The impulse to move and respond to rhythm is deeply imbedded in our cultural DNA. Utilizing the universal language of the dance, so popular in the media today, Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts brought a sequential arts education program Dancing Off the Canvas to enrich arts education in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools this Spring, featuring the nationally acclaimed dance company Attack Theatre from March 24 – 26, 2015. ARCA’s educational objectives were with to inspire students, enhance learning through the arts and celebrate student artwork in an exhibit in The Red Brick Gallery in Foxburg from April 11- 19.
The acclaimed arts educators and dance company Attack Theatre spent the day in the A-C Valley Junior/Senior High School on March 24, conducting three learning-through-the-arts workshops for A-C Valley Students and Gifted & Talented students from a consortium of neighboring school districts, and performing an assembly dance concert for students from 5th to 12th grade. A public dance concert of “Leap Into Action” took place on Thursday, March 26 at 7 PM in the A-C Valley High School Auditorium.
Dancing off the Canvas also featured a student art exhibit in The Red Brick Gallery from April 11 to 19. The public attended a “Meet the Student Artists” Exhibit Opening and Reception from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM, Saturday, April 11, on the second floor of the Red Brick Gallery, located at 17 Main Street, in Foxburg.
To support Dancing Off the Canvas and its arts education program in the A-C Valley Schools, ARCA created a movie and launched an internet crowd funding FundRazr site to engage public support. As a result ARCA gave a contribution of $500 to the A-C Valley Jr. and Sr. High School visual arts program.
ATTACK THEATRE in residency at AC Valley: In “Dancing Off the Canvas”, Attack Theatre conducted workshops that explored the relationship between dance and visual art to engage students in learning through the arts on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
Attack Theatre has a long history of blurring the lines between visual art, performance art, and traditional dance. Nationally acclaimed for their innovative arts education residencies in dance and the visual arts, Attack Theatre is THE quintessential partner in presenting ARCA’s “Dancing Off the Canvas” arts education residency program at A-C Valley Schools – and they are based right here in western Pennsylvania.
Attack Theatre’s arts in education and arts integration programs in schools utilize movement and dance as an engaging tool for: enhancing problem solving and critical analysis skills, building interdisciplinary connections, developing communication and cooperation skills, exploring abstract thinking, developing self-confidence, promoting healthy habits, exploring the creative process; and creating a deeper understanding of dance as an art form.
Small Workshops: Attack Theatre’s experienced, professional teaching artists worked with A-C Valley students from grades 5 to 12 and Gifted and Talented students from neighboring school districts exploring the universal language of dance on March 24, 2015.
Known for their audacious athleticism and “they make it look so easy” dance moves, teaching artists from Attack Theatre led workshops at the high school giving the students opportunities to stretch their imaginations, creativity and problem-solving skills.
Ideas were flashing like technicolor fireworks as A-C Valley students from 5th to 12th grades stretched their imaginations, creativity and problem-solving skills. Validating observations and exploring possibilities were the plays of the day, with creative scrimmages of self-expression the game plan. The three workshops Attack Theatre presented were:
Leading and Listening: Cooperation Through Movement – Attack Theatre is known for its athletic and momentum-based partnering. In this workshop, students investigated concepts of counterbalance, momentum, center of gravity and lever-based movements. Students practiced non-verbal tactics to develop trust, empathy and clarity in communication.
A-C Valley students Allison Sherman and Casey Borland (pictured below) with fellow students explored non-verbal communication with a goal of developing trust, empathy, and clarity of communication through a series of leading and following activities in the Leading and Listening: Cooperation through Movement Workshop.
Dancing off the Canvas Workshop – In this workshop, Teaching Artists engaged the students in dialogue in which they analyzed and described a visual work of art shown. The students created movements that illustrated the descriptive phrases they used for the painting. Eventually, students choreographed short dances that represented the emotion, subject and narrative of the painting. Students took abstract concepts – the narrative and feelings evoked by the painting and turned them into something tangible – a short performed dance.
