Buffalo contingent advance trip to see Palissimo’s “Bastard” in Albany

Pavel Zustiak in BASTARD. Photo by Dusan Dobias

Year: 2016-2017
DanceForce Member: Ivan Sygoda
Artist: Pavel Zustiak
Counties: Albany, Erie

Margaret Kaiser reports:
The purpose of the trip to Albany February 2-4 was to allow the Buffalo team, who is sponsoring Palissimo’s production of “BASTARD: The Painted Bird,” to experience both the rehearsal process with the ensemble as well as the full performance. It also allowed the team to get some one-on-one time with choreographer Pavel, dancer Jaro, and musician Christian. DanceForce member Margaret Kaiser was able to not only watch the ensemble rehearsal process but also to speak with ensemble members about their experience. Much insight was gained which will help guide the ensemble selection process, as well as ready the ensemble for Pavel’s preferred style of preparing the ensemble without providing a literal description of the piece. For example, the night of the performance was the ensemble’s first encounter with BASTARD. It is important to understand Pavel’s process in order to maintain the integrity of his intended engagement for the ensemble. He was more concerned with having the ensemble focus on the intentions of their movements, as pure movement, rather than layering their work with dramatic intention driven by a literal interpretation of the piece. The night of the full performance the entire Buffalo team was present: Dan Shanahan, Director of Torn Space Theatre, Shanntina Moore, representative of Ujima Theatre Company (substituting for Lorna C. Hill), and Margaret. After the performance the team had a late-night dinner with Pavel & Jaro, which helped to clarify expectations and preparatory plans for ensemble selection. It also provided sustained time for the Buffalo team to brainstorm ideas and begin to determine a planning calendar. The Buffalo team was extremely grateful to Ivan for supporting our efforts. Besides inspiring us to make our production even more meaningful for our diverse urban population, it also enhances our ability to work together with shared goals and objectives in order to map out a coherent plan of action.

Pavel Zustiak adds:
Dan Shanahan and Margaret Kaiser both came to Albany to see our BASTARD production. We had a great visit and meeting after – they are also doing very nice outreach among the refugees in the city to join our ensemble for the show. We look forward to partnering with them.

Ivan Sygoda adds background:
The August timing suited Margaret’s partners and accommodated the fact that Margaret was “off” in 2016-17 and “on” again in 2017-18. Since advance coordination between the local and visiting artists is key to an effective collaboration of this sort, it was thought wise for the team to make an advance visit to Albany to attend Palissimo’s Dance Force-supported presentation of “Bastard” at UAlbany on February 3, 2017, and to meet with Pavel to clarify goals and responsibilities. Since Dance Force member Ivan Sygoda was “on” in 2016-2017 and is himself committed to further the Dance Force goal of supporting the Juried Bessies artists, he volunteered a portion of his 2016-17 allotment to support this advance trip. Funds were earmarked for travel, housing and meals for Margaret and two of her colleagues.