In Defense of Gravity

November 29th - December 1st, 2018 8:00pm
Sat 12/1 2:00pm
Sun 12/2 6:00pm
George R. White Studio, Pittsburgh Opera (2425 Liberty Avenue)

A memory, revisited.

Weaving together dance and live music, In Defense of Gravity grapples with the persistence of memory and tragedies that cannot be unseen. Gritty and poignant, the poetry of Jimmy Cvetic guides this journey into and out of darkness, reminding us how difficult it is to forget and the reason to remember.

Musical collaborators, Ben Opie and Anqwenique will perform both original music and reimagined jazz classics, along with pianist, Ben Brosche and percussionist, Jeff Berman.

"As for the broken pieces that you have gathered, keep them, they belong to you." — Jimmy Cvetic

In Defense of Gravity follows a quest to reconcile sorrow and loss, embodied in Jimmy Cvetic's poem "Little Feet." This elegy reveals an unspeakable tragedy that reverberates through both personal and collective memories. Rather than seal them away and move beyond, we begin to embrace the broken pieces — to own them and accept them.

Simple and profund, funny yet poignant, the aphorisms that Jimmy Cvetic shares in his book The Zen of Elves offer many pathways to empathy — to "hope and the determination to go on in the face of heartbreak" (Pittsburgh City Paper).



  • $15 — Students, Teachers, Artists, Seniors
  • $30 — General Admission
  • $45 — Directors Seats (limited availability)
    All ticket prices increase by $5 at the door.


Anqwenique, Music Composition, Vocals

Anqwenique is a versatile vocalist and educator, specializing in opera, classical music, jazz and soul. The Pittsburgh native is founder and director of inter-disciplinary artist collective Groove Aesthetic, Education Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera and studio manager of BOOM Concepts. Anqwenique has received many awards and grants for her work including Whirl Magazine’s 13 Under 30 in 2015, New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 Under 40 in 2013, and the Investing in Professional Artists Award from The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation. In 2017 Anqwenique was named ‘Best Singer’ by the Pittsburgh Magazine readers poll, listed among Who’s Next in Music by The Incline and 40 Under 40 by Pittsburg Magazine and PUMP. To find out more about Anqwenique and her work visit

Jeff Berman, Percussion

Jeff is a multi-instrumentalist, improvising artist, composer, and educator whose work reflects his global musical vision. A native of NYC now living in Pittsburgh, his genre-extending concept on vibraphone, mountain dulcimer, percussion, and drums has allowed him to collaborate, across stylistic and cultural boundaries, with a diverse group of artists from around the world. Jeff has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. Artists he has performed, recorded, and collaborated with include clarinet/mandolinist, Andy Statman; pianist, Paul Bley; tabla master, Samir Chatterjee; singer, Linda Thompson; seperawa master, Osei Korankye; saxophonist, Dave Liebman; cellist/composer, Robert Een; singer, Susan McKeown; cellist/producer, Arthur Russel; banjo master, Tony Trischka; Tibetan singer, Pasang Dolma; guitarist/producer, Matt Balitsaris; and choreographers, Yin Mei and Gia Cacalano, to name a few. He is a founding member of the group AppalAsia, which features his evocative and ambitious vision for extending the concept and language of mountain dulcimer performance and composition. 

Ben Brosche, Piano

Ben is a free-lancing pianist and church music director in Pittsburgh, PA, performing nationally and internationally. In Pittsburgh, Ben has worked with a variety of musicians such as: The Boilermaker Jazz Band, Mike Tomaro, Tom Wendt, Jeff Bush, Tony Depaolis, Artistree, Lee Robinson and ISKA. He has done work with City Theater as well as various high school musical productions in the greater Pittsburgh area. Ben won the piano chair twice and performed with the Mid Atlantic Big Band under the direction of Ted Nash (2016) and Delfeayo Marsalis (2017) at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City. Ben received his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies at James Madison University and his M.M. at Duquesne University. At JMU Ben performed and worked with John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckman, Bobby Mcferrin, Nate Smith, Branford Marsalis. Ben has truly enjoyed his time with Attack Theatre and would like to thank all who are involved for inspiring creativity and supporting live art.