Every Body Moves – Students developed a greater understanding of how to use physicality to tell a story’s narrative. They were asked the question “what does a story look like?” Also, they became acquainted with directing others in choreography using the elements of spacial relationship, body language, facial expression and tempo. Students used these tools to tell a story through movement.
Reflective Session: After a pizza party for students, Lori Marron Sherman, A-C Valley English and Gifted and Talented Teacher, led a reflective session in which students wrote flash fiction in response to AC-Valley student paintings. Here Lauren McNany reads the fiction written by her group in response to a painting by A-C Valley student Madison Stump.
Assembly Dance Concert: The day concluded with a high-energy, interactive school-wide assembly performance for 5th to 12th grade A-C Valley students showing the different forms of inspiration that provide the impetus for modern dance. In “Leap Into Action” Attack Theatre’s athletic dancers created exciting lifts and leaps using weight, balance, momentum, and even a ladder in some truly fun and whimsical and awe-inspiring dance pieces.
Additionally, students the had the unique opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with Attack’s Artistic Director and Teaching Artists.
Asked about their training, Co-Founder and Attack Theatre Artistic Director Peter Kope shared that he had played football, basketball and wrestled before becoming a dancer – and that he loved to ride motorcyle! Immediately after the assembly several of A-C Valley’s star male athletes came up to have a photo taken with Peter and the dancers… the best validation of the experience’s impact for them.
Dancer Ashley Williams shared that she went to school for a “serious career” earning a BS in Aerospace Engineering (CU-Boulder) and an MS in Electrical Engineering (MIT), and to her parents’ chagrin, has been dancing happily ever since . . . however, she does still spend her free time investigating the biochemical properties of cartilage using magnetic resonance imaging.
Both of these artists are great role models for students for creating professions by working hard, developing one’s talent and following one’s dreams.
Public performance of Leap Into Action: “Dancing Off the Canvas” also provided adults and families an opportunity to experience Attack Theatre’s performance of Leap Into Action: A Look Behind the Curtain. Co-founder and Artistic Director Peter Kope and company dancers extended their camaraderie on stage to give audience members an inside view of the artistic creative process in a public performance at the A-C Valley High School Auditorium on Thursday, March 26, at 7:00 PM.
Student Art Exhibit at the Red Brick Gallery: More than 85 A-C Valley students in Anita Allen’s art classes have created 100 works of art inspired by the dance which will be a part of the Student Art Exhibit at the Red Brick Gallery. In their educational process, students have employed the long-standing practice, dating back to the masters of western art, of doing copies of works of art as a study in composition and craftsmanship. From ballet and tango dancers to dancing cartoon figures, beach party dancers and dancing bears, the student art work is delightfully diverse and excellent in its reproduction of a wide spectrum of images inspired by the dance.
“Students have been working on their art for this exhibit since January,” said Anita Allen, A-C Valley art instructor and Art club faculty advisor. “ It’s amazing to witness their creative process. The Dancing off the Canvas theme has certainly sparked their imagination and has led them to some truly inspired interpretations of dance as they see it. Our community will, without a doubt, get a true idea of the artistic skills our kids have when they see the quality and creativity of this art exhibit.”
The art works of these students will be celebrated in a student art exhibit in the second floor gallery at The Red Brick Gallery in Foxburg from April 11 to 19. A-C Valley students also will serve as docents for the Exhibit. After the Exhibit selected student art works will be displayed in Foxburg businesses.
“This beautiful exhibit is a physical manifestation of the continually evolving partnership between ARCA and the A-C Valley Schools. We are empowering arts education by celebrating student artists in Anita Allen’s classes. I’ve admired their work for years and we’re so pleased ARCA can mount this special exhibit that we hope everyone will come to see and support with this FundRazr project,” states John Soroka, Executive Director of ARCA.
