Movers & Shapers: Pavel Zuštiak

By February 21, 2020March 3rd, 2020Podcast



Pavel Zuštiak


Release Date: 2.20.20


    • iTunes: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Stitcher: Subscribe and Listen HERE

    • Any Smartphone Podcast app: Subscribe and Listen


Pavel Zuštiak (b. 1971) is a Slovak-American director, choreographer and designer living in NYC for the past twenty years. He is the 2015 Bessie Juried Award winner 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.”

Zuštiak finds live performance and the corporeal body an ideal vehicle for ontological questions around perception and presence, fiction and utopia, physical and unseen. Often described as human and humane, his works merge the abstract aspects of dance with nonlinear qualities of “theatre of images” into interdisciplinary works both visually evocative and emotionally piercing.

Zuštiak has been presented in the US and Europe in venues such as the NYU Skirball, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, American Dance Institute, New York Live Arts, PS122, COIL Festival, Abrons Arts Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, La MaMa, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Response Festival, Legion Arts, Archa Theatre, Bratislava in Movement, KIOSK Festival, Slovak National Theatre and State Theatre Kosice.  Zuštiak’s work was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, National Performance Network, Department of Cultural Affairs City of New York, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and New Music USA.

Zuštiak has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Princeton Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, MANCC, multiple Princeton Grace Foundation-USA awards and LMCC President’s Award. He has been an artist in residence at Bogliasco Foundation, MIT, Movement Research, Baryshnikov Arts Center, GIBNEY, American Dance Institute, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, Cowles Center, Vermont Performance Lab, LMCC, MANCC, Abrons Arts Center, Czech Center NY and Grotowski Institute.

Zuštiak is the director and founder of PalissimoCompany in NYC. He aspires to direct and choreograph large scale stage works in new music and contemporary theatre. His love of design led him also to interior design and real estate and directing transformations of houses and apartments. He is also a licensed real estate agent with Douglas Elliman.



Zuštiak creates no movement that looks like dancing for its own sake. It becomes a statement of identity, a task to be completed, an urge to be satisfied.
Deborah Jowitt, ARTSJOURNAL
A vivid, often anguished imagination shines through in Zuštiak’s work.
Brian Seibert, THE NEW YORKER
Like many productions of Mr. Zustiak’s company, Palissimo, this one boasts compelling performers. The integration between the action, the imaginatively harsh lighting (by Joe Levasseur) and the ominous soundscape (by Christian Frederickson and Bobby McElver) is exceptionally tight.
…in an age where many creators make cookie-cutting an art, this company deserves kudos for boldly (and refreshingly) reinventing its approach with each new piece. I look forward to seeing what they will cook up next.
Ivan Talijanćic, BACHTRACK



Guided by the belief that dance is a fundamental embodied practice for understanding the human condition in a globalized context, the MFA in Dance at Rutgers University establishes students as creatively literate world citizens who can develop interdisciplinary solutions to address complex contemporary issues. Our interdisciplinary approach is the hallmark of the MFA in Dance, offering working dance professionals the opportunity to study with award-winning dance artists, scholars, and educators.

Rutgers’ Dance Department Graduate Faculty, as well as guest artists and scholars such as Sondra Fraleigh and Pavel Zustiak, support the MFA in Dance degree’s goals of curricular integration of theory and practice towards developing each MFA students’ interdisciplinary praxis.

Applications are being accepted for the Summer 2020 cohort.
For more information: or 848-932-1345.


Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton
Theme Music: Adam Crawley whose music can be found at

This podcast episode is in partnership with JAM.  JAM is the home of dance entrepreneur Jessica Marino, providing artist management services and industry shopping., networking for dance and bringing ideas to the spotlight.