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The first-ever site-specific work by Pavel Zuštiak begins with a most banal of big city scenes: an inconspicuously dressed young woman rushes into the Staten Island Ferry terminal – and misses the boat. What happens next reveals beauty in a present moment and exceptional meaning in banality of random everyday events: the delayed traveler begins to dance, but the music that moves her remains unheard to the most of the crowd. Gradually the audience notices a couple in similar outfits, bland jeans and grayish shirts, shifting at one of the benches, their bodies unable of settling. The apparent strangers are soon united in a trio that moves around the spacious hall of the ferry terminal, at times disappearing into the crowd and reappearing somewhere else. The trio of dancers – longtime Palissimo collaborators: Gina Bashour, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Jeff Kent Jacobs – wanders longingly among the commuters awaiting their next ride, performing their quiet act, mostly undisturbed – or perhaps even purposely ignored – by the traveling public. Whoever stops to watch them with a mixture of surprise and awe as they transform public space into a performance space has to wonder: are all performers here, or just those who dance?
Audience members could choose from five downloadable soundtrack options for HALT! from Palissimo website prior to their visit to the terminal, or they could listen to music on location using a headset available from the staff or at the “Sound Bar” listening station. Audio accompaniment framed the playful and provocative acts of the performers in five diverse ways and encapsulated visitors in their own private soundscape amidst a sea of hurrying strangers.
World premiere: Whitehall Ferry Terminal, New York City, October 26-30, 2009, 30 min
Concept, Choreography, Sound design: Pavel Zuštiak; Original Music: Benjamin Dauer, Christian Frederickson, Kevin Keller, Thiago Tiberio; Scenography, Costumes: Nicholas Vaughan; Performers: Gina Bashour, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Jeff Kent Jacobs; Sound Bar Construction: Quincy Street Custom LLC.
Palissimo Inc. production, presented by the New York City Department of Transportation as part of the Urban Art Program, a New York City program to bring art to public spaces. Halt! has been commissioned and made possible, in part, by grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council: with the generous support of The September 11th Fund, public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts.