From the mind
of a single, long vine
one hundred opening lives

Chiyo-ni (18 th century Buddhist)

Bold spirited choreography intertwines with Jim Lewis’ finely crafted sculptures to carve a landscape of vivacity and intimacy. A full evening work, the dance unearths and delves into the legends, secrets and anecdotes emanating from these African influenced designs.


“Mastery of dance’s theatrical language…a sensuous work inspired by equally sensuous wood sculpture” ~ Daily Gazette

“An atmospheric and richly imagined work” ~ Times Union

“The eight dancers related so intimately with Jim Lewis’ set of carved cedar objects that the dancers’ bodies and the wooden benches and tools combined as powerful sculptures, part human, part glowing wood” ~ Metroland

Choreography: Ellen Sinopoli

Wood Sculptures: Jim Lewis

Music: Obo Addy, Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Tom Diakite & Sam Mills & Djanuno Dabo, Ashia Kahil, Habib Koite, Steve Langley & Evelyn Maria Harris, Dingane Lelokoane & the master drummers of Ipelegeng, Muluquen Mellesse, Ali Jihad Racy, Foday Musa Suso, Rokia Traore, Kevin Volans

Costume Design and Construction: Kim Vanyo

From the mind/of a single, long vine/one hundred opening lives is a full evening work created by choreographer Ellen Sinopoli, in collaboration with wood sculptor Jim Lewis. Begun during a residency at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, NY, this dance unearths and delves into the stories emanating from nine distinctively designed “sitting structures” by Jim Lewis. In her choreography, Ellen puts forth these questions – “Can these seating elements, strewn across the space, act as a kind of journal? What stories, both private and universal, will emanate from them? What are the legends, secrets and anecdotes of those who come to sit in and share these spaces?” The dancers use these sculpted pieces, based on African form, to carve a landscape of both vivacity and intimacy. The music, also African in origin, adds a sometimes haunting, sometimes wistful, sometimes smiling, but always bold spirit.

Jim Lewis’ wood sculptures lend themselves to dance imagery, and, in particular, to Ellen Sinopoli’s archetypal stories of society. Together, the choreographer, sculptor, and dancers explore how we develop and form ourselves within the context of a larger society. We grow to shape as individuals as we fit a broader contour that humans have always held. We mold ourselves in the human form, yet our choices are unique, and to a purpose we decide for ourselves.

Jim Lewis’ most recent sculpture series explores the interplay of two intersecting geometries. From the logs of cut trees, he carves a shape, leaving part of the original surface intact. The process implies a concept and its place in the greater whole ’progress’ and what it takes from the world. Jim is a founding partner of the Capital Region’s premier furniture design/build firm, Icarus Furniture, located in Troy, NY. He and his crew design and build for homes and public spaces, currently specializing in furnishings for sacred places. Under his direction, Icarus was awarded the Millennium Award for Liturgical Arts. Jim has frequently participated in art shows throughout the Capital Region and has designed, installed and curated numerous exhibits. The set design for this dance was chosen to exhibit in the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Mohawk Hudson Regional in 2002. Jim has been involved in dance for most of his life, both for self-expression and as an exhibit designer for the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY.

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