Attack Theatre co-founders Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope return to the stage


Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope of Attack Theatre. Photo by Martha Rial .

Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope of Attack Theatre. Photo by Martha Rial .

By Steve Sucato

For most people, turning 20 is a minor milestone. But for dance companies, whose ages are measured in something more like dog years, it’s a pretty big deal. Attack Theatre’s co-founders, Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope, say their company’s 20th anniversary was the perfect excuse to get the old gang back together on stage. That’s something de la Reza, Kope and music director Dave Eggar haven’t done in more than two years.

In its new show, Between, Attack turns back the clock while forging ahead with the creative work that has made it a Pittsburgh dance institution. The show continues Attack’s 20th-anniversary season with four performances Feb. 26-March 1 at Pittsburgh Opera’s George R. White Studio.

“In the early days, it was just the three of us,” says de la Reza. Nowadays, spouses de la Reza, who’s 45, and Kope, 47, perform less frequently with the company. The Grammy-nominated Eggar, whom de la Reza met while at Juilliard, hopscotches the planet performing with the likes of Phillip Phillips, Rosanne Cash and Amy Lee, and composing movie soundtracks.

Attack Theatre music director Dave Eggar. Photo by Matthew Kleinrock.

Attack Theatre music director Dave Eggar. Photo by Matthew Kleinrock.

Joining the dynamic trio for Between will be a frequent collaborator, percussionist Chuck Palmer, and Attack company dancers Dane Toney and Kaitlin Dann.

“It’s a very intimate show,” says de la Reza. “It comes out of our decades-long penchant for creating seemingly impossible artistic challenges for ourselves. For this one, we agreed to create a new work using the set of someone else’s show.”

That show is Pittsburgh Opera’s Sumeida’s Song, which runs concurrently with Between (though at different show times, of course). But while the productions share a set made up of hundreds of stacked wooden pallets, the similarities end there.

The 90-minute Between explores ideas of duality and moving between worlds. It’s danced to live original music by Eggar and Palmer, along with arrangements of Chopin that Eggar, who’s known more as a cellist, will play on piano. Audiences will be split into two separate performance areas from which they will experience the production in differing orders. At intermission, they’ll trade places to see what they missed.

Attack Theatre performs Between7 p.m. Thu., Feb. 26; 2:30 and 7 p.m. Sat., Feb. 28; and 7 p.m. Sun., March 1. $20-40 ($70 Feb. 26 ticket includes party). George R. White Studio at Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. 888-718-4253 or attacktheatre.com.

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper  on February 25, 2015. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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