Working closely with Red Brick Gallery Director and artist Donna Edmonds, students will have the opportunity to take an active role in the multi-layered endeavor of presenting an art exhibition.
“Not only will the students create the pieces that will be displayed, they will also learn the fundamentals of framing, preparing artworks for display and actually installing the show themselves,” says Edmonds. “We are so pleased to be able provide this rare chance for them to get a comprehensive perspective on the care and commitment it takes to build an exhibit from start to finish. Perhaps it will provide the inspiration that some student will need to pursue a life-long love for creating art.”
An opening reception at the Red Brick Gallery hosted by the student artists and ARCA will take place on Saturday, April 11 at 12 p.m. The artists will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about their work. The exhibit will run from Saturday, April 11 through Sunday, April 19. Gallery hours for the exhibit will be Fridays, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Talent flourishes wherever it’s born in this country – as long as it’s nurtured and developed… as evidenced by A-C Valley’s annual musical theatre production directed by Jennifer Lowrey and choreographed by Julie Findlan Powell and the school bands directed by Scott DiTullio.
The A-C Valley Schools have inspiring arts teachers who do wonderful work with their students in band, chorus, art class, drama club, art club and the school musical.
But our beautiful Foxburg is in a rural area… we’re in “the country”. Many A-C Valley students otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the innovative, creative and thought inspiring excellence of Attack Theatre. Attack Theatre’s residency and public performance exposed all A-C Valley students from 7th to 12 grades and arts students in grades 5-6 – as well as parents and adults – to the stimulation and wonder of their innovative, cutting edge modern dance performance, not normally possible outside of larger city settings.
The innovative “Dancing Off the Canvas” program demonstrates ARCA’s commitment and mission to contribute to the future of the community through the arts education of its young people. As standardized testing has become paramount, research has shown that arts education has numerous benefits: From making you smarter and engaging “whole brain” thinking to solving problems and finding more creative and innovative solutions… all of which help students perform better academically.
When faced with problems to solve, students in the arts produce more possible and creative solutions. Imagination plus creativity equals innovation, and innovation is what 21st century employers and corporations are seeking. And that’s not considering that jobs in the ‘creative sector’ comprise one-third of the US Economy.
ARCA’s larger goal isn’t to get a bunch of kids to dance or paint pictures or even to turn them into professional artists. Its goal is for students to take this enriching experience into their lives, as nurses, teachers, business people and leaders in their community – each pursuing their own dream.
ARCA also seeks with this project to build bridges of appreciation and understanding for dance and music and the visual arts. This is aligned with ARCA’s mission to make its arts presentations more accessible in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Region as a resource for life long learning and enrichment, thereby contributing to the cultural fabric and economic vitality of the region.
“Dancing Off the Canvas” will present for the first time in the Allegheny-Clarion River Valley Region the Pittsburgh-based, internationally acclaimed modern dance company, Attack Theatre.
“Dancing Off the Canvas” will have four components:
I. SMALL WORKSHOPS
Dance and movement workshops presented by the seasoned, professional teaching artists from the dance company Attack Theatre preceded the afternoon assembly dance concert for all Allegheny-Clarion Valley School 7-12th grade students on March 24, 2015. Participants in the workshops included AC Valley 5th-12th grade students in the Gifted and Talented Programs, Art club, Drama club, chorus and band, as well as Gifted and Talented Students from neighboring districts. Lori Marron Sherman, Gifted and Talented Coordinator at AC Valley, facilitated the participation of the Consortium and program coordination.
Nationally acclaimed for their innovative arts education residencies in dance and the visual arts, Attack Theatre is THE quintessential partner in presenting ARCA’s “Dancing Off the Canvas” arts education program – and they are based right here in western Pennsylvania. The company in its twentieth season has a long history of making connections between dance and the visual arts. For many years they have been creating multidisciplinary work that blurs the lines between visual art, performance art, and traditional dance. Working in museums, galleries, installations and site-specific public works of art, Attack Theatre also has developed a method of involving students and audiences in the creation of new work that complements existing sculpture, paintings and installations. In these performances and workshops, both audiences and artists respond to works of art. Audiences react to form, color, composition, and dance to create a movement dialogue with dancers – ultimately resulting in a finished choreographed piece.
