Moving DanceForce Activity into Warren County


Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company member with John Van Alstine’s sculpture at Opalka Gallery. Photo by Gary Gold.

Year: 2020-2021
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artists: Ellen Sinopoli; John Van Alstine; Maria Zemantauski
Community Partner: The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls NY
Audience: 4,252
County: Warren

From June 11 to September 18, 2022, The Hyde Collection in Warren County exhibited Transformations: The Art of John Van Alstine. Van Alstine has been described as an abstract artist with a keen sense of composition, who evokes narratives from inanimate objects, and a sculptor who finds the balance and energy in the moment. He works at the nexus of natural forces and the manmade, at the intersection between wild nature and technology. This career retrospective examines recurrent themes drawn from Greek and Roman mythology, celestial navigation and the human figure in Western art as he responds to the tension between Nature and the American drive to command and shape the environment to their will.

After having successful collaborations with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company at the Opalka Gallery (Albany) and Chesterwood (Stockbridge, MA), Van Alstine was interested in working with the company once again. Administrators at the Hyde Collection embraced the idea and invited the company to hold eight rehearsals, one performance and one workshop in their exhibit space in relation to the retrospective. In July, the company rehearsed while the exhibit space was open so that patrons at the exhibit could observe their process. The workshop for families took place on August 4 followed by the performance on Saturday, August 6. The latter included a live music component with guitarist Maria Zemantauski. There was no specific charge to see the performance only the regular cost of admission to the Museum. Capacity was anticipated at 60 individuals but, during rehearsals, was able to be adjusted upward and 82 audience members attended.

This project marked the third collaboration between this visual artist and the dance company who also have a future project planned that will take place on the artist’s compound in Hamilton County. This was the second time that the company performed at The Hyde Collection.

This project had great significance for the Hyde Collection’s mission and goals. According to Chief Operating Officer John Lefner, “The infusion of dance and visual art at The Hyde Collection was very well received. We are investigating how to work with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company for future exhibitions, particularly with the highly anticipated 2023 exhibition, Songs of the Horizon: David Smith, Music, and Dance. This year’s program was a great opportunity to show the public that The Hyde Collection is committed to collaborating with mission consistent arts organizations. Our guests were thrilled by the performance, and we saw strong attendance.”

According to one patron, “…it was wonderful to see the Museum in a new way. To watch the dancers bound from gallery to gallery really brought the art work to life!”