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Pavel Zuštiak presents "Hebel" at NYU Skirball

Pavel Zuštiak presents "Hebel" at NYU Skirball


NYU Skirball


NYU Skirball
566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square
New York City, NY 10012


Friday, April 17, 2020 - 7:30pm
Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 7:30pm



NYU Skirball

NYU Skirball presents HEBEL, a world-premiere commission choreographed and directed by Slovak-American artist Pavel Zuštiak, director of New York-based Palissimo, on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 pm. HEBEL draws upon an evocative, emotionally charged exploration of life’s quest for meaning where the turbulent past and present are alive and the future is envisioned.

HEBEL is Zuštiak’s collaboration with scenographer Keith Skretch, composer Christian Frederickson and lighting designer Joe Levasseur. 

Taking its title from the Book of Ecclesiastes, HEBEL interrogates the text’s key question: “What do you gain from all your work?” The word “hebel” translates as vanity, but also breath, vapor, emptiness, and absurdity. Through an interdisciplinary, strongly visual and textured approach, Zuštiak mines themes of human ambition, meaning and identity, reflecting on the fleeting nature of life and live performance.

Pavel Zuštiak is a Slovak-American creative director, choreographer, and performer. Born in communist Czechoslovakia, he left for Amsterdam after the Velvet Revolution where he studied at the School for New Dance Developement (SNDO) and now resides in New York City. His genre-crossing works entice ontological questions around perception and presence, reality and fiction, and intertwine the physical and the invisible.

His most recent works include  Custodians of Beauty, Endangered Pieces and The Painted Bird trilogy. Zuštiak’s many awards include several Princess Grace Awards, Princeton Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Juried Bessie Award for his “poetic layering of movement and visual imagery, conceiving the stage as a decentralized world in which the corporeal body is the focus and canvas for a wide range of human expression.” His five-hour trilogy The Painted Bird received a 2013 Bessie nomination for Outstanding Production.  

Palissimo, a contemporary performance company founded and led since 2004 by Pavel Zuštiak, is an interdisciplinary platform for research, development, and production of live performances. Palissimo is innovative in its approach to contemporary performance practices and has facilitated diverse artistic collaborations since its inception. Often described as both human and humane, its works merge the abstract aspects of dance with the nonlinear qualities of “theatre of images” 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 as multi-sensory theatrical experiences.  



Hebel will play Friday, April 17  and Saturday April 18 at 7:30 pm at NYU Skirball.  Tickets begin at $25 and can be purchased online at www.nyuskirball.org, by calling 212.998-4941, or at the box office, Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 pm– 6:00 pm. NYU Skirball is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square, New York, New York 10012.


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