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The Wells Project

September 1, 2024 @ 8:00 am - June 1, 2025 @ 5:00 pm

THE WELLS PROJECT / Slipping Into One

ELLEN SINOPOLI DANCE COMPANY, choreography/dancers
BRIAN MELICK, musician
BAT-SHEVA GUEZ, filmmaker/director

To view a short video about the project, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bLqExEuAPc

The concept of The Wells Project is to create a site specific multifaceted filmed work that encompasses the sculpture opus of John Van Alstine and Caroline Ramersdorfer, the musicianship of guitarist Maria Zemantauski and percussionist Brian Melick and the modern dance choreography of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company. We have now entered the next critical stage in our development of the project. The award winning director, Bat-Sheva Guez, has joined us. She is the director of over 20 short films who commands a remarkable sensitivity for all the arts, but especially dance. With  Bat-Sheva on our team and with the success of our initial fundraising efforts, we are now ready to push forward. 

The setting is in Wells, NY at the compound of sculptors Van Alstine and Ramersdorfer. Historically this is the original Old Adirondack Lumber Company on the Sacandaga River. There are multiple components to this site with its many buildings and surrounding grounds that will be engaged in the development of this project. 

The project is anchored by multiple sculptures in the context of two seasons. How will the changes in the climate, weather, temperature and the actual look of the landscape affect and influence the creative process of both dancers and musicians? Running alongside the Wells compound, the Sacandaga River inevitably plays a major role in what the artists see, feel, hear and touch. What is the power of the river to inform the artists? 

The sculptors’ creative work flow will be the source of inspiration for the dancers and musicians. Ramersdorfer’s artistry delves deeply into the perception of internal cellular aspects of the material. Van Alstine’s artistry allows a simultaneous sense of weight and floating to occur when natural stone and man-made objects are combined.

Photos and footage of the sculptors, musicians and dancers at their work and within their individual creative processes begin the film. What follows is a captivating layering and meshing that becomes an intertwined tapestry. The film itself is an artistic statement as it captures and reveals the collaborative artistry of all involved.

Each artist has different tools with which to work, different processes to discover and refine their ideas, different methods to form and further develop their germinating seeds of ideas. Ramersdorfer and Van Alstine utilize design and structure. Zemantauski and Melick begin with rhythm and sound. Ellen Sinopoli and her dancers explore movement and its possibilities. Each art form continually informs the others in the creative process of the artists.

To support this project please click below!






Portals and Passages (Sisyphean Holiday) by John Van Alstine 


“The dancers are invited to physically interact with the sculpture, to literally pass in and out of its openings. Its location in a grassy meadow near and above the river, allows the dancers ample room to move around it. It also sets up important sight lines where the large circular element frames the mountain landscape and moving water, incorporating the changing seasons and sounds of the river and introducing elements of passing time. All of this, when combined with dancers and music, will create an immersive experience engaging all the senses that goes beyond the static nature of stone and steel and underlines the unique nature and power of our performance project, Slipping Into One.” 


Inner View Trilogy and HauchBreathing  by Caroline Ramersdorfer


Inner View Trilogy is a composition of three hanging marble fragments suspended within a steel structure and is bolted to an architectural structure, acquiring a new significance while interplaying with it. It represents a space of perceiving an innermost core in which to explore, apprehend, traverse it and discover to become part of the sculpture by being within it. Movement, Music and Rhythm through the interaction of Dance with Sculpture will complement each other in Nature, transforming a space into a habitat of the environment. “Hauch – Breathing” appears to be reaching out site specific and as a sensible organic living form of wavy earth lines. While it appears to inhale and exhale, a crystalline translucence within the nature of stone unveils its essence. Light becomes part of it and its movement.”

Excerpt by Federica Anichini  in her essay for the ‘Gravity & Light: Caroline Ramersdorfer / Sculptures 1985-2016’ catalog documenting her 2016/2017 solo exhibition at the Opalka Gallery, Russell Sage College in Albany, NY: “By creating a distinct visual experience in her sculptures, the viewer is invited to look at them, into them and through them thus enabling different modes of vision. The pieces use light as an instrument of change while her artistry allows the organic qualities hidden in the inorganic matter to emerge. Her work generates in us an attitude to observe intently.”




Brian Melick (www.uduboy.com)

Maria Zemantauski  (www.mariazemantauski.com)

The sculpture park and studios of John Van Alstine and Caroline Ramersdorfer in Wells, New York offer a multi-layered soundscape that will inform the music composition for this collaboration. Fieldwork will include several site visits to curate sounds from the natural environment, the sound of the raw materials that the artists use in their work, and the sounds that emanate from their studios as they manipulate these raw materials into works of art. Some of the sound recordings will be sampled and enhanced to conform to the voices within the overall composition, while others will be replicated with both traditional and non-traditional musical instruments. Rhythmic elements will be inspired by the striking, scraping, cutting or chiseling of stone or steel, while melodic and harmonic elements will be informed by a broad range of literal and figurative interpretations of the environment, materials and activity. The project will be anchored by the sculptures in the context of four seasons: Van Alstine’s Portals and Passages (Sisyphean Holiday), and Ramersdorfer’s Inner View Trilogy and Hauch – Breathing.




    Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (www.sinopolidances.org)

    Ellen Sinopoli, Artistic Director

As the artists who comprise the skeletal structure of “Slipping Into One”, we examine, explore  and create while stepping deeply into each other’s aesthetic worlds of sculpture, sound and movement. The separate and raw pieces that constitute the sculptures in their initial embodiment inform our creative process. The outdoor environments for the completed sculptures surround our experience and allow for a unique and arresting synesthesia. We capture and reveal a collaborative artistry as each moves beyond exploration, experimentation and a series of studies to reveal an intertwined revelatory work of art. 




   Bat-Sheva Guez (www.batshevaguez.com)

This is a dynamic film that seamlessly weaves dance with documentary scenes to illustrate the collaborative process of these transformational artists. Most of our film’s collaborators are also the characters in the film, and we will follow along with them as they create their work. Crafted like a visual poem, this film will honor, celebrate, laugh and cry along with the creators. As a dancer and musician myself, I am acutely aware of pace and timing within a film, so just as a good poem has its own inherent rhythm, so will this film. From a dramaturgical perspective, the film will have an emotional arc, so that the viewer is pulled through the piece. We will take our viewers on a journey in which the tone and tempo will shift through the course of the story, like movements in a symphony. I also plan to introduce creative ways to transition between scenes – incorporating the element of surprise, so that the film brings moments of delight.

With the dance in this film, I will choreograph the viewer’s gaze. What does a viewer see and when? And more importantly, what does a viewer not see? Sometimes what we do not show is more important than what we do. I tear down the fourth wall, and instead create a “fourth dancer”- the camera itself. This dancer can be playful, pensive, suspenseful. It can dance in tandem or in counterpoint to the others. Further, John and Caroline’s work inspire such compelling opportunities to create a “frame within a frame” where the sculptures create a space inside which we view the dancers’ movements.

One of the things I love about dance-for-camera is that it drops the barriers to experiencing modern dance. It allows audiences from wider socio-economic backgrounds to see what’s possible within this gorgeous artform. It opens the opportunity to share these artists’ work with audiences from around the world. And one of the things I love about documentary filmmaking is that it captures life. It shows you a moment in time, a moment that can’t be repeated.  

A piece of dance is ephemeral. Creating this film will allow the work of these amazing artists to be captured for posterity, solidifying their legacy, and shared long after they are gone. 



September 1 @ 8:00 am
June 1, 2025 @ 5:00 pm
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