Each year Pinetree Institute showcases interactive performances meant to engage audiences in a shared learning experience tackling social and cultural issues together.
For 2013, we are sponsoring a performance of dance works by Larry McCullough entitled “Endangered Species.” The dances in this series explore the themes of beauty, fragility, loss and hope in moods ranging from serious to humorous.
“Endangered Species” is an evening of solo dance works created and performed by Larry McCullough. The dances cover a wide range of moods from serious to humorous with an underlying exploration of deep emotional experience. Each dance touches on themes of beauty, fragility, loss and hope in ways that relate deeply to the emotional challenges of creating meaningful and sustainable lives. The performance is approximately 90 minutes with one 15-minute intermission and includes the following pieces:
“Mystic Butterflies” to music of Rachmaninoff
“Lost to the World” to music of Mahler
“Wings” to music of Chopin
“Endangered Species” to music of Debussy and Poulenc
Larry McCullough began his dance training in the men’s dance program at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, studying with the principal male dancer of the Sibyl Shearer Company, one of the leading modern dance companies of the early modern era. He continued his dance study at Oberlin College and U.Mass Amherst, eventually moving to New York where he studied ballet at the Joffrey school and modern dance at the Graham and Ailey schools.
In New York he met legendary Canadian dancer Judy Jarvis, one of the last protégés of the great German dancer Mary Wigman. Together they established a small dance-theater group in Toronto called the Performing Arts Circle which focused on the integration of arts, theater and expressive dance. During this time Larry taught dance in several Canadian Universities and the company toured Canada and Europe. One of the highlights of these tours was the opportunity to perform in West Berlin and to be one of the last groups of dancers to be coached by Mary Wigman before her passing.
After leaving Canada Larry continued his arts work by pursuing a doctoral program at U.Mass Amherst in Human Development that included a focus on the arts as an integrative approach to development. He also broadened this work to include a more general behavioral sciences approach to organizational development which became a large part of his career focus.
In the mid-1990s Larry discovered several strands of dance and movement work that have heavily influenced his current dance creation and performance. One is the work of Isadora Duncan whose technique and works have been faithfully preserved, restored and taught by Lori Belilove, Founder and Artistic Director, and Cherlyn Smith, Associate Artistic Director, of the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation in New York. Another is the work of Kazuo Ohno and the Japanese dance form of Butoh. Larry was profoundly moved by this work and inspired by seeing Kazuo Ohno perform beautifully moving dance works at age 94. A third influence is the practice of Authentic Movement which takes a deeply personal approach to moving that taps into a deep emotional core of experience. It is interesting to note that both Butoh and Authentic Movement have roots in the expressive dance technique and philosophy developed and taught by Mary Wigman.
Each of these strands of work has stimulated a new range of creative interests and exploration in Larry’s continuing explorations in movement and dance. More recently the global crisis around the need for protecting and conserving our environment has stimulated thought and work around some of the deep issues of beauty, fragility, loss and hope which are themes that are explored in the set of dance pieces being showcased in the new series entitled “Endangered Species.”