In Albany: The Palissimo Company dances “Bastard” In The Raw


If you love dance of the adventurous, daring and unexpected sort, this may be a highlight of the winter. We are bringing it to your attention now because with just over 100 seats available in the  intimate UAlbany Performing Arts Center, this will offer an opportunity to see the performers up close and personal. Not only that, but during the extended program there will be opportunity for dialogue between artists and audience. Here are the essentials.

Presented under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Palissimo Company is slated for Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:30pm.  The company will perform Bastard, a work of dance, live music and spoken word that is loosely inspired by the harsh and controversial 1965 wartime novel by expatriate Polish writer Jerzy Kosiński entitled “The Painted Bird.” The performance is the fourth offering in the Dance in Albany series, a joint series sponsored by The Egg, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and Massry Center for the Arts at St. Rose.  It will be performed In the Raw, a format conceived and implemented two seasons ago.

In the Raw features companies in studio performances of their work.  This format strips down the production values so that the essence of the dance is brought to the forefront. When you watch great dancers from a distance — say two dozen rows back from the proscenium stage — you admire their craft. When you watch them from a few feet away, you fall in love,” claimed Tresca Weinstein in the Times Union about the inaugural performance of the series.  The artistic director and artists will participate in a Q&A with the audience following the performance. There will also be a post-show reception in the lounge furthering the opportunity for conversation between spectators and performers.

Based in New York City, Palissimo Company is an interdisciplinary platform for research, development and production of live arts. Its works merge the abstract aspects of dance with the nonlinear qualities of theatre and mise-en-scène into multidisciplinary works that are rich in evocative imagery, piercing emotional resonance and non-narrative/nonverbal content. Palissimo strives to provide original, transformative insight into the human condition while reaching spectators with multi-sensory theatrical experiences.

Pavel Zuštiak

Pavel Zuštiak

The title of the Kosinski book that I use for my work comes from a scene where a little boy meets a bird trapper in a Polish village during the second world war. He paints a bird in brilliant colors and releases it. The bird joins its own flock, which then kills him, thinking it is an intruder. Being rejected by your own.” – Pavel Zuštiak

The company was founded and has been led since 2004 by artistic director Pavel Zuštiak, a director, choreographer and performer who was born in communist Czechoslovakia and trained at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam.  Zuštiak’s works for stage and public spaces center around the exploration of the corporeal body while illuminating states of the human condition. He is the 2015 Bessie Juried Award winner, a 2015-17 Princeton Arts Fellow, the recipient of the 2013 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Practice, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow and three-time recipient of Princess Grace Awards (2007, 2009 & 2014).

The performance of Bastard is highlighted by Slovak dancer Jaro Viňarský and original music performed live by Christian Federickson. It draws upon the crucial scene of the novel in which a bird captured by a human is brilliantly painted and then freed to return to its flock, only to be violently killed by its own kind as a perceived interloper.

Bastard was originally co-commissioned by Stanica Žilina-Záriecie (Slovakia), Grotowski Institute (Poland) and La MaMa ETC (New York City). Early research was made possible with the assistance of Movement Research in New York City and the dance department at the University of California, Irvine. The original world premiere was at KioSK Festival at Stanica Žilina-Záriečie in July 2010 and the US premiere at La MaMa ETC in November 2010.  The UAlbany Performance is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, New York State DanceForce/Bessies Residency Fund, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, University Auxiliary Services, Dance Alliance and Hampton Inn.

Prior to the performance, the company will be in residence at UAlbany for five days.  In addition to lecturing and teaching, they will rehearse with 50 community members who will be incorporated into the February 3 performance. You can get a sense of how crucial these volunteers are to the overall work by watching the short video clip above.

A limited number of tickets are available for the performance.  Advance tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show (pending availability) are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or visit the Performing Arts Center website at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s