View full performances.
Slovak-American Choreographer, Director and Designer Pavel Zuštiak creates an evening-length performance work in three parts titled HEBEL, commissioned by and premiering at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City in April, 2020. Zuštiak teams up with scenographer Keith Skretch, composer Christian Frederickson and lighting designer Joe Levasseur—merging the non-narrative qualities of dance with image-based forms and reaching spectators as a totalizing multi-sensory experience.
Through an interdisciplinary, strongly visual and textured approach, Zuštiak excavates themes of human ambition, rootlessness, meaning and identity. HEBEL takes its name from the ancient Book of Ecclesiastes, appearing there 38 times, and still prompting ongoing discourse. Hebel can be translated as vanity, but also emptiness, vapor, breath and absurdity. It lies at the heart of the Book’s key question: “What do you gain from all your work?” HEBEL reflects on temporal human effort and individual life’s worth. HEBEL draws us into an evocative, emotionally charged exploration of life’s meaning and what it means to witness in destabilized world.
Reflecting the scale and proportions of the HEBEL’s ontological questions and informed, too, by Michel Foucault’s writings on docile bodies, power and architecture, Zuštiak in collaboration with scenographer Keith Skretch create a large-scale kinetic scenography that changes to steadily re-contextualize performers’ bodies and to destabilize the audience’s assumptions, thus extending the piece’s inquiries into time, effort, and ending.
Other creative points of departure include: Vera Chytilova’s Czech feminist movie Daisies (1966); Michel Foucault writing “Of Other Spaces” on heterotopias, and NASA’s recordings of black holes emanating sound.
Integrating choreography, kinetic scenography and live music, HEBEL crosses disciplines to make a visceral performance in quest for meaning where the turbulent past and present are alive and the future is envisioned.
World Premiere: April 17-18, 2020Production: Palissimo Company, New York, NYCommissioner: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York, NY
Concept, Direction, Choreography and Costume Design: Pavel ZuštiakCreated in collaboration with performers: Christine Bonansea, Wendell Gray II, Emma Judkins, Doug LeCoursOriginal Music and Sound Design: Christian FredericksonScenography: Keith Skretch StudioLighting Design: Joe LevasseurScenic Associate and Props: Simon HardingDramaturg: Megan CarterProduction Manager: Christina TangSet Construction: Joseph Silovsky Studios
Production Supported by:
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing ArtsGIBNEY Dance in Process Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon FoundationPrincess Grace Foundation-USABaryshnikov Arts CenterBogliasco FoundationNational Endowment for the ArtsThe Charles and Joan Gross Family FoundationHarkness Foundation for DanceLake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NYCouncil for the Arts at MIT
Bogliasco Foundation, ItalyGIBNEY Dance in Process Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NYCBaryshnikov Arts Center supported by Princess Grace Foundation-USALake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NYMovement Research, NYCMassachusetts Institute of Technology