Known for their audacious athleticism and “ninja-like intensity”, for 20 years ATTACK THEATRE has combined contemporary dance, live music and multimedia.
As part of Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts education program “Dancing Off the Canvas”, on Tuesday, March 24, Teaching Artists from ATTACK THEATRE presented THREE WORKSHOPS for Allegheny-Clarion Valley arts students and Gifted and Talented students:
- Dancing Off The Canvas Workshop: Developing critical thinking skills both analyzing visual art works and creating short dance compositions based on their observations of a work of visual art
- Leading and Listening: Cooperation through Movement Workshop: Non-verbal communication skills explored through movement
- Everybody Moves Workshop: Exploring the connection between dance and sports in movement working with Attack Theatre’s Co-Founder and Artistic Producing Director, Peter Kope.
DANCING OFF THE CANVAS Workshop
Attack Theatre has a long history of creating multidisciplinary work that blurs the lines between visual art, performance art, and traditional dance. Working in museums, galleries, installations, and site-specific public works of art, Attack Theatre has developed a method of involving students and audiences in the creation of new work inspired by works of visual art. This workshop will engage critical thinking skills through analysis of both visual art works and dance compositions inspired by Visual Thinking Strategies (developed by Philip Yenawine of Museum of Modern Art). Attack Theatre Teaching Artists will facilitate dialogue in which students will describe, analyze, and interpret art works. Students will respond to works of art, reacting to form, color, composition; connecting common elements of both dance and visual art. Students will then generate dance movements from these observations, ultimately creating a short dance inspired by these visual art works. Within this process, students in residencies will work in collaborative small groups to experience the process of creating dance and engaging in kinesthetic problem solving.
Leading and Listening: Cooperation through Movement Workshop
Attack Theatre is known for its athletic and unique form of momentum-based partnering. The workshop investigated concepts of physics such as counterbalance, momentum, center of gravity, and levers through movement. Through a series of leading and following activities, students will explore non-verbal communication with a goal of developing trust, empathy, and clarity of communication.
Every Body Moves Workshop
This dance workshop will focus on students’ natural movement and creative abilities. Students will explore dance terminology by exploring the connections between dance and music, as well as dance and sports. This high-energy session will explore movement from the infinite variety of movement and dance possibilities simply by walking, sitting and lying down.
II. AN ASSEMBLY PERFORMANCE
An afternoon assembly dance performance of Leap Into Action on March 24 was performed for all A-C Valley Jr. and Sr. High School 7-12th grade students as well as choir and A-C Valley 5th-6th grade students in Gifted & Talented and choir AND students from neighboring school districts participating in the Gifted and Talented Consortium. Attack Theatre’s athletic dancers created exciting lifts and leaps using weight, balance, momentum, and even a ladder! Students were introduced to the different forms of inspiration that provide the impetus for this creation of contemporary dance. The dancer’s camaraderie on stage and relationship with the audience provides a fun-filled and interactive glimpse into the boundless creativity of dance.
III. AN EVENING CONCERT – THURSDAY, MARCH 26
An evening performance of Leap Into Action was performed on Thursday, March 26 at 7 PM by Attack Theatre for the community reached AC Valley families and members of the general public. This was presented as an “Informance” with special insights given by company members about dance as a art form. We called it “A Look Behind the Curtain” to describe how Attack Theatre performers shared not only the world of dance with the community audience but also amplified what was presented in the schools. They also offered two “world premieres” for the audience. A debut of a new work of dance in process – AND an improvisation using some of the words and observations that students had in their Dancing Off the Canvas workshop responding to a visual art work. A particular delight was that one of the words that the dancers chose to include in their improvisation had been offered by an A-C Valley student who also was in attendance at the evening concert.
