Issue 12.3-13.1 | Summer 2014/Fall 2014 / Guest Edited by Kim F. Hall, Monica L. Miller, and Yvette Christiansë

A Conversation with Ntozake Shange and Dianne McIntyre

Dance icon Dianne McIntyre’s choreography was amongst the primary influences on Shange’s development of the choreopoem. Shange writes of McIntyre’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” (“movement/ melody/ muscle/ meaning/ mcintyre”). In this conversation, these longtime collaborators reminisce about Shange’s early days as a student in McIntyre’s Harlem dance studio from which she ran her dance company Sounds in Motion. They also touch upon some of their collaborations, including the off-Broadway production Spell #7 (1979) and the 1982 television version of for colored girls . . .. The wide-ranging conversation opens up to topics such as the Black Arts Movement, hip hop, and the reception of Shange’s writing (including a hilarious anecdote about a mis-interpretation of Shange’s poem “…there is something caught in my throat”).

Moderated by Paul Scolieri, Associate Professor of Dance at Barnard College, the conversation took place on February 14, 2013, during the Worlds of Shange conference at Barnard College and immediately following a presentation of student performances inspired by Shange’s writing. Shange and McIntyre are currently collaborating on a choreography based on the choreo-essays in Lost in Language and Sound.