Begin the dance season with a well-deserved honoring of Harlem’s own Dianne McIntrye, who will celebrate 40 years of her renowned dance company, Sounds in Motion. Fittingly, McIntyre and the other honoree, Elaine Sommers, a pioneer in multimedia dance in the 1960s, will be celebrated by the American Dance Guild (ADG) during this year’s Performance Festival, Sept. 5-9 at the Ailey Citicorp Theater.
Aptly called one of the “reigning divas of dance” in many dance circles, McIntyre looks back on the 40 years. “Sounds in Motion has made such an impact on the artistic lives of so many people,” she admits.
For this event, McIntyre will present a re-imagining of her signature work, “Life’s Force” (1979). Originally made for six dancers, for this occasion, McIntyre will reunite 21 dancers from the past, including original company member Dorian Williams Byrd, plus Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Marlies Yearby, Aziza and Malik Lewis, and some from the present, including Yusha-Marie Sorzano. One reason for choosing “Life’s Force” is because there are many “elements where people could have their own expression,” she offers.
There was, however, one rule: Each dancer had to have worked with her and with live music. Accompanying this mega-version will be original music from company member Ahmed Abdullah with his band. “Life’s Force” will be performed on Thursday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 8.
A performer, choreographer and teacher (stage, film and television) known as a champion for her dynamic melding of dance and live jazz for four decades, McIntyre is a recipient of numerous awards. She was awarded the John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, three Bessie Awards, two AUDELCOS (NY Black Theatre), American Dance Festival 2008 Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, 2009 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts/SUNY and many more. McIntyre has created works for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary and, most recently, Ntozake Shange’s “why I had to dance” at Oberlin College. In 2009 and 2010, McIntyre performed her solo show “If You Don’t Know…” for 651 ARTS’ FLY: Five First Ladies of Dance.
In addition to the ADG honor, McIntyre and the Sounds in Motion community promise to make this a weekend to remember. On Friday, Sept. 7 at Harlem’s Dwyer Cultural Center, there will be a reunion and jam session with dancers and musicians from the Sounds in Motion community for all to mingle and share memories, plus a commemorative photo shoot for alumni only. From her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where she now lives, McIntyre fondly remembers her time in Harlem, especially when the community tells her that they “miss seeing them up there in the studio.”
“The essence of Harlem will always be in my work; I am comfortable creating work there,” she says.
For more information, visit www.americandanceguild.org.
ALSO THIS MONTH
Sept. 5-8: DanceNOW Joe’s Pub Festival: Celebrate 10 years with yet another fantastic lineup of artists. This year the program features Christal Brown/INSPIRIT, Marjani Forte, RG Dance Projects–Ruben Graciani, Simone Sobers Dance, Jamal Jackson Dance Company, LOVE/FORTE A Collective and many more. For more information, call 212-967-7555 or visit www.joespub.com.
Sept. 10: Something new for anyone interested in dance! The Collective for Dance Writing and New Media’s Executive Committee and Leadership Circle, in partnership with 651 ARTS, holds their first open house with guests Kyle Abraham and Marjani Forte in conversation with 651 ARTS Executive Director Shay Wafer, hosted by Gibney Dance Center. For more information, visit www.collectivedwnm.com.
Sept. 12-15: Nora Chipaumire’s “Miriam,” “her first character-driven work–a deeply intimate and powerful dance-theater performance … [about] the life of Miriam Makeba,” conceived, written and choreographed by Chipaumire and performed by Chipaumire and Okwui Okpokwasili. For more information, visit www.bam.org.
Sept. 18-19 & 21-22: Two programs of “Voices of Strength: Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women from Africa” at New York Live Arts (curated and produced by MAPP International Productions), created and performed by Nelisiwe Xaba (South Africa), Kettly Noel (Haiti/Mali), Nadia Beugre (Cte d’Ivoire), Bouchra Ouizguen (Morocco) and Maria-Helena Pinto (Mozambique), who, through their culturally specific voices, we see and hear global truths. For more information, visit www.tickets.newyorklivearts.org or call 212-924-0077.
Sept. 21-22: Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions Dance in the evening-length work “Black Buddha,” “the story of a young African-American man’s journey in search of enlightenment,” which features performers and the music of Olu Dara, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Quiet Village and Tina Turner, at LIU Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater. For more information, call 718-488-1624 or visit www.kumbletheater.org.
Sept. 27-Oct. 13: For the ninth year, the annual $15 per ticket dance sensation, the Fall for Dance Festival, returns, featuring 20 national and international companies and choreographers, including Jared Grimes from New York, Maria Pages Compania from Spain, Nan Jombang from Indonesia, Shantala Shivalingappa from India, Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka L from Hawaii and so many more. Tickets go on sale Sunday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m., and they will go fast! Visit www.nycitycenter.org.
Sept. 27-29 & Oct. 4-6: Edisa Weeks’ Delirious Dance presents “To Begin the World Over Again,” “an evening-length multidisciplinary work” inspired by the writings of Thomas Paine, the vision of composer Joseph C. Philips Jr. and presented with six dancers plus 13 musicians and singers. For more information, visit www.deliriousdances.com.
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