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Attack Theatre explores shifting perspectives in new dance work

“We’ve adopted this term of ‘slow-looking.’”

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Shifting perspectives is the overarching theme of Attack Theatre’s latest creation, Unbolted, with four performances Dec. 1-3 at Pittsburgh Opera’s George R. White Studio.

There will be physical shifts in perspective, as the 90-minute production will be performed in-the-round — the first time that’s been done in the company’s 22-year history. The contemporary dance work’s three distinct 20-minute sections will be separated by short pauses during which audience members, if they choose, can change seating to see the remainder of the production from an alternate vantage point.

The troupe wanted to experiment with how “changes in perspective and point of view could not only change the look of the dancers in space, but the meaning behind what’s happening,” says Attack co-artistic director Michelle de la Reza.

Supplementing that idea will be non-traditional audience seating — on couches, chairs, benches and beanbags spread out in the space.

There will be also philosophical shifts in perspective, as the work explores notions of charting the uncharted territory of life, and how the roadmap of one’s life can be adjusted by interactions with others.

Another of the work’s sections, says de la Reza, deals with how people look at one another. “We’ve adopted this term of ‘slow-looking,’” she says. “[The idea] that we are not looking at the facade of a person, but are really looking into that person and being willing to have that reciprocally affect us.”

Set to recorded electronic and classical music, along with original music played live by Ian Green, five dancers including Attack’s newest company member, Carnegie native and 2011 Point Park University graduate Sarah Zielinksi, will engage in what Attack’s other co-artistic director, Peter Kope, calls short-form narratives. The 27-year-old Zielinksi sees parallels to the production’s theme in choreographers Kope and de la Reza’s creative process.

“They come at it not just from one angle, but all of these other beautiful angles that create this prism of colors,” says Zielinksi.

In the end, Kope says, Unbolted is about “the idea of trying to balance the light and dark sides of our souls and how we interact with others.”

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