25 years ago was a different time. Dumb and Dumber was one of the most popular movies; Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting were topping the charts; and Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were, well, not friends.
But what also started that year was something we call “the longest audition on record.” Before we became a nonprofit we spent this decade-long audition exploring and refining our vision and artistic programming. We began to create a community of artists, audiences, and spaces in Pittsburgh called “Attack Theatre.”
We didn’t have a company of dancers, a home of our own, health insurance, or an administrative staff. We had an idea, a vision that guided us into found spaces to make new work. It drew us to artists of different disciplines to collaborate and form new partnerships. It brought us into schools, to help teachers integrate movement into their classrooms, and instill the philosophy that movement is an essential part of living and learning.
We took our belief that movement should be accessible to all to the street and gave 2,000 people 2,000 kazoos to join us in Market Square. There we presented five different dances throughout downtown for Attack Theatre’s debut on December 31, 1994 for First Night Pittsburgh. What transpired was a collaboration that began our love for interdisciplinary artmaking. Since that fateful night, we have blended modern dance seamlessly with some of the most unlikely partners: museums, environmental organizations, community development corporations, social service organizations, and so many more. Attack Theatre began as a collaboration with people, spaces, ideas, Pittsburgh, and you.
Every day for 25 years, we arrive in our space, wherever we are making art that day, whether it’s our studio, an empty warehouse for the return of a major dance party, a rural third grade classroom, or a boardroom — and we commit to providing space for dancers, makers, educators, and collaborators — because that’s what we do.
What we know is that we had an idea, a vision, but that we needed you to believe in it, to trust and go on this wonderful and sometimes wacky journey with us for all these years. You are why we’re still here. You’re the reason we’re still showing up.
In that long audition when we asked Pittsburgh if we should stay, it was the resounding yes that kept leading us back to the studio to create, so we did.
And now, this idea, which was once a seedling, has blossomed into this organization you see before you today — one that we’re honored to call family, friends, and home. Now we watch Marvel movies, dance around to Ariana Grande, and FaceTime with collaborators all over the world, while dodging self-driving cars… Life happens and we’re still here.
Please consider making a gift in honor of 25 years, and in celebration for the next 25 years... because without you, we just wouldn’t be us.