Painted Bird was inspired by the renowned book of the same title by Jerzy Kosinski. For W&M, it raised questions about the nature of humanity and our responses to difference and fear. It provoked the artists to reflect on our potential for cruelty, our isolation, our deep desire to belong, but also aspects of beauty and innocence and the capacity of the human spirit to soar. Though not shaped as a narrative, this physical and demanding dance theatre work reveals aspects of the human condition both cruel and beautiful. It is a powerfully physical portrait of isolation, innocence, and the fine line between innocence and cruelty. It was first presented in Poland in 1996. In its original version, it ran 20 minutes; the full 55 minute work was introduced in April 2008 in Calgary. "This is a bold and tender work about the human condition that moves from lyrical and soulful dancing to harshly instinctive and emotional gestures."