Michele de la Reza, Concept & Choreography, Dancer

Michele de la Reza is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Attack Theatre, now celebrating their 24th season. Prior to founding Attack Theatre with her partner, Peter Kope, Michele danced with Pittsburgh based Dance Alloy (Mark Taylor, Artistic Director) and was a founding company member of NYC based Perks DanceMusicTheatre (Rebecca Stenn, Artistic Director), creating and touring new works throughout the US with both companies for seven years. Together with Peter Kope, Michele is the recipient of three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships, Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2007 and the Hardie Educator of the Year award. As an advocate of kinesthetic learning strategies in the classroom, Michele is a guiding force behind Attack Theatre’s robust arts education programming, which includes residencies and performances for students and professional development for teachers and administrators. Michele received her BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and a Master’s of Science in Developmental Movement from the University of Pittsburgh. She is an Associate Teaching Professor of Dance at Carnegie Mellon University.

Sonja Gable, Dancer

Originally from Johnstown, PA, Sonja received degrees in Dance and Early Childhood Education from Slippery Rock University. In her dance training she has learned from and collaborated with such artists as Jump Rhythm Jazz, Tara Madsen Robbins, Teena Marie Custer, Ursula Payne, and Diavolo Dance Theatre. Sonja has taught at Rock Dance Company for Kids and Butler Dance Center. This is Sonja's second season dancing with Attack Theatre, in addition to serving as teaching artist in school throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Peter Kope, Concept & Choreography, Dancer

Peter Kope is co-founder and artistic director of Attack Theatre. With Attack Theatre, he choreographed 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 was a dancer with Jacob Pillow’s “Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy”, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Alloy, and PerksDanceMusicTheatre. His work with Attack Theatre was featured in Dance Magazine as one of “25 to Watch for 2007,” named “Best Dance Company” (Pittsburgh City Paper 2007-2011, 2016), “Best Dance Performance” (Post-Gazette 2006, 2010, 2011), and received the National Dance Project touring award for Games of Steel. Peter is on faculty Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music, where Attack Theatre is the dance company in residence. 

Miranda Nichols, Dancer

Miranda is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College. In May 2018, Miranda graduated Manga Cum Laude from MMC with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a double major in English and World Literature. While at Marymount Miranda performed in works by notable choreographers such as Jacqulyn Buglisi, Ronald K. Brown, and David Parker. She is originally from New Castle, PA and currently lives in Queens, NY. Miranda first performed with Attack Theatre in 2018 during Some Assembly Required.

Ben Opie, Music Composition, Saxophone and Clarinet

Ben is a saxophonist/composer/arranger living in Pittsburgh. He plays with Thoth Trio, Sound/Unsound, and OPEK among many others. He is a past recipient of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Creative Achievement Award and a Creative Development Award from The Pittsburgh Foundation. His recent recordings include his Concerto for Orkestra and 15728 by Sound/Unsound. Ben teaches music technology courses at Carnegie Mellon University. He lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife and cat.

Simon Phillips, Dancer

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Simon began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2017. Simon graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Dance. He has worked with notable dance companies such as Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Augusto Soledade Brazzdance, Kennesaw State University Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company, and William Forsythe. His career has taken him all over the United States, including New York, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Washington D.C., and now Pittsburgh.

Dane Toney, Dancer

Originally from West Virginia, Dane graduated with a BFA in dance from Point Park University. While in school, he had the opportunity to work with numerous faculty members and guest artists, including Dawn Stoppiello of Troika Ranch and Doug Varone of Doug Varone and Dancers. Before college, he trained intensively with Toneta Akers-Toler, founder and artistic director of the West Virginia Dance Company (WVDC). Dane has also spent 15 summers with Theatre West Virginia’s Outdoor Drama Company and has performed as a guest artist with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and the WVDC. Dane is a recipient of the 2017 BRAZZY Award, which recognizes two exceptional Pittsburgh dancers each year in honor of Leslie Anderson-Braswell. Dane began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2008.

Sarah Zielinski, Dancer

A Pittsburgh native, Sarah attended Point Park University and graduated with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Theatre. After graduating she moved to New York City, where she worked with the NYC Metropolitan Opera, Doug Varone, Jessica Taylor—DamageDance, Awakening Movement, ZviDance, Caleb Teicher & Company, Lorena Egan, Michael Mindlin, Gibney Dance GRIT, and Shining Light. Other credits include: National Tour of The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Starlight Express, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and West Side Story as Anybodys. In addition to extensive theatrical training, Sarah is dedicated to teaching and sharing movement studies to all levels through dance, Pilates & other somatic movement explorations. Sarah began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2016.