In Defense of Gravity (2017)

Fri 12/1 8:00pm
Sat 12/2 2:00pm, 8:00pm
Sun 12/3 6:00pm
George R. White Studio, 2425 Liberty Avenue (The Strip District)

This performance has past. If you are looking for the 2018 performance, please visit

In Defense of Gravity combines laughter, shock, and an unabashed look at the hard moments of life. Inspired by the gritty and heartfelt poetry of Jimmy Cvetic, and featuring Patrick Jordan and Anqwenique, this world-premiere performance reflects on the solemn moments of life and the constant quest to defy gravity.

"It's never the fall that hurts but the sudden stop...followed by the bounce." —Jimmy Cvetic

Show Times:

Friday, Dec. 1 at 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 3 at 6:00pm


$15 — Student, Teacher, Artist, Senior
$25 — General Admission
$40 — Directors Seats (Limited)
All prices increase by $5 at the door.

What began as an exploration of the way the body responds to the pull of gravity grew into a curiosity about how we respond to heavy moments in life. This new work blends introspection and levity in a physicalized struggle against defeat and despair. With movement vignettes and Attack Theatre flair, the performers embrace this wit as they encounter challenges and seek to rebound from the weight of those moments. 

A narrative was constructed around select works from Jimmy Cvetic's impressive collection of poetry, including these snippets of wisdom which launched the creative process:

  • "What Do You Have? / What Do You Want? / What Do You Need?"
  • "The best lie told is the one you tell to yourself, and the greatest light is the one that you tell and believe..."
  • "The distance of the Road Not Taken is measured by the foot tracks that were never made..."
  • "They will know by the look in your eyes..."

Digital Program


Peter Kope & Michele de la Reza
Concept & Choreography

As co-founders and artistic directors of Attack Theatre, Peter and Michele have toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan and choreographed and performed works for the Avignon Festival (France), the 7th Next Wave Dance Festival (Japan), Indonesia Arts Festival (Indonesia), Monaco Danses Forum (Monaco), the Spoleto Festival (Charleston, SC) and the Broadway production of Squonk. They performed with NYC based PerksDanceMusicTheatre for seven years and were leading dancers with Dance Alloy for eight years performing the works of choreographers including Mark Taylor, David Rousseve, Elizabeth Streb and David Dorfman. Peter also danced with Jacob Pillow's Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. As the resident movement directors and choreographers for the Pittsburgh Opera they have choreographed operas including Rigoletto, Carmen and Dead Man Walking.

Peter and Michele are the recipients of three PA Council on the Arts fellowships, the Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts Award, Hardie Arts Educator of the Year Award, named one of "25 to Watch" in 2007 by Dance Magazine, and named four times as Pittsburgh's Top 50 Cultural Powerbrokers by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Peter and Michele are acclaimed master teachers, conducting residencies for students and seniors, professional development workshops for teachers and coordinated curriculum development for CAPA, Helen Faison Academy and Carnegie Mellon School of Music/Movement program.

Michele received her BFA from the Juilliard School and a Masters of Science in Developmental Movement/Motor Learning from the University of Pittsburgh. Peter holds a degree in Management and minor in Marketing from the University of Dayton.


Kaitlin Dann
Dancer & Movement Invention

Kaitlin moved to Pittsburgh from New Hampshire in 2005 to study Modern Dance at Point Park University. Since receiving her BA, she has performed with such local companies as the Pillow Project, Knot Dance, No Name Players during their annual SWAN Day, and Bricolage during their run of STRATA. She spent two seasons with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet where she both choreographed and danced. Kaitlin has choreographed for No Names Players’ productions of ¡Viva Los Bastarditos! (2013) and Evil Dead: The Musical (2014). In her spare time she is a fitness instructor at Club One Fitness. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin: Milwaukee. Kaitlin has been dancing with Attack Theatre since 2011.


Simon Phillips
Dancer & Movement Invention

A recent transplant 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.


Photo credit: Mark Simpson PhotographyDane Toney
Dancer & Movement Invention

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 also 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.


Photo: Dr. Robert KormosAshley Williams
Dancer & Movement Invention

Before coming to Pittsburgh, Ashley spent 6 seasons dancing and touring with Prometheus Dance, a modern dance-theater company in Boston. Originally from Colorado, Ashley’s training includes 13 summers at the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School, a BA in Dance (CU-Boulder), and graduate studies at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie in Holland. Along the way, Ashley also 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, she has been dancing happily ever since. Ashley spends her free time investigating the biochemical properties of cartilage as a research scientist for Stanford University. Ashley began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2007.


Sarah Zielinski
Dancer & Movement Invention

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, ZviDance, Caleb Teicher & Company, Lorena Egan, and Gibney Dance GRIT. 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 dance in prisons through Shining Light. Sarah began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2016.


Featured Musicians


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

Jeff Berman 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. Josef Woodward has described his music as " worldly folk-jazz", the Los Angele Times wrote “Berman bends a chord or strums his Appalachian dulcimer…to stunning effect”, Jazziz has written  “…hypnotic vibes work…Berman not only play vibes, he sounds like he created the instrument.”, and Bill Milkowski has called Jeff’s writing “…hauntingly beautiful…”.   Jeff has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. Some of the 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 and to name just a few. He is a founding member of the group AppalAsia that features his evocative and ambitious vision for extending the concept and language of mt. dulcimer performance and composition.


Ben Brosche

Ben Brosche 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 the 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. As a child he was selected to represent the Yamaha Music Education Systems Corporate division to perform his original compositions in New Jersey, Washington DC, California (Biola), Arizona, Canada, and at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California.

Ben received his BM 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 Theater and would like to thank all who are involved for inspiring creativity and supporting live art!




Ben Opie

Ben Opie is a saxophonist/composer/arranger living in Pittsburgh. He plays with Thoth Trio, Sound/Unsound, 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.


Patrick Jordan

Patrick is the founder and the artistic director of barebones productions and most recently directed their production of Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. As an actor he has been seen in numerous works by barebones productions and has worked with Bricolage Production Company, City Theatre, Quantum Theatre, The Playhouse REP, PICT, Kinetic, The Project (New York), and Srishti (Calcutta, India) and a personal favorite - Grand Buffet’s Pittsburgh Batman. Patrick is a graduate of The University of Pittsburgh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Jimmy Cvetic?

Some call him “Coach.” Others call him “Mentor.” He’s known widely as "Dog." Jimmy Cvetic has lived many lives. As a (now retired) detective he fought crime. As a boxing coach, he teaches others how to fight. As a poet, he has written more than 3,000 poems which are "often dark, often howlingly funny; irreverent and humane; profane and occasionally sentimental" (Pittsburgh City Paper).

A quick Google search will give you all you need to know about the accomplisments and accolades of Jimmy Cvetic.


Can I bring my kids to this performance?

While this performance was not designed with children in mind, individuals of all ages may enjoy the show. In Defense of Gravity is 60 minutes in length with no intermission. Content is not inappropriate for younger audiences, however this performance does address complex themes.

Where is the event located?

George R. White Studio at our headquarters in the Strip District. Click here for directions.


How should I get to the performance?

The Strip District is easily accessible by bus routes 54, 86, 87, 88, and 91. You can plan your trip at

There is plenty of free, on-street parking available in the area after 6pm. There is also a $5 flat rate for parking at the 24th and Penn Avenue lot. Enter from Penn or Smallman; exit onto Smallman.

Reserved parking is available in the garage for Directors Seats season pass holders.