Pavel Zustiak

Pavel Zuštiak is a choreographer, dancer and sound designer living in New York City. He was born in the former Czechoslovakia where he received his first dance training. At the age of seventeen he made his choreographic debut with a work for 23 dancers of the Tremolo Dance Company set to M. P. Mussorgsky's music Pictures at an Exhibition. He appeared in the children's TV series Golden Gate for seven years and in numerous TV and radio plays. Zuštiak received his MBA in 1993 and moved to study dance composition and production at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam. 

Zuštiak was awarded a prestigious 2007 Princess Grace Choreography Award to support his collaboration with Laboratory Company Dance in Pittsburgh, PA, and was a finalist in the 1999 Choreography Competition in Amsterdam for Wrinkle in Time. He also received 2006 Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant that allowed his dance research in Vienna, Austria and Brussels, Belgium. 

Zuštiak is the artistic director of Palissimo, a New York City based dance theatre company he established in 2003. Through Palissimo he produced three evening-length works shown in New York City in venues such as Performance Space 122, Dance New Amsterdam, University Settlement, Chashama, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place and internationally at venues in Poland, Slovakia, and Czech Republic.

Zuštiak choreographed for the Yale University production of Edward II (2006) and Bertold Brecht's Baal (2007). He was commissioned by Of Moving Colors Productions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to choreograph three dance theater pieces: Search (1999), Within Without (2001) and All That I Can't Leave Behind (2005). In December 2007, Zuštiak choreographed (S)even, a work commissioned and performed by Laboratory Company Dance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Zuštiak has taught dance composition and improvisation workshops titled Present Body and Art of Looking Sideways in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Denmark and the United States. 

As a sound designer, Zuštiak has created sound for Jeremy Nelson (Mean Piece, Danspace Project, 2008; Dance Theatre Workshop, 2006), Ashleigh Leite (Crawl Space at Danspace Project, 2007, Autopsy at Joyce SOHO, Evening Stars, Jacob's Pillow, 2006), Dixie Fun Dance Theatre, and Palissimo.

Choreographic Fellow | March 14 - 27, 2011

"The Painted Bird Part III - Strange Cargo"

In residence, Pavel Zuštiak researched Part III of his trilogy, The Painted Bird. The title comes from Jerzy Kosinski’s controversial 1965 novel set in post-war Eastern Europe, and the project excavates the novel’s themes of displacement, migration and transformation in three separate performance events within a yearlong period. With the belief that exposing vulnerability, doubts, bewilderment and half-formed beliefs can be done in the service of authentic dialogue, Zuštiak asked community members to provide him with information about their experiences along the spectrum of the work in progress showings.

Part I of The Painted Bird - Bastard premiered at the KioSK Festival in Stanica, Slovakia in July 2010 and had its NY premiere at La MaMa. Part II of The Painted Bird - Amidst premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, June 23-25, 2011 and Part III of The Painted Bird - Strange Cargo will premiere at Performance Space 122.

  • Lindsey Dietz Marchant improvs with students in the MANCC class.
  • FSU School of Dance students respond to Zuštiak's direction in MANCC class.
  • Lindsey Dietz Marchant works with FSU School of Dance students.
  • Pavel Zuštiak and performer Lindsey Dietz Marchant work with FSU School of Dance students.
  • Zuštiak works with FSU School of Dance students.
  • Community members and students watch Giulia Carotenuto and Denisa Musilova in a work-in-progress run through.
  • Giulia Carotenuto rehearses <i>The Painted Bird</i>.
  • Giulia Carotenuto rehearses <i>The Painted Bird</i>.
  • Giulia Carotenuto, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, & Denisa Musilova rehearse <i>The Painted Bird</i>.
  • Lindsey Dietz Marchant rehearses <i>The Painted Bird</i>.
  • Giulia Carotenuto, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, & Denisa Musilova rehearse <i>The Painted Bird</i>.

Collaborators in Residence: Giulia Carotenuto, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Denisa Musilova [performers], Christian Fredrickson [composer], Ryan Rumery [musician], Anthony P. Andrews [dramaturg]. Slideshow photos by Harper Addison, Al Hall, and Bridget Williams.

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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