IV. AN AC VALLEY STUDENT ART EXHIBIT
An art exhibit of AC Valley students’ works inspired by the dance will be mounted at ARCA’s Red Brick Gallery on Main Street in Foxburg. Some of the student artists also participanted in the ATTACK THEATRE workshops on March 24.
As part of “Dancing Off the Canvas”, A-C Valley students have created visual art works inspired by the dance which will be displayed in the second floor exhibit space of ARCA’s Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop on Main Street in Foxburg in the Spring on two weekends, Saturday and Sunday, April 11 – 19.
AC Valley Art teacher, Anita Allen, has guided her students in creating art works related to dance themes and preparing them for framing and display in the exhibit. After the exhibit, selected student art works will be displayed in businesses in the community. During the spring semester, A-C Valley Students were introduced to the Red Brick Gallery cooperative by Donna Edmonds, Director of the Red Brick, who presented a seminar for AC Valley art students about how to prepare works for an exhibit and how galleries operate.
ARCA has launched an internet crowdfunding FundRazr site to get public support for its arts education program in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools. We invite you to help us invest in the future and enrich arts education in the AC Valley Schools.
Consider making a gift of any size on the FundRazr site exploring the wonderful Perks we offer: We invite you to View The Movie, read our whole story, make a contribution of any size and then share this with your friends and on social media. There are wonderful thank you gifts for donations, which also entitle you to ARCA Membership.
If you live locally, join us to view the inspiring exhibit of A-C Valley Student Art work at The Red Brick Gallery on Main Street in Foxburg from Friday, April 11 to April 19.
Help ARCA bring its arts education program to the A-C Valley Schools and support existing arts instruction and arts clubs at the A-C Valley Schools that are changing lives with music, dance and art.
Your gift will make all the difference. View The Movie
Attack Theatre is the BEST OF THE BEST – as artists and educators – and they require a fee that matches their 20 years of innovation.
ARCA is going above and beyond its normal arts education budget to invest in the future of AC Valley students with the artistic quality of Attack Theatre. The school residency has no admission charge – and tickets prices for the public concert are extremely affordable to encourage family attendance.
We’ve set a big financial goals for the project – to cover the artistic fees for Attack Theatre’s in-school residency and public dance concert and the student art exhibit at the Red Brick Gallery, and when we’ve funded these fees with this project…
ARCA has a STRETCH GOAL! Once its FundRazr goal has been reached and it has covered ATTACK THEATRE’s residency fee and art exhibit project costs, ARCA will create an Arts Education Fund to support student arts activities in the A-C Valley Schools as part of ARCA’s ongoing arts education partnership program.
Think of ARCA as an arts booster club for the A-C Valley Schools with this stretch goal.
Additional money raised above and beyond Dancing Off the Canvas project fees will be given to the A-C Valley Schools to support their student art, drama, chorus and band clubs and student activities.
Finally, when ARCA secures underwriting for Attack Theatre’s artistic fees, ARCA will be able to allocate budget for a fall 2015 arts education program bringing an exciting brass ensemble to perform workshops and assembly concerts and conduct student coaching sessions in the A-C Valley Schools.
If you choose to make a donation in support of this project it would serve three purposes: Supporting the Attack Theatre residency and student art exhibit, the student arts clubs at the School and ARCA’s ongoing arts education program to bring learning-through-the-arts to the A-C Valley Schools.
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts has seen the value and supported the project as part of ARCA’s year long arts education focus on dance in the A-C Valley Schools, but we need MORE… a LOT MORE – and that’s where YOU come in.
But we need MORE… a LOT MORE – and that’s where YOU come in.
We’d love for you to Partner with us in this effort.
We invite you to INVEST IN THE FUTURE and Empower the Arts in the AC Valley Schools.
