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Phase One

Pearl Primus via Ursula Payne

Pearl Primus was a dancer and choreographer who was born in Trinidad and raised in New York City. She studied at Hunter College and the New School for Social Research before making her professional debut in 1943 with her own "African Ceremonial." Primus founded her own dance company in 1946 and was known for her dances characterized by leaps up to five feet in the air. She often based her dances on the work of Black writers and on racial issues. Primus received a grant from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation in 1949 to study dance in Central and West Africa and later traveled to the Caribbean and the southern United States to study and dance. Primus received an M.A. in education from New York University in 1959 and a Ph.D. in Dance Education in 1978. Primus served as a professor of ethnic studies and artist in residence at the Five Colleges consortium in Massachusetts from 1984 to 1990. In 1991, President George Bush honored Primus with the National Medal of Arts.

Ursula Payne restaged Dr. Pearl Primus's Bushasche Etude with permission from Dancing Legacy. In combination with research of Primus' work.

This research project allowed Payne to delve into the rich legacy of Pearl Primus, a pioneering figure in dance. Primus was known for her powerful and politically charged performances that showcased African Americans' cultural and social experiences. By staging Primus's Bushasche Etude, Payne contributed to the preservation and reinterpretation of Primus's work, ensuring that her artistic contributions continue to be celebrated and studied.

Ursula Payne's research on Pearl Primus highlights her dedication to exploring and honoring influential dancers and choreographers. Through her work, she deepens our understanding of Primus' artistic vision, cultural significance, and the impact she had on the world of dance.

Bebe Miller

Bebe Miller is a choreographer and dancer from New York City. She began her career in dance by performing in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s and went on to form the Bebe Miller Company in 1985. Since then, she has created over 50 dance works for the company, which have been performed in nearly 400 engagements worldwide. Her choreography has been commissioned and presented by leading venues such as the Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow, and BAM Next Wave. Miller's vision of dance and performance is rooted in her faith in the moving body as a record of thought, experience, and beauty. Her aesthetic relies on the interplay of a work's idea, its physicality, and the contributions of company members to fashion its singular voice. She has collaborated with artists, composers, writers, and designers, as well as the dancers who share her studio practice and has learned what dancing can reveal from them. Miller has received numerous awards and fellowships, including four New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" awards, United States Artists and Guggenheim Fellowships, and honorary doctorates from Ursinus College and Franklin & Marshall College. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita in The Ohio State University's Department of Dance and lives in Columbus, OH.

Carolyn Adams

Carolyn Adams is a trailblazing dance educator, known for her transformative impact on dancers, dance lovers, and students of all backgrounds. Raised in Harlem, Adams studied dance at the Martha Graham School and Sarah Lawrence College before joining the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1965. She became the company's first Black member and quickly made a name for herself, creating roles in Taylor masterpieces like Esplanade, Airs, Arden Court, Cloven Kingdom, and Big Bertha. After a 17-year career with the company, Adams continued to advocate for dance education and founded the Harlem Dance Studio, Dancing Legacy, and the Repertory Etudes Collection with her sister Julie Adams Strandberg. She also served as a faculty emerita at The Juilliard School and director of education at Jacob’s Pillow. Currently, Adams is a director of education at the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation and the founding artistic director of the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Dance. Adams has received numerous awards for her contributions to dance, including the 2019 Martha Hill Award for Lifetime Achievement, a Dance Magazine Award in 2016, and an award for Artistic Excellence from the International Association of Blacks in Dance in 2010.

Dianne McIntyre

Dianne McIntyre is a visionary choreographer and artistic pioneer with a career spanning over four decades. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, her passion for dance blossomed under the guidance of mentors Elaine Gibbs and Virginia Dryansky. She further honed her skills and artistic sensibilities at The Ohio State University, studying under luminaries such as Helen Alkire and Lucy Venable. In 1970, McIntyre made her way to New York City, where she joined Gus Solomon's Dance Company and embarked on a transformative artistic journey.

In 1972, McIntyre founded her own dance company, Sounds in Motion, based in the vibrant neighborhood of Harlem. Over the course of two decades, Sounds in Motion captivated audiences with their innovative performances, fusing cultural histories, personal narratives, and a profound connection to music and poetry. McIntyre's choreography showcased her unique movement style, characterized by its boldness, discipline, and nuanced expression. Sounds in Motion became a hub for artists, scholars, and activists, nurturing the movement of Black consciousness.

McIntyre's profound impact on the dance world extends beyond her own company. Renowned dance companies like Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have commissioned her choreography, as have numerous university ensembles and major dance festivals. She has also collaborated with recording artists, contributed stage movement to Broadway shows, and directed her own "dance-driven dramas" to critical acclaim. McIntyre's remarkable journey has been honored with prestigious awards and recognition, including Bessie Awards, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and the Master of African American Choreography Medal from The Kennedy Center. Through her mentoring and educational efforts, she continues to inspire and shape the next generation of dancers and choreographers, leaving an indelible mark on the world of dance.

Dianne McIntyre (BFA 1969) in residency with Archiving Black Performance: Memory, Embodiment, Stages of Being project originated by Professors Crystal Michelle Perkins and Valarie Williams. This portion of the project collaborated with Thiossane West African Dance Institute and The Lincoln Theatre. Ohio State undergraduate and graduate dance majors along with members of Thiossane Institute and Community dancers participated in a masterclass and open rehearsal of McIntyre coaching Ohio State dancers in the 1937 dance How Long, Brethren?  that was staged from Labanotation score by Dr. Williams, and a new work choreographed in response to the 1937 dance of protest by Professor Perkins Freedom and Protest set to Fannie Lou Hamer’s speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Ms. McIntyre gave her free and open to the public Artist’s Talk and held a conversation March 6, 5:30-6:50 PM at the Cardinal Health Ballroom at The Lincoln Theatre at 769 E. Long Street.