By Steve Sucato
Pittsburgh Current Dance Writer
While it may be popular Pittsburgh dance troupe Attack Theatre’s milestone 25th Anniversary Season, fans shouldn’t expect the forward-thinking company to go all nostalgic. In fact, for its newest production, The Kitchen Sink, November 15-17 at the New Hazlett Theater, there are only a few select references given to the company’s past.
The triple bill of mostly new repertory works in typical Attack Theatre fashion comes with live music courtesy of a qurtet of musicians and kicks off with the premiere of “Gordian Knot,” choreographed (as are all the works on the program) by Attack co-founders/directors Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza. The piece is inspired by the ancient legend of Phrygian Gordium, about the untying of an impossibly-tangled knot that is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem. Its alternative-thinking solution can also be seen as a metaphor for Attack’s approach to their creative process: “Train your mind to look around a problem.”
Set to snippets of music from past Attack works composed by longtime company collaborators/members Chuck Palmer and Grammy-nominated artist Dave Eggar, the 20-minute work features a cast of 6 dancers including Attack’s newest company members, Chicago-native Drew Lewis, a former dancer with Sidra Bell Dance New York; Michele Li, a Princeton University grad from Taiwan and apprentice dancer Genevieve Li from Miami.
“The piece probably packs more movement per minute than any in Attack Theatre history,” says de la Reza. “It’s a dense work filled with group partnering and highlights the individuality and physicality of the dancers.”
Next, another premiere, “We Were Strangers, Until We Met” explores the creative influences that affect our lives. It is portrayed through the parallel voices of two women, de la Reza and Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Rebekah Del Rio who is best known for her work on David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive as “The weeping woman of LA” and in episode 10 of 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return.
Danced to a mix of existing and original music, the choreography for the piece was built on movement phrases contributed by past influencers in de la Reza’s creative life including dancemakers David Dorfman, Nita Little, David Rousseve and former Dance Alloy artistic director Mark Taylor.
Joining central figures de la Reza and Del Rio in the 15-minute work will be the full company along with Kope and former Attack dancers Jeff Davis and Jil Stifel.
Rounding out the 75-minute program will be its only true blast from the past, a re-worked version of 2004’s “Dressed To Remember.” Set in a café to music by Eggar and Palmer, the 23-minute piece for a quartet of dancers and one large table, “is about how to keep relationships fresh and thriving,” says de la Reza.
Attack Theatre performs The Kitchen Sink, 8 p.m., Fri., Nov. 15; 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sat. Nov. 16 and 6 p.m., Sun., Nov. 17; New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. Tickets $20-50. attacktheatre.com or newhazletttheater.org.
In its 14th edition, Bodiography Contemporary Ballet’s Multiplicity returns to the Byham Theater November 15 & 16 with a program of mostly new works by Bodiography company members and guest artists Ina Colizza and Antonello Apicella of Italy’s Matrafisc Dance and Montreal-based choreographer Giverny Welsch.
The program will be performed by dancers from Bodiography’s main company, its sister troupe BCB3, made up of retired Bodiography dancers, and pre-professional company BCB2. Also appearing will be the student company of the Bodiography Center for Movement.
“The underlying theme of the program is transition,” says Bodiography’s founding artistic director Maria Caruso.
The 90-minute program opens with Amanda Fisher’s “Bionic” for the BCM Student Performance Company followed by the premiere of Welsch’s work for the main company “Pit Subtlety,” a contemporary dance work about femininity and sensuality.
Caruso says she was introduced to Welsch by chance when she struck up a conversation with her father, one of the pilots on a flight to China Caruso took earlier this year.
“What I love about her [Welsch] is her choreographic process,” says Caruso. “She is very specific and precise in her approach.”
Next, Bodiography star dancer Bethany Schimonsky’s new work “One Day At a Time” set to music by Texas post-rock band This Will Destroy You is for BCB2 and takes its inspiration from transitions in Schimonsky’s personal life says Caruso.
One of three works on the program from Matrifisc Dance, “1 + 1 = 1” is a duet created and performed by the troupe’s founders Ina Colizza and Antonello Apicella that looks at expressions of gender and identity. Then wrapping up the program’s first half will be Nicole Jamison’s “Case In Brief” danced by the main company and BCB2 artists.
The program’s second half will see a new work from Colizza and Apicella for Bodiography’s main company about disquiet and loneliness; Kristie Corso’s latest for BCB3’s artists set to music by French techno artist Guillaume Ferran, and Caruso’s duet “Provenance”.
Multiplicity then concludes with a new pas de deux to music by Vivaldi choreographed and performed by Caruso and Apicella that is emblematic of the four seasons of one’s life, and a reprise of Caruso’s 2015 work “Within the Confines” for the main company to music by Nils Frahm.
Bodiography Contemporary Ballet presents Multiplicity, 8 p.m., Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16; Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Downtown, $15-60, (412) 456-6666 or trustarts.org.