Leaves of Grass ~ Illuminated

Critics praised the Minneapolis premiere in July 2014: “Scully creates an onstage world that Whitman would have appreciated... Without this daring poet’s soaring words and his willingness to take risks in a hostile era, we may never know what it means to ‘sing the body electric.’ Scully is the perfect caretaker for Whitman’s legacy.” (StarTribune)

Leaves of Grass - Illuminated (select scenes) from Patrick E. Scully on Vimeo.

Patrick Scully was born to play Walt Whitman... For a decade Scully has been gestating Whitman’s poetry and life and has now crafted a luminous performance art piece... the piece’s genius is Scully’s illumination of Whitman texts and his life ... It is a truly great American work of theatrical art.” (Lavender)

Combining theater, dance and solo performance, this show is about history, art, and literature - presenting aspects of Walt Whitman’s life and work that are fascinating for our time, in which discussions of male/male relations have moved into every section of the newspaper. “Kevin Kortan makes an appearance as Whitman’s lover Peter Doyle and in one of the work’s more poignant moments they discuss the poet’s refusal to use the pronoun “he” (instead using “she”) in his writing to describe their passionate relationship.” (StarTribune)

It’s about dance. In Scully’s words: Whitman’s language is so body-based, so physical, it begs you to press your body up against his words. “Scully, 60, said [this] show is about paying it forward, sharing what he’s learned from dancing with such legends as Remy Charlip. Scully performed in Charlip’s “10 Men” at the Brooklyn Music Academy. “So I get to pass that dream –of what positive relationships between men might be like – forward in this show, by passing on what I got from Remy,” (MN Public Radio) “The movement itself is based in contact improvisation, which emphasizes the intuitive give and take of dancing with another person. Scully’s company members take great care to support and inspire one another.” (StarTribune)

This show is available in three modes:

  • The Large Ensemble (Patrick Scully & a cast of 18 others)
  • The Solo (Scully in a one man show - premiering in Jan ’15, using projections of the dances)
  • The Residency (where Patrick works with performers from your community to re-stage The Large Ensemble).

To Contact Patrick ~ (612) 205 1512 ~ email


Review: ‘Leaves of Grass’ – Scully Creates a Luminous Signature Piece that Embodies the Homoromantic Spirit of 19th Century America

- full review -

StarTribune - Entertainment

Patrick Scully's Walt Whitman show premieres

- full review -

MPR News - State of the Arts

Walt Whitman celebrated in ‘Leaves of Grass’

- full preview -

StarTribune - Entertainment

In 'Leaves of Grass,' Patrick Scully pays tribute to Walt Whitman

- full preview -





Boat Ballet

A site specific performance in which Patrick Scully animates your community’s lovers of being on the water, creating a “ballet” the entire community will enjoy.

This is the boat ballet at 80 times its normal speed, followed by some much slower real time clips. The boats are the dancers, a lake or river is the stage. People from your community who love being on the water will move the boats. Everyone will show up to watch. Musicians will improvise a sound score. In real time it takes an hour. Geese fly by, waves and breezes shift. It’s meditative, it’s nature, it’s dance, it can be yours, tailored specifically for your community. This version took place in Potsdam Germany in 2010. 5000 people came to see it, and the media were all over it!

To Contact Patrick ~ (612) 205 1512 ~ email





About Patrick & To Contact

About Patrick ~ Patrick Scully is part of the first generation of dancers to work with contact improvisation, first studying with Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith in 1975. He co-founded Contactworks in Minneapolis in 1976, a dance collective that used contact improvisation as its core vocabulary, while the non-hierarchical, democratic, community building values of this dance form defined their administrative structure. Patrick left Contactworks in 1980 to better explore bringing his identity as a gay man into his art. This led him to study with Ruth Zaporah, and drew him to New York to dance with Remy Charlip. He considers his work with Remy to be a deep and all pervading influence in his life/work.

Patrick founded Patrick’s Cabaret in 1986 in Mpls. to provide artists easy access to getting on stage. Locally it was on the forefront of inclusively providing access to all artists.

Still actively creating, Patrick is a contemporary and historical presence in Minneapolis’ arts community. He first performed in a Walker Choreographers’ Evening in 1972. His premiere at DTW was hailed by the NY Times as one of the performing highlights of 1992. He is known for improvisation, and many year collaborations, eg. initiating Unsafe/Unsuited - (with Keith Hennessy (SF) and Ishmael Houston Jones (NY) touring widely nationally and internationally over 6 years). Patrick’s works range from solos, (both improvised and set) to small groups to large pieces (the Boat Ballet in Berlin/Potsdam had 45 boats and over 150 people involved in the performance). Dance is Patrick’s home base, he is equally at home in performance art and theater. He has lived and worked in Mpls, NYC, DC, Berlin, and Rio de Janiero.

To Contact Patrick ~ (612) 205 1512 ~ email