wilson and Regina Taylor, and gain some of the most prestigious awards and honors, including three Bessie Awards, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a medal from The Kennedy Center. McIntyre has additionally been commissioned by more than 40 university ensembles and major dance festivals for choreography and teaching residencies.

1 dancer dressed in black with red headwear is positioned onstage in front of a bassist, drummer, and saxophonist performing behind them. They face to the left with their arms pointed up, and one leg bent and the other extended outward.

Photo © Paula Lobo.

Sonic Storytelling

Live music will play a significant role in the performance ofIn the Same Tongue, featuring an original score by New York-based composer, cellist, curator, and producer Diedre Murray—exploring the musical influence of the Black Arts Movement through a textural soundscape narrative that develops throughout the piece. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and two-time OBIE Award winner, Diedre specializes in jazz and musical theater and is considered a pioneer of adapting cello to jazz, expanding its use and complements outside of a more associated classical music space. The premiere will also feature a composition by American jazz musician Olu Dara, who has frequently collaborated with Dianne McIntyre since the 1980s.

A black and white photograph of a woman wearing a hat.

Ntozake Shange in 1977 in a production of “Where the Mississippi Meets the Amazon,” a play that she wrote with Jessica Hagedorn and Thulani Nkabinde.Photo by Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times

A Legacy of Collaboration

Playwright and poet Ntozake Shange, whose poetry will be embedded throughout In the Same Tongue, was a previous student and long-time collaborator of McIntyre. McIntyre’s work often influenced Shange—specifically her “choreopoem” celebrating the power of Black womanhood titled For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which premiered in 1976 at the New York’s Booth Theatre. She once wrote of McInytre’s dance, “No matter how the 20th century has denigrated the human body, the black people, the land, McIntyre’s choreography insists that living is arduous and remarkable” (from her essay “movement/ melody/ muscle/ meaning/ mcintyre'' as part of the collectionlost in language & sound). View a 2013 conversation with Ntozake Shange and Dianne McIntyre at Barnard College.

Be among the first audiences to experience DIANNE McINTYRE Group: In the Same Tongue. Tickets to the Oct 5-7 world premiere performances at the Walker Art Center are on sale now.