Humans of the Catskills: Gloria McLean

 Gloria McLean and Ken Hiratsuka in front of the new dance and art studio at Squid Farm

Feature Photo by Steven Pisano

Journey to the Catskills:

I will admit that I did not find the Catskills. The Catskills found me after my husband the stone sculptor Ken Hiratsuka found the Catskills and the reservoir and the trout streams and the bluestone and then the amazing barn and old farmhouse that has become our own little bit of heaven in Andes.

Then, right after we signed and purchased the place, I almost blew everything when I had an accident in our then yellow Chevy truck. That’s when I – a modern dancer in the middle of my career in New York City – realized that you can’t even get a quart of milk here without driving for at least ten minutes, much less find anything related to dancing as I defined it.

But it did not take long for the magic of the Catskills to begin to reveal itself. I loved the land, and our wonderful old farmhouse, and the extraordinary 1860 barn that became Ken’s sculpture studio. Soon I was loving dancing in all these places and more, bringing dancers from the City and creating with the many artists and wonderful people here. Now I’m hooked.


I’m a dancer and choreographer and teacher of Modern Dance. My work is called LIFEDANCE and I have had the good fortune to learn from and dance with many other great dancers, in particular modern dance pioneer Erick Hawkins, in whose company I built my career for a dozen plus years. LIFEDANCE is a collaborative with dancers, musicians, and artists of all forms with the goal of integrating body, mind and spirit through creativity and community. Currently, with partner Ken Hiratsuka, we run Squid Farm with studios for Ken’s sculpture and for my dance and movement trainings.


I enjoy sewing, reading, movies, music, sometimes working on video…

Happiness Is:

Swimming in my pond! Enjoying our sculpture garden! And working in my studio. And visiting and bathing and swimming in all the healing waters of the earth whenever I can!

Favorite Dish:

I am blessed with a husband who likes to cook. What’s great is that here at our place in Andes, Ken can go right outside, catch a trout in the stream, and cook it up immediately! I am so lucky! I am the salad chef. The best is when we manage to raise vegetables that the rabbits don’t eat. Yes, sometimes we go out – it’s wonderful to be served. Ahhhh.

Ideal Country Home:

My desire is that My Country Home will finally be perfectly renovated and marvelously organized and the grass cut and wood chopped and stacked and the snow plowed – so that I can come to it and relax!!! And do other things like JUST work in the studio, JUST read, write, sew, paint, relax with friends… Just dance! Hahaha. Living in the Catskills is often hard work. But we love it.

Pond at Squid Farm at sunrise – photo by Setsuko Hiratsuka (Ken’s mother)

Learn more about Gloria’s work from her interview with Broadway World:

Visit Gloria’s website at