Consider lending your support and backing this project with a pledge.
Make a small gift – make a large gift…
Make a Donation and enjoy tax deductible benefits. ARCA will send you a formal acknowledgement of your charitable contribution for tax purposes.
Then send this to a few friends and consider sharing it on social media.
We invite you to partner with us and empower arts education in the AC Valley Schools.
HELP CHANGE LIVES WITH MUSIC, DANCE AND ART.
Your donation will make a huge difference in the lives of students in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME AND FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
The internationally acclaimed Attack Theatre has been making personal, accessible and collaborative dance-based performances with “ninja-like intensity” for 20 years that combine contemporary dance, live music and multimedia. They have choreographed and performed internationally, on Broadway, in two-dozen operas and symphonies worldwide and produced over 150 original works in theatrical and site specific settings.
Known for their ‘audacious athleticism,’ (Dance Magazine), Attack Theatre has brought their arts education programs to schools and community environments nationally and internationally, conducting hundreds of residencies, workshops and master classes in contemporary dance, creative movement, and aesthetic education. The company’s outreach programs focus on demystifying the artistic process and building community – a mission ideal for its partnership with ARCA in “Dancing Off the Canvas”.
ATTACK THEATRE and Education:
Education and outreach are at the core of Attack Theatre’s mission and are woven through every element of its distinct programming. Workshops, classes, and residencies in public and private schools and in urban and rural settings provide engaging and welcoming movement experiences for over 9,000 students and teachers each year. With a belief that movement is an essential part of life and learning, these programs work with students and teachers in classroom and professional development workshops to integrate kinesthetic learning methods into the classroom experience and curriculum.
Attack Theatre’s arts in education and arts integration programs in schools utilize movement and dance as an engaging tool for: enhancing problem solving and critical analysis skills, building interdisciplinary connections, developing communication and cooperation skills, exploring abstract thinking, developing self-‐confidence, promoting healthy habits, exploring the creative process; and creating a deeper understanding of dance as an art form.
ATTACK THEATRE – Connecting with Students
Since its inception, Attack Theatre has reached approximately 3,000 students annually, through in-school performances and arts in education residencies. Attack Theatre’s in-school residences work to demystify dance and the process of creation. Residency participants develop a lens through which to view and create dance, and classes focus on heightening the individuals’ natural movement abilities.
ATTACK THEATRE – Residencies
Attack Theatre conducts residencies in contemporary dance, creative movement and aesthetic education in universities, primary and secondary schools, arts festivals and community centers. The company cultivates an attitude toward education that integrates the artistic process with community building to create successful outreach programs. They were the lead curriculum consultants in revamping the arts curriculum for the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in downtown Pittsburgh, and for the arts-infused program for the New Homewood Elementary School (currently named Faison Elementary).
As innovators in the integration of movement into the curriculum, Attack Theatre has created successful residency models with educators and organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region. They are currently the dance company in residence in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music. In partnership with the PA Council on the Arts – Arts in Education Roster (AIE), Gateway to the Arts and the Arts Education Collaborative, Attack Theatre reaches thousands of students and teachers from public, private, rural and urban schools each year.
Attack Theatre’s residencies work to demystify dance and the process of creation. They attack each project with clarity, expression and energy. Residency participants develop a lens through which to view dance performance and classes focus on heightening the individuals’ natural movement abilities. All Attack Theatre outreach programs focus on activating and empowering participants to view dance, movement, and music as a natural and essential part of living and learning.
Sample Outreach Residencies Include:
- Movement as a Complement to the Classroom: A one-day teacher workshop integrating movement into the daily curriculum. (see the teachers’ quotes below)
- Elementary and Secondary level residencies: Curriculum enhancement through movement; aesthetic education classes for pre-performance viewing.
- Modern dance master classes for college and professional level students: Partnering, technique (release based), Musicians and Dancers Improvising and Creating Together, one to three week residencies with or without creating choreography.
- Special Populations include: Seniors, Hearing Impaired (intermediate through college age students) and Parents and Children.
- Lecture-Demonstrations: The company has created specialized programs for Kindergarten to Senior communities. Our traditional lecture-demonstrations focus on participation and dance concepts explored with example and humor.
- Stories in Motion: A dance, storytelling and improvisation based performance for all ages.
ATTACK THEATRE – Company Description
Known for their “audacious athleticism,” Attack Theatre creates engaging contemporary dance performances for audiences of all ages. Founded 19 years ago by dancers/choreographers Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza, Attack Theatre has created over 150 original multi-disciplinary productions in theaters and site-specific environments; and works with symphonies, operas, theater companies and art museums. While maintaining a loyal Pittsburgh audience, their accessible, athletic and highly theatrical works have toured the US, Europe, and Asia. Whether in theaters, street-corners, or in the classroom, Attack Theatre believes that movement is an essential part of life and learning.
Attack Theatre was founded in 1994 by Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza, and has produced over 150 original multi-disciplinary dance-based productions in traditional theaters and site-specific environments for audiences of all ages. While maintaining a loyal Pittsburgh audience, their accessible, athletic and highly theatrical works have toured the US, Europe, and Asia.
Attack Theatre also conducts residencies in contemporary dance, creative movement and aesthetic education in universities, primary and secondary schools, arts festivals and community centers for thousands of students, teachers and community members each year. Whether in theaters, streetcorners, or in the classroom, Attack Theatre’s programs all focus on creating a personalized connection between artist, audience and the environment.
ATTACK THEATRE – Artistic Directors and Co-founders
Michele de la Reza is co-founder and artistic director of Attack Theatre. Her work has been presented throughout the US and in Switzerland, Japan, Monaco, Germany, France, Indonesia and Turkey. With co-artistic director Peter Kope, they made their Broadway debut in 2000 as choreographers for Squonk. They have choreographed and performed in ten productions with Pittsburgh Opera ranging from Carmen and Rigoletto to Dead Man Walking and Samson & Dalila. With the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, they choreographed and performed in Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat featuring Pinchas Zuckerman and annually in the Holiday Pops series. They have collaborated with theater companies (Quantum Theatre), museums (Carnegie Museum of Art, Andy Warhol Museum, Frick Art Museum, Mattress Factory), and international dance companies (Japan’s Nibroll Collective and Belgium’s Compagnie Matteo Moles). Michele was a leading dancer with Dance Alloy and NYC-based Perks DanceMusicTheatre and is the recipient of three PA Council on the Arts fellowships and Hardie Educator of the Year. Attack Theatre is dance company in residence for the Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music, where Michele is a teaching professor of dance. She received her BFA from the Juilliard School and a Master’s from the University of Pittsburgh.
Peter Kope, co-founder and artistic director of Attack Theatre, has created and performed works for the Avignon Festival (France), the 7th Next Wave Dance Festival (Japan), the Spoleto Festival USA, Tanzmesse (Germany), and the Broadway production of Squonk. He has also performed with Jacob Pillow’s “Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy”, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Alloy, and PerksDanceMusicTheatre. Peter interests in visual and installation art have led to many cross-disciplinary collaborations and site-specific commissions. Attack Theatre’s performances integrate dance, live music and video and have recently commissioned music by Dave Eggar (NYC) and Somei Satoh (Tokyo). Attack Theatre was featured in Dance Magazine as one of “25 to Watch for 2007,” named “Best Dance Company” (Pittsburgh City Paper 2007-2011), “Best Dance Performance” (Post-Gazette 2006, 2010, 2011), and received the National Dance Project touring award for Games of Steel. Attack Theatre is the company in residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music, where Peter is a teaching professor of dance. Peter has taught at numerous universities throughout the US and at hundreds of primary and secondary schools. He holds degrees from the University of